Andrew Dickens: Coronovirus crisis has changed society and the economy forever

Author
Andrew Dickens,
Publish Date
Fri, 13 Mar 2020, 9:40AM
Photo / AP

Andrew Dickens: Coronovirus crisis has changed society and the economy forever

Author
Andrew Dickens,
Publish Date
Fri, 13 Mar 2020, 9:40AM

So here we are. A brand new day and we stand at the beginning of a brand new world all because of a brand new bug.

Right at the start of the Coronovirus crisis I said the chances of you and I dying are low but the effects for society and economies is going to be huge.

And that has come to pass.

This crisis will be studied for generations. The ripple effect. From a sniffle to a global economic chill. The unexpected consequences. The growth of the impacts like a snowball careering downhill growing exponentially.

Did anyone expect the quarantining of all of Europe by America a week ago, stranding New Zealanders on the other side of the world. Did anyone expect the potential cancellation of the Olympic Games? Did anyone expect the NBA to postpone their entire competition, one of the most watched in the world?

The headlines last night were impressive.

Coronavirus: Hundreds of Hospitality Businesses on verge of collapse.

Coronavirus: Tom Hanks and his wife have the virus.

Coronavirus: Air New Zealand's new moves to reduce redundancies.

Coronavirus: Keep off public transport, keep out of public, stay at home.

My own company has moved. Delaying projects. Stopping salary reviews, stopping recruitment and asking everyone to get rid of their holiday leave.

That's all happening now and government's will stand or fall based on decisions made in the next 2 weeks in the way they support the businesses affected.

And then we'll enter a brand new world.

The health consequences of this crisis will pass relatively quickly but the changes to way we live and the way the planet operates will be fundamental.

The inter dependence of a global economy will be reviewed. The supply chain will be heavily scrutinised. The companies who made gains by taking their manufacturing to cheaper China will review those past decisions. This could see a return to local manufacturing. This will prompt moves to diversify our markets

The mega office will be looked at. The work from home scenario will become more common. Hot desking and the sharing of keyboards will be under the microscope.

Personal hygiene will change. The design of public spaces will change. What's the point of washing your hands in the work loo and then everyone and their dog touching the handle to open the door?

This crisis is not like the GFC which was about how we used capital. This one is all about how we actually live as humans. Will we become less social? Will we become more self sufficient. Will we decrease our desire for overseas luxury.

And for us, some islands at the end of the world, dependent on imported stuff, what will this all mean when it's all over?

A very few people, proportionately, are going to die of this virus.But I tell you the whole world is going to change.

Fundamentally.