No Thanos Snap Will Bring the Economy Back (Plague, Day 34, April 6, 2020)

In The Avengers: Infinity War, Thanos, the super villain, is on the search for six infinity stones to fit into a special shiny glove. Once all the stones are in place, he snaps. Instantly, he turns half the population into ashes in the breeze.

The good guys spin their wheels for five years, until they come up with a plan to reverse history. In the next movie, The Avengers: End Game, Iron Man gets control of Thanos’s glove and snaps again. Though he destroys himself in the process, he brings back his dusty friends and everybody else.

Things aren’t totally back to normal, because half the population is five years older and the other half had a nice nap, but life carries on somewhat normally.

We in the midst of a slow motion Thanos snap. People are dying. 10 million people are suddenly unemployed. Entire sectors of the economy and social life have ground to a halt. From education to tourism to entertainment, life has changed so drastically that people haven’t wrapped their brains around this fact.

And some people say this situation could carry on for 18 months. We could go in and out of seclusion for months, as we wait for a vaccine.

And every week that we spend in our homes — trimming our own hair and growing zucchini in the backyard — we are building new habits. People are gaining new skills right now. They are learning how to cook and remembering how to clean their shower. Especially if they’ve had some financial hits, they are going to be very, very slow to spend money on housecleaners and restaurants in the future.

Some entrepreneurs are going to do very well with all of this. Never forget that early adopters always rule the Internet. So, people who move quickly will win. What kinds of industries and skills are going to be hot now? Online only businesses, anything in pharmacy or medicine, private online education companies. Professions in finance and law seem stable right now. The hot skills are social media, programming, communications, lifestyle gurus.

We’ll be okay, I’m sure of it. There will be some adjustments, of course. But we’ll adapt.