Thus, instead of a detailed analysis of the great and nearly unlimited economic potential, hand-holding society to reach this new and revolutionized economy, I decided to write an abbreviated post here about what the Coronavirus has exposed in our economy and society and how we can capitalize on it. It will be a much abbreviated version with the pure intention of posterity because, once again, Americans are just too damn stupid and too damn lazy to do anything about it.
I do not know if you want to pin point it on a certain date in a certain year, but some time in the late 90's we as a society had made education free. Rather, I should say, made it so that education could be free, and we achieved that by creating the internet.
Once bandwidth was adequate enough to download books via PDF and lectures via MP3's (and later video), the ability to convey information (ie - education) at a near zero cost was not only feasible, but a reality. No longer would we have to waste $1 trillion a year on buildings, parking ramps, sports facilities, desks, computer labs, and the entire infrastructure that went into our education industry, we could also eliminate 99% of teachers, admins, professors, adjuncts, and all labor from the education industry as well. Furthermore, only a handful of the best and most elite teachers would teach in their respective subjects as why settle for the mediocre masses of millions of education majors being produced each year when one outstanding man/woman could teach millions of students in return over a youtube channel or podcast.
This would solve a bevy of problems and an immediate crisis facing society now as this would make education free. The student loan crisis would not exist and the Millennial generation would not be panhandling for a $1.5 trillion student loan bailout. Future generations would not be faced with taking on that same criminal level of debt as the generation before them. The taxpayer would not be facing a huge financial liability of bailing out millions of worthless and sanctimonious liberal arts majors. And ALL generations would be immeasurably better off financially without the albatross of student loan debt around their necks.
The only real reasons we kept the outdated business model of brick and mortar schools is in part tradition, in part not knowing any better, but the real reasons are two. One, teachers, professors and the army of bloated managerial fat in the form of college administrators would lose their fiefdoms and have to get real jobs. And two, American brats are raised NOT to want an education, but to want the "college experience." It is your average spoiled brat American's birthright to go to a physical "college" for 4 years, imagine they're intellectuals or future leaders, smoke pot and get drunk, and have the taxpayer guarantee that "experience."
As it pertains to K-12 education similar and parallel egotistical incentives kept the same revolution from eliminating the now-outdated public school system. Teachers and the teachers union would lose their jobs and once again be forced into forced into the real world economy that doesn't give a damn about their "education degree." Parents would have to not only spend time with their children, but invest in their education, and (GASP) feed them. And let's be further honest and point out that most parents today in the US do not have children because they love their children. They had children because they wanted to "have children." Not actually raise them. And thus the real reason parents pay these now-unnecessary property taxes is to outsource their children to what is nothing more than a monstrous K-12 baby-sitting operation.
Coronavirus has exposed all this. Now, in forcing people to learn online we can all plainly see that every teacher from the kindergarten teacher to the last professor you have in your doctoral program is completely unnecessary, overpriced, and obsolete. But "The Great and Merciful Coronachan" has also exposed our ulterior motives in society.
We don't love our children enough to raise them.
We don't care about our education as much as we egotistically care about having the taxpayer guarantee a 4 year party.
Our teachers/professors don't care about their students as much as they do a check for part time work.
And we will all gladly continue to pay roughly $1 trillion a year to keep this facade up.
Like education, we do not know the precise date or year that the internet achieved adequate bandwidth to allow nearly all white collar workers to work from home. But we do know that it was about 20 years ago and thus, for the past 20 years, American bosses and managers have been unnecessarily forcing HUNDREDS OF MILLIONS of us to commute everyday to work.
The incalculable toll this has taken on Americans is impossible to measure. TRILLIONS of human hours lost stuck in traffic and stuck at metered ramps. TRILLIONS in lost GDP as people would be allowed to get their work done faster, without the harangument of micro-managing bosses. TRILLIONS in additional corporate profits that could have been meted out to shareholders as corporations would not be paying anywhere near the office rent expense they do today. And the millions of strokes, heart attacks, and divorces that would have been prevented should you just allow those who could to work from home and spend time with their families, instead of in bumper to bumper traffic.
Though an accomplished author, I cannot find the words to fully encapsulate and describe my intense, eternal, and violent hatred for the baby boomers. And the fact their managerial classes unnecessarily forced two generations of people to commute, destorying their lives in the process, is one of the main reasons for this hatred. We could have ushered in a new and revolutionized economy that would have DRASTICALLY improved standards of living both mentally, economically, and socially had employers simply eliminated commuting when the internet allowed it to. Instead, their petty, egomaniacal, and controlling natures forced millions of veritable slaves into hours-long commutes everyday because they simply wanted to see people suffer AND they were so stupid they couldn't understand "well if I can't see you, how do I know you're working?"
The Great and Merciful Coronachan has exposed these close-minded control freaks for the egomaniacs they are. We all now know that we never had to commute in the first place. We all now know that these baby boomer bosses prevented us from seeing our families grow up and have shaved decades off our life expectancies with unnecessary commutes. It is my great and eternal hope that Gen Z, Millennials, and (their now) Gen X bosses realize just what an opportunity we have to TREMENDOUSLY improve the quality of our lives by banishing commutes from our lives forever. But I fear in another month we'll all be lined up at the metered ramp in one month, wondering if that "trafficless month" was real or just a dream.
Another major economic revolution that could occur within a year would be the converting of now-unsed office space into residential buildings. Without people commuting to offices they don't have to be at, hundreds of thousands of acres of office space could be converted into housing, drastically lowering housing costs.
Not only would this help the beleaguered millennials and Gen Z'ers facing egregious rental costs, it would revitalize many downtown areas as their skyscrapers would make for some prime residential real-estate. People would no longer merely commute to downtown, but live there, ushering in a whole new era of populated, live, vibrant city centers. City council members would no longer have to panhandle for federal grants to put a park or some crappy municipal "museum" in their city centers, hoping that revitalizes their downtowns. They wouldn't be able to keep up with demand for bars, restaurants, cafes, clubs, and all the other ancillary businesses that comes with having a massive downtown bedroom community.
Overnight, we could drastically improve the personal budgets of nearly every American by drastically lowering the single largest item on their person budget - lodging. And the Coronavirus has shown us that is possible today, right now, if we wish to eliminate commutes and repurpose our commercial office space. Sadly, once again, that may just be too revolutionary for the small, petty minds that our (also obsolete) K-college education industry instilled in American society today.
Though I've mentioned it before and this opportunity may already be gone, there is an opportunity for the US government to drastically improve its finances. The short version is this - as we are in a global emergency, the only real economy in this world under one currency is the US and its dollar. And during times of crisis, there is a flight to safety. This has not only driven demand up for the US dollar, but our main competitor to a rival global reserve currency - China/Yuan - is the cause and epicenter of this crisis.
With the dollar so strong and the US economy being the last man standing, it would make sense today to print off as much money as we need to not only bail out student loans (if you wanted to) and address the economic problems of Covid 19, but to also invest in the now-depressed stock prices of the world. The reason we'd do this is because the productive assets of the world's corporations are really the only thing that has value. They will continue to produce ALL economic production in the future global economy and they are on sale by about 30% off as we speak. Once the trillions of newly minted US dollars reinflate the various markets, or investors just realize corporate assets are the only thing that is going to produce all future profits in the world, money will re-enter the stock markets at which time the government could liquidate it's positions in the world stock markets for a hefty profit, and retire potentially trillions in its national debt.
There is really nothing shameful being exposed here, say like parents outsourcing their children to teachers and teachers not really caring about their students, but this is a rare economic opportunity for the US government to capitalize on its rare-and-now-even-stronger world reserve currency position coinciding with a significant drop in asset prices. President Trump and the American taxpayer (should they capitalize on it) have the Coronavirus to thank for that.
Will Americans Pick Up the Platinum Bar in Front of Them?
These four things:
Drastically lower housing costs
Potentially much lower national debt
would usher in a truly new, revolutionized, and drastically improved society. It would be on par with the agricultural and industrial revolutions in terms of how much it would advance society and it would make nearly all our economic problems go away. But I'm afraid Americans (and the world over) are so close-minded, so vested in their obsoleted ways and industries, that we will ignore the opportunities Coronavirus has presented to us. We will insist on having kids, not raising them as we outsource them to state-run schools. Teachers/professors will never give up their jobs because most teachers are lazy people who never wanted to work hard in the first place. Students/young people will never give up the on campus "college experience" for an online degree they could complete by 14 for $0, because we've brainwashed them to think that is all they have in life. And even though the baby boomers shall pass, there is unfortunately too many myopic Gen X managerial control freaks who sadistically enjoy making people suffer through unnecessary commutes.
I have the utmost of faith that we will learn nothing from Coronavirus and with that my dream of a Post-Coronavirus world will remain precisely that - a dream.
Check out Aaron's other stuff below!