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The World Has Changed More Than We Know

The World Has Changed More Than We Know

Put another way: eras end.

While the mainstream media understandably focuses on the here and now of the pandemic, some commentators are looking at the long-term consequences. Here is a small sampling:

Coronavirus, synchronous failure and the global phase-shiftCoronavirus Will Require Us to Completely Reshape the EconomyFlorence Hit by the Coronavirus: The Curse of Hyperspecialization

We’re not going back to normal: Social distancing is here to stay for much more than a few weeks. It will upend our way of life, in some ways forever (MIT Technology Review)While each of these essays offers a different perspective, let’s focus on the last two: Ugo Bardi’s essay on Hyperspecialization and the technological responses described in the MIT Technology Review essay.

As readers of the blog know, I’ve been differentiating between first-order and second-order effects: First order effects: every action has a consequence. Second order effects: every consequence has its own consequences.

We can think of these as direct (first order) and indirect (second order) effects.

The MIT Technology Review article focuses on direct effects, i.e. how to deploy technology to identify people with the virus, track their recent movements and who they might have exposed to the disease, tech-driven regulations that would limit the movements of infected (such as we see in China now), etc.

Bardi’s first-hand account from Northern Italy touches on an indirect effect: the profoundly negative impact of a hyperspecialized economy that is suddenly disrupted. In this case, the specialization is tourism, but there are other examples, many driven by hyper-globalization.

Specialization has long been central to capitalism’s relentless drive to increase efficiencies and thus profits, and globalization has pushed specialization to extremes globally dominant corporations can arbitrage currencies, wages, political corruption and lax environmental standards in ways that localized competitors cannot.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

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