Discover more from Sey Everything
The predictable economic fallout of lockdown policy
The decision to lockdown the world had consequences and we’ll continue to see them unfold for some time. Can we really expect those who caused these problems to save us from them?
Lockdowns caused unprecedented disruption to the world’s economy and global supply chain, and the largest upward transfer of wealth in history.
Widespread business closures due to lockdowns caused mass layoffs of, primarily, hourly wage workers with little to no savings. Then the government spent money that we did not have so people could pay their rent and not starve. And then they did it again.
Of course, this caused inflation. Then the Fed raised interest rates to halt the inflation.
And now we are experiencing the ensuing disaster that is unfolding in real time. And the little guy is left holding the bag whether through exorbitant pricing of basic necessities like milk and eggs or small business investors wondering when and if they’ll be able to extract their money from SVB to pay their employees and vendors.
No, I’m not a banker. But it’s easy to see what happened and that’s the rough outline in the simplest possible terms.
You can’t shut the world down and think there will not be consequences. You just can’t.
All of this happened — lockdowns forcing small business closures — while corporate employees worked from home and screeched “we’re all in this together” while ordering Uber Eats, watching Netflix and working kinda, sorta sometimes. And of course, while continuing to take their salaries and bonuses and stock payouts. And continuing to do so to this day.
No company dared speak out against lockdowns. I can’t think of a single one. Instead, they laid people off with “empathy”, gave them two weeks salary and continued advocating in support of lockdowns — or at the very least going along with them, staying silent — knowing that the bill was coming.
And yes, they knew what was coming. In late 2020 and early 2021, every mid to large scale business was discussing what to do about pricing given the inevitable cost-of-goods rise coming down the pike. Global supply chains had been interrupted. The creation of goods had all but halted entirely. Yes they were getting going again in late 2020, but couldn’t meet demands as ramping up takes time. Of course prices would rise with a mismatch between supply and demand.
How would consumer goods companies (and other companies who make a product, no matter who they sell it to) protect margins when the cost to make a product was going to go up significantly? Would they take pricing up now before the cost of goods actually rose — sneak it in there to protect against future margin hits? Or wait and do it when the bill came, making it obvious to consumers what was going on? And sort of proving in real time Elizabeth Warren’s perspective on the matter.
Why didn’t ANY companies say anything against lockdowns when they knew what was inevitably coming?
Because the “woke” view — the this is what good people do view — was: lockdown forever until no covid. That was caring. Anything else was “only caring about money,” being greedy, racist, eugenicist, evil. And companies, whether they agreed with lockdowns or not, were burnishing their image as good and caring.
But in reality, the actual empathetic position would have been to challenge the logic and efficacy (or better said: assert the illogic and ineffectiveness) of lockdowns. And to advocate for opening. To let people work. To allow everyday people to earn a living, just as those in corporate were, as C-suiters were. Executives and corporate leaders shouted Stay home save lives! while staying home where they could carry on with their jobs and doing nothing to ensure that others could actually carry on with theirs.
If anyone in corporate America dared to say hey maybe this is gonna be really bad, and income inequality will dramatically increase and people will really suffer you were immediately deemed evil. An apostate. You were banished because you didn’t care if people died. You were a murderer.
That’s the woke pose — pro lockdown, we’re all in this together – that was harmful. The other stuff — DEI, sensitivity training, etc — those were distractions all meant to convince others of the caring, empathetic message. They aren’t the reason SVB failed. It’s much more complicated than that, and more complicated than I — a non-banker — can probably grasp. But these things — distractions — were the cover when SVB was mismanaging its business, and in the process of failing. And it happened slowly, then suddenly and all at once, in the past few days when the bill came due.
These things — these woke poses, including being pro-lockdown — provided a shield from scrutiny. From employees, from investors, from customers and from the press. And most everyone bought it hook line and sinker.
And the business press was first in line to further the virtue signaling rather than ask hard questions about what was inevitably to come.
Forbes is basically a PR machine for the finance industry and American corporations overall. (I say this as someone who was named to a few of Forbes’ best of lists which I knew was kind of meaningless at the time and I now find almost embarrassing.)
Forbes and the like will never interrogate a company’s business practices (until after the fact/fall) because they don’t want to lose access to the executives — they want their fancy interviews.
The business press will, however, continue to smear me, and people like me, as the actual problem — by equating my open schools/open the economy stance with racism, Nazism and just some “pretty out there stuff” in general. It might have been a better use of their time to challenge lockdowns as not only bad for business, but bad for employees and an economic catastrophe in the making. But nah . . . might as well just go after anyone who was willing to say that.
The press touted all these woke, pro-lockdown stances, to the detriment of actual people who needed actual jobs. Inflation — when just imagined and predicted and not yet oh-so-real — was a right-wing construct. Not a real thing that would hurt real working class people the most.
And so here we are. Millions were pushed into poverty globally, all in pursuit of zero covid, or at the very least avoidance of a respiratory virus as the only thing that mattered. It’s the insane myopia that got us here, and now there’s a panicked scrambling to ensure that it doesn’t get even worse for regular folks than it’s already been.
And still, the lockdown-ers insist, we just didn’t lockdown hard enough. And some, like Forbes, are making the case that we need rolling lockdowns from here on out.
When will we learn? The predictable economic fallout of locking down the world had consequences and we’ll continue to see them unfold for some time. It seems unlikely that the ones who created these problems are the ones who will be able to solve them.