2020 May Be Almost Over, But COVID-19 Related Risks To Markets Are Not

Thomas Dylan Daniel

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President Trump, despite having lost most of his support in government by losing his bid for re-election, is still in office and is desperately setting fires in federal agencies as he attempts to elude prosecution and build a cult by pardoning criminals who are in jail due to their illegal activity in his service. The coronavirus, as I had, along with many other Americans, initially worried might happen, has begun to show signs of mutation even as the vaccine has begun rolling out. The worry at this point is that public fatigue with regard to COVID-19 could lead to a large enough reservoir of the virus that such mutations might make headway against vaccines even as political chaos continues to wrack the free world. 

Well-funded testing will be needed to provide samples for analysis to track the mutations the coronavirus will undergo in a battle that will challenge humanity’s best efforts, and thanks to the authoritarian regimes which allowed this to happen out of carelessness and negligence, is in fact likely to fail without massive investment and extensive monitoring. Raising the money may be an issue, as the stimulus bill Congress spent the past six months fighting over faces the serious threat of an unexpected pocket veto.

The outgoing Republican administration is setting so many of these fires that even with a congressional majority that may well appear after the January runoff in Georgia, Democrats may not be able to save the government from its imminent collapse under the combined weight of a cyber security war and a pandemic that must be fought at home and abroad if humanity is to have any hope of returning to the safety in social living we had become so used to. To put these problems into perspective, we must also mobilize for broader health services coverage for Americans as well as measures to combat the ferocious ascent of global temperatures associated with a changing climate and do it all while fighting the most substantial economic crash in the history of the current model. 

The rationalist liberal worldview itself is under threat here. And the free internet is, too. As global economies seize up and the world’s money moves into cryptocurrencies, we have no time to evaluate the situation and make the correct choice. Instead, we’re forced into rushing in, and you know what Alexander Pope said about that!

“Fools rush in where angels fear to tread.”
-Alexander Pope

How Will This Complex Interplay Of Various Forces Resolve?

The question of the moment seems to be what the world is going to look like in a year. And what it may look like in 5. My father is worried that he will never again be comfortable in public without a mask on. And he’s right: the barrier between the economic and social recovery and a deadly virus is very, very thin. It will become more resilient over time, but as the vaccine rolls out there will be pockets of underserved humanity and if too many people are allowed to go unvaccinated there could be catastrophic consequences. 

The news a year from now will probably still feature scary stories about COVID-19 flare-ups and mutated strains of the virus that have, like so much ash, descended upon the world to stir up fear and impede humanity’s recovery. And depending on how that goes, five years’ time may yield a return to what we once took for granted or a barren wasteland of isolated survivors who managed not to get the virus or succumb to the wars which followed it. 

Cryptocurrencies may, as Ripple (XRP) seems to have done, run afoul of regulators--but in general they seem to be well-insulated from COVID-19-related supply chain difficulties affecting the major stocks. This emerging market is a bulwark of liberal thinking, but postneoliberalism is probably too loaded a term to describe these trends at this point. Regardless, the political thought patterns which have emerged over the centuries are changing rapidly in response to changes in monetary technology and the calculated impact upon monetary policy as a result. Regardless, democratic governance of automatically-enforced smart contract policy architecture and community ownership of the means of production are central concepts for emerging cryptocurrency-powered ecosystems.

Democracy is good for people. It prevents wars by promoting rational thinking between large groups of people, including in many cases at least some people who think like your enemy or neighboring state. In democratic societies, laws are generally not made to limit the freedom of individuals to do things like travel around the state and/or to neighboring states. And some appeal exists to the democratic lifestyle as a result, which draws emigrants and diversifies the population of the state. This enhances the distributed cognition by which democratically-run groups of people attempt to make decisions. It does not always work perfectly, but in general if authoritarianism can be mitigated it can work for most people most of the time. 

The big draw of this that keeps us coming back despite flaws such as rampant consumerism and limited social consciousness has to do with how stable it can make things. That’s very good for increasing the population by raising children in healthy, stable families that can take good care of them and make educated, competent citizens. The downside is that the imperative to perfect this system of cohabitation can be diminished by our impetus to act as individuals for preservation and other needs. If we are going to find a way to face the challenges ahead successfully, it is of the utmost importance that we learn to work together more effectively than we ever have before.

So That’s The Liberal World Order The Right Wing Is So Upset About?

Immediately after the news broke that COVID-19 was going to be a pandemic, right wing militants on the internet began to push the narrative that it was the duty of every able-bodied white nationalist to spread the disease as far and wide as possible. Fascism is a particularly troubling subversive force because it operates precisely by convincing people that their own thoughts and minds are to be distrusted. Commonsense measures such as asking that everyone wear masks to slow the spread of the disease are met with objections that masks do not work perfectly, which in no way obviates the point that if everyone would wear his or her mask when around other people, the disease would not be as much of a problem as it is. 

The political Right is now obsessed with the maintenance and security of what is quickly becoming the former order of things, to the detriment of the people who adhere to this ideology. It’s like an addiction—concerned family and friends beseech the Fox News-addled right wing victims to leave this self-destructive situation behind, but to no avail. 

Whether or not there was ever a legitimate root issue for these people to be concerned about, it is now the case that the political right has had four years of virtually unfettered power and that the only real change they managed to make was the mismanagement of the COVID-19 pandemic that has led to the most ludicrously difficult year in living memory. 

All of the angry people who refuse to acknowledge Trump’s defeat last month are at risk of becoming further compromised by right wing media efforts with no real policy goal. This nihilistic zombie of a political machine is entirely likely to give rise to additional demagogues, but the power these men will ultimately wield is yet quite uncertain. If the political left wing is able to accomplish its agenda, the global financial system will never be the same as it was before 2020 and neither will the as-yet-uncertain web of foreign political relationships Biden will inherit next month.

It is important to note that the Biden administration will be, unlike the Trump administration, focusing the might of the American federal government into an effort to confront the contemporary challenges using any and all technological and economic machinery at its disposal. The powers of the government to create have never been more substantial, and it is quite likely as a result that policy will overwhelmingly involve blockchains and favor free and open cryptocurrency markets. 

The Economic Recovery Is In Jeopardy

Ultimately, one of the most substantial risks of the moment—inadequate economic relief, leading to widespread social discontent—has been at least temporarily staved off by the pending passage of the economic recovery bill currently up for a vote in the US House of Representatives. However, it is also important to note that global trade is in perhaps the most jeopardy since last March. Rising case counts have caused problems, but the virus has also mutated into new forms which may ultimately be something the vaccines are no longer effective against. 

The ramifications of this possibility (multiple deadly strains of COVID-19 which each required a different vaccine) would be profound. Instead of a road map back to normal living conditions, humanity would find itself in possession of a guaranteed economy-shifting disaster as another uncoordinated and ultimately ineffective shutdown rose up to attempt to stem the tide. Only a few unvaccinated populations may find themselves able to avoid the creation of new, mutated strains of the virus. For life to go back to the way it was, we need to act in concert to minimize exposure and maximize every opportunity we have to combat COVID-19. 

The actions of Fox News starting with the Biden Inauguration will be indicative of the odds of future success in this fight. If Biden is successful in creating a single, unified narrative capable of penetrating the Fox News bubble and convincing the vast majority of Americans to get vaccinated and wear their masks, we will have a chance of success. Discord at home may impede the chances of the American leaders successfully coordinating global actions and returning the world to its normal state, so it is not unfair to say that the current moment and its consequences are likely to determine the shape of global policy for years and decades to come. 

Cryptocurrencies and blockchain technology are the future regardless of whether it is a bright future in which the crises we face are happily resolved or not. President-elect Biden’s ability to reign in the insanity of the moment and restore order despite the noisy Republican budget-hawkishness will determine the success or failure of the economic recovery and ultimately our return to the old, safe, social way of living together we enjoyed before COVID-19.

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Thomas Dylan Daniel is an American philosopher interested in a wide variety of subjects. Ethics, neuroscience, and physics are different fields, but Daniel has studied them all to draw upon aspects of them in a new theory which can incorporate each of them. Part of the creation of any theory is proofing it--testing various aspects of it against predictions which are either true or false when measured. Cryptocurrency markets are a novel proving ground about which Daniel spends a considerable amount of time studying the trends as they happen. Follow this account for a frequent dose of philosophical, political, and blockchain-based stories.

Austin, TX
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