An Unfortunate Oxymoron

An Unfortunate Oxymoron

Ted Folkert – November 17, 2020

One thing we all can agree on is that this virus is awful. It is obviously awful for those infected, but particularly awful for those who have lost loved ones to this dreadful pandemic. The announcements of vaccines is encouraging and provides some much-needed hope for all of us who have been either affected by the virus itself or by the inconvenience of preventative measures which most of us have endured and adhered to.

We are social animals. Staying home is not what we do. Wearing masks is not what we do. Avoiding interaction with friends and relatives is not what we do. Being depressed due to isolation, confinement, hibernation, or quarantine is very painful. We hate it. But it beats the alternative – an alternative that includes spreading the pandemic and infecting more people and enhancing its disastrous impact on humanity. This is a time when we must not only protect ourselves but protect all those we interact with, all those with whom we come into contact.

This is not a time to focus on the profit motive, enhancing our wealth, gaining advantage on those less clever, getting an edge on our competitors, winning the game of wealth accumulation. We have to keep paying our way but we can reduce the impact of unnecessary contact with others until vaccines are broadly distributed among the population and we all feel less vulnerable to this dreadful disease. Once this takes place and we get some positive results regarding the spread we can get back to the normal human impulses which drive the market for goods and services and accumulation of wealth, wealth which we will never spend.

Money, wealth, things, possessions, treasures and comforts and pleasures in life drive the economy, whether that is good or not so good, depending upon your take on the process. But these are also the things which drive diseases and interfere with the control and elimination of such. It is a simple equation, like third-grade arithmetic – the more human interaction, the more spread and the more of a challenge to cure the ailment – the less human interaction, the less spread and the better and faster the recovery.

This isn’t rocket science. It is simple arithmetic, but only if we all cooperate and inconvenience ourselves for a short period of time.

The unfortunate result of this is the negative impact on the economy. That is an impact that is impossible to distribute with any sense of equality. Some of us will be affected more than others. The only salvation is that once we have got the disease under control we can make up for lost time – the pent up demand for goods and service will prevail and we can begin to recover financially. Unfortunately, the longer we resist and delay the healing process the longer and more difficult will be the recovery.

This may be the definition of “oxymoron” but it is the only promising course of action.

We are all in this thing together, we are suffering it together, and together we must be in its defeat.

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