Half-time for the year from hades

The disasters of 2020 — pandemic, recession, and riots — are all self-inflicted wounds.

They stem from one-sided beliefs that are insulated from facts and shared by millions of people.

The revolutionary fervor in the air points to more trouble ahead, especially as the US election approaches.

It is difficult to describe this year as anything but a truly unmitigated disaster — and it is not even half over.

We have been treated to the most hysterical reaction to a pandemic ever, the fastest and deepest economic dislocation in 300 years, and the greatest public policy error of all time.

And now, owing to the callous death of George Floyd and subsequent protests, we are in the very earliest stages of the political retribution from these events.

The most shocking thing to consider in this litany of disaster is that all of it is self-inflicted.

We see ourselves as victims of mighty impersonal forces, but the truth is that we are every bit as much instigators of our misfortune.

Many of us — including politicians, health experts, and violent protesters — chose to create the year from hades

The exceptional turmoil of this year understandably has people asking deep questions like never before, particularly concerning whether Big Things are afoot.

Is this a momentous year like 1815, 1848, 1914, 1945, or 1989, a revolutionary turning point into some dimly sensed emerging paradigm?

Or, is this all grossly exaggerated and unconnected and just a really bad example of “sh!t happens”?

The short answer for me to these questions is “partly, yes”.

Even so, I think the overriding factor to explain this year’s events, as usual, can be found in our minds: how we think and, based on that, how we act. Get millions or billions of humans thinking and acting in the same way, and it is a mighty force indeed.

We feared the coronavirus and so triggered a social panic.

Our leaders foresaw loss of life and then shut down the economy.

Businesses saw the writing on the wall and laid off millions of workers.

Everyday people saw police brutality and then marched on the city.

One mutation and one video have led to profound changes in the lives of billions and it is all based on shared intangible ideas.

People believe in such ideas and then they act on those beliefs. Tally up those reactions by the millions and, when they are one-sided, you get mass behavior that kills economies, damages property, and destroys lives.

With this experience from the first half of 2020, we should probably keep our helmets on for the second half, especially given the highly politicized US election to come.

Here’s to the rest of a memorable year to come.

The full article can be found here.

I am the CEO at Veras Inc and an expert in global markets, economics, and public policy