American Consequences - July 2021

A s the impact of COVID-19 starts to move from the forefront of the global agenda to a hopefully permanent place in the rearview mirror, I find myself considering the question – what next? How has this humanitarian crisis challenged and changed our political, economic, societal, and technological worlds, and what are the implications for all of us as we look to the future?


with potentially profound consequences for our densest population centers. Further adding fuel to this fire are the longer- term impacts of COVID on the dynamics of our workforce. Will 1.6 million people ever resume commuting to New York City daily? If not, what are the implications for suburbs? For the massive, now-underutilized Infrastructure for the People movement? For the values of real estate, particularly center- city offices, and the myriad businesses that service commuters? And finally, what is the financial impact to these already-high-tax-rate cities, as wealthy residents leave with their laptops and iPads, creating virtual offices wherever they want? Whether pursuing a less divisive society, a lifestyle change (surf ’s up!), or less expensive tax regimes, the impact to these cities will be increasingly large budget holes and financial burdens on those remaining. The Trillion-Dollar Question In the financial ecosystem, deeply troubling trends and conditions have worsened substantially... U.S. government debt, home of the global reserve currency , was unalterable and unsustainable even before COVID.

COVID-19 will be a catalyst for many paradigm shifts that affect the evolution of our societal and financial ecosystems. But, while it will act as the catalyst, many of these trends were well underway... On the political front for most democratic developed countries, the environment was becoming more fractured and divisive with the impact of populist parties on both sides, driving increasingly challenging dialogues and sharply escalating tensions, stretching in some cases to social unrest. COVID proved an accelerant for this shifting dialogue due to the regressive way that the pandemic has impacted our culture. Poor and uneducated populations have been far more susceptible to the virus than the wealthy and educated. The knowledge economy has seamlessly flowed to a digital and remote new reality. On the other hand, the old-fashioned industrial and service economies struggled with ongoing disruption, adding pressure to an already-unstable dynamic. Voices on both sides become more strident, and positions harden. Large cities are serving as the battleground for these debates. Populist politics calling for higher taxes on the rich to pay for increasing social largesse are on the rise – exacerbating an existing tricky situation

American Consequences


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