COVID-19 is many things – disruptive, deadly, widespread, and more. But it’s also a hyperactive catalyst that’s accelerating existing trends at warp speed.
See, several slow-moving sea changes were already underway. But in this pandemic, they wound up picking up the pace. Here are four trends sprinting forward.
Remote work and video conferencing were already happening, but not without friction, as many firms considered full-time remote work a pipe dream. But since the pandemic, remote work is prevalent, and productivity is up. Physical office work will return – Amazon is betting on it – but not like before.
The clash between e-commerce and brick-and-mortar establishments was well underway before COVID-19, with e-commerce gaining on store sales slowly over the years. But the pandemic has ushered in an e-commerce explosion. Winners may have picked up a decade of gains in just a few months.
It seems COVID-19 has starkly widened the gap between the “haves” and the “have nots” in the U.S. This spans income, education, housing and more. In monetary terms, the Federal Reserve’s emergency responses have kept markets well supported, enriching shareholders (who tend to be affluent). But unless more makes its way to less affluent individuals, the homeless population could increase.
Our currency is in trouble. The outlook for gold, silver, and even Bitcoin, is so bullish, while the dollar’s future is full of doubt. Even before COVID-19, signs surfaced the currency regime that started with Nixon’s shutting the gold window in 1971 was coming to the end of its useful life after multiple decades of long-term debt.
In each of these areas we should see a lot more movement. And we’ll likely see changes in many other aspects of our lives. This may just be getting started.