When listening to podcasts by economists attached to august, “coastal elite,” higher educational institutions, I take it with a grain of salt. That salt is the flavour you have to put on things you put into your brain that in gives you the feeling that a.) Data is important b.) Nothing these people says about effects on massive segments of the population means that much to them. They are after all economists – they distill information into numbers to be understood and managed and likely think of humans as much the same. And then they go back to their leafy streets, colonial style homes and picket fences. I do somehow love these guys as I do at least popular strains of economics and behavioural economics.
One of my favourite economists, despite not exactly being anywhere close to eye to eye on notions of “liberty” and “society”, is Tyler Cowen. Recently, I listened to one of his podcasts where he and another economist were talking about what will be the Corona Virus inspired changes we are likely to see in our actual daily lives. This was after they went on and finished with their dire predictions about GDP, market indicators, or the effect on the sports industry which I especially care nothing about. This is not only because I’m from Cleveland, but a skateboarder so would rather see organised sports as a concept destroyed.
They talked about how potentially going into the future, and assuming all of this sort of calms down in some way, that there might be actual if not just perceived risk involved with actually meeting people face to face. Will we have more focused attention when meeting if it will mean so much more? Maybe we won’t look at the phone, the smart watch and all these other things tied and hanging on us in that coffee shop sitting across from someone? Will meeting someone, in real life, mean that much intensely more? I certainly hope so.