Do We Want To Go Back To Normal?

Do We Want To Go Back To Normal?

Morning folks,

Quarantine Log, Day 35(?): I can’t wait until wine goes below $0 a barrel

One of the more surprising elements of this crisis, for me at least, is how quickly the conversation can change. Despite the fact that we’ve heard little else other than COVID-19 over the past three months, every week seems to bring a new slant to the discussions.

If I were to summarize my own experiences, the discussion of COVID-19 has gone something like this:

  • There’s an outbreak of a new virus in China.

  • Will this virus ever reach Europe?

  • It’s here. Let’s hope it’s not too serious.

  • It’s serious. What do we do?

  • When do we close down schools?

  • When do we close down everything?

  • Should I sell all my stocks?

  • What are businesses going to do?

  • Nevermind businesses, what are workers going to do?

  • Here are five top tips for working from home.

  • How can investors make money out of this?

  • When’s the peak coming?

  • Now that we’ve hit the peak, when do we reopen?

  • When will we get back to normal?

Now we find ourselves at a point when it appears that many European countries have (hopefully) seen the worst of it (for now), with some American cities also starting to talk about getting back to normal.

This past week, and (from the looks of it) the coming week will be all about one question: Do we want to go back to normal?

Shall we revert to the status quo? Or shall the world look upon this tragedy as an opportunity to affect some real change? Much like the end of World War II was the catalyst for a great industrial boom and the creation of a middle class, what will be the lasting impact of COVID-19 on the world?

Plenty of great thinkers (and some not so great ones) have been pitching their visions for the future over the past few weeks. Below are three essays: one about life generally, one specifically about investing, and one that straddles both topics. If you happen to have some free time, I’d recommend giving them a read.

The first is from Yuval Noah Harari, author of the bestselling book ‘Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind’. I actually reviewed his book for our podcast many years ago and found this essay just as thought-provoking.

The second is a white paper from Bond Capital, the technology investment firm founded by Mary Meeker — author of the annual Internet Trends letter. Some of the graphs in this are truly eye-opening and make me believe that the world will never really be the same.

Finally, over the weekend, Marc Andreessen of Andreessen Horowitz penned a new essay titled: “It’s Time to Build”. Andreessen is a hugely successful and respected technology investor and authored “Why Software is Eating the World” — perhaps the most important essays ever written about technology.

I hope you find them enlightening. Maybe we’ll talk about oil tomorrow. But I hope not; there’s enough misery in the world as it is.

RoryRory

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