Politico asked 34 big thinkers to predict how the coronapocalypse will permanently change our world

Originally published at: https://boingboing.net/2020/03/27/politico-asked-34-big-thinkers.html


End of federalism. Either a new central government that is reliable, or a stripping away of most of its powers.


Of course the guy who has a startup providing electronic ballots wants to have electronic voting go mainstream.


Electronic voting goes mainstream.

XKCD said it best:


The shelter-at-home restrictions are providing an eye-opening alpha-test about working remotely for a lot of companies that swore they couldn’t do it.


For our government, they are going to go full “shock doctrine”, they will change the rules and laws to make it easier for corporations to oppress workers, pollute easier, etc. Here’s your first glance.


"When all is said and done, perhaps we will recognize their sacrifice as true patriotism, saluting our doctors and nurses, genuflecting and saying, “Thank you for your service,” as we now do for military veterans. We will give them guaranteed health benefits and corporate discounts, and build statues and have holidays for this new class of people who sacrifice their health and their lives for ours. Perhaps, too, we will finally start to understand patriotism more as cultivating the health and life of your community, rather than blowing up someone else’s community. "

Yeah… maybe we’ll do that, but probably after we stop stealing their badges so as to get free shit / access to supermarkets at reserved times of day?


But while there can be benefits, isn’t it more likely that companies will move to working from home for their own reason.

We’ve already seen a shift to jettisoning employees, hiring them instead as contractors, with fallout from that. Or new businesses starting where most of the workers are “self employed”, see uber.

There have always been people who work from home or work part time, and that has been beneficial to employers and employees. But tye shift now has been for tye benefit if tye employers.

So working from home may now mean “independent contractors” and expected to supply the office space and equipment.


bit darker I fear

virus spins new strains now every year, no vaccines or treatments can keep up, large chunks of US population refuse to isolate because don’t tell them what to do

trump takes advantage of half the house out sick on ventilators and has remaining republican control vote him in as president for life ala Putin-style because “only he can restore the economy now destroyed” - no? betcha 3rd or 4th term

people have to plan for a week to visit local grocery stores, only allowed to go once a week in a timeslot, only to find shelves wiped out (like my walmart this morning)

it’s hilarious how people think everyone will be civilized and work from home - what about all the high school dropouts that don’t want to bother with video based remote learning - drug use and crime will skyrocket

also any job that becomes optimized to “work from home” can now be sent to india or another country where they will work for half your wage


Or as an articl in The Week said:

that case, America’s relative decline in the world will not only continue apace (as it almost surely would under any president at this point) but be managed terribly. We’ll still be able to bully weaker countries to get our way for a while. But anything resembling the “American century” will be over and done. We’ll be a declining hegemon in a world increasingly dominated by rising regional powers while being led by a carnival barker who takes his cues entirely from rabblerousing media personalities who know and care nothing about the wider world. Having turned ourselves into global laughingstocks, other countries will increasingly go their own way, bypassing the United States on trade and alliances and other international pursuits as we slowly founder.

At home our country will be marked by crumbling infrastructure and a tottering system of health-care provision to an aging and unhealthy population. Our government will be sagging under a crushing debt burden, our former efforts to soften the blows of capitalism’s creative destruction being dismantled along with the regulatory regime that sought to protect citizens against externalities of corporate greed. Our courts will be dominated by right-wing Social Darwinists, with civil liberties in retreat and our public life polluted by a miasma of lies and disinformation designed to protect the powerful from oversight. Meanwhile “red” America will cheer it on, believing our national greatness has been restored and wildly entertained by nasty presidential tweets trolling the libs, while Trump and his party actively screw the disloyal “blue” states, enriching themselves along the way.


I guess life time supply of TP would be redundant.


The editor of the Koch-funded Reason magazine taking the opportunity to bash teachers’ unions as she predicts the rise of Internet-based K-12 classes is distasteful but completely unsurprising. Libertarians can’t help but reveal their sociopathic streaks.


Yes, if there’s one thing I’ve really been craving, it’s to hear more people explaining how the present febrile panic vindicates their particular political hobby horse. There’s been a real drought of that sort of thing.


Unfortunately, as much proof as this is of the telecommuting concept I’ve been arguing for, my extroverted department head is going to want to go back to potlucks and five hour mandatory working lunch staff meetings.

She’s also working the least of all of us right now. I’m working more while telecommuting than I’ve ever worked in the office.


One of two things:

The Chinese become the dominant world power.
Nothing changes.

I mean, it’s kind of obvious we don’t learn from history very well. Even last year’s history.


Air travel will become more expensive owing to mandated limits on passenger density. Of course I’m still hopeful that we can drop seats altogether and be loaded in little Japanese capsule hotel-like pods.

Elevator buttons are going to get a lot bigger … so you can more easily press them with your elbow.

New laws that will see “close talkers” subject to charges of assault.


Another good take on the subject:


Genetically engineered herds of unicorns will be created to roam the land and sea. Their collective power will generate healing rainbows that will bring about a new era of peace and prosperity to every corner of the globe.


I’ve seen a few elevators with large buttons at baseboard level, so you can use you foot to select a floor. Handy if your arms are full.


In the end, nothing will have changed.