While the sociological and economic upheaval of the COVID19 pandemic rages around the world, bringing a generalized feeling of helplessness, vulnerability, and dread regarding the changes that the pandemic will bring (some of which are likely to be deeply offensive to those with a classical liberal philosophy), there’s still some value in thinking on the bright side, and keeping your spirits up.
So, in terms of social organization, the role of governments, impacts on economies at all scales (from household to global), transportation, the world of sport, and more, let’s consider which things we lovers of liberty currently don’t like. This which will seem remarkably less important (and less worthy of coercive governmental measures) in the post-COVID19 world. Here are a few such things.
Let’s start at the “close to home level.” One of the anti-liberty ideas that is likely to be deeply frowned upon is the war on individual mobility, and the movement to ever more obligatory, more densely packed mass transit. If COVID19 progresses as it seems to be, people in the future will be much more concerned with maintaining the capability for individual transportation (including me). Thus, less willing to be completely reliant on government funded/operated/subsidized mobile disease incubators. For me at least, this is a happy thought by itself!
Another thing we’re likely to see is the death of cartelization of systems to move people and goods: both taxies (already threatened by Uber and the like), and hopefully, government regulated delivery systems and mail systems. One thing shown by the COVID19 pandemic is that we need resilient, just-in-time capability for the delivery of remotely-ordered/paid-for goods and services to people’s door, rather than gathering massive crowds in glitzy markets trying to sell you $10 organic avocadoes. (As if there are non-organic avocadoes, but don’t get me started.)
Speaking of avocadoes, the rejection of the entire fixation on avocado-toast may be a fringe benefit of this. It’s not an encroachment of Liberty, of course. It’s just symbolic of a generation that doesn’t care much about it.
Still another thing that we may be blessed to see less of in the post-COVID19 world are those absolutely horrendous low/no-cubicle “open office,” or “shared workplace” arrangements that have been in vogue for about 20 years. Where possible, bring back my contained office, with a door, please! Glass is fine, but, barriers people, barriers!
Another casualty of COVID19 (we can hope) will be the “Smart Growth” or dense development movement. When I was an undergrad, UCLA tried the idea of “dense packing” the dorms once, and it was immediately branded dunce-packing. Time to resurrect this great term for the “make ‘em live like sardines” crowd.
Finally, if nothing else, this could (dare we hope) mark the death of the dreaded “all-hands” meetings: Monday Morning Meetings, all-hands “planning sessions,” and all kinds of un-necessary meetings that are mostly warm-body counts (did you clock in, Jim?) and only about 1 percent exchanging actual information that person B needs from person A in order to do their job. That’s what email is for! MOAR email, less warm-body meetings!
See? Lots of happy things to think about! So, keep your spirits up!