Horizons Newsletter – week 14 // 2020
In these extraordinary times, we will use our Horizons newsletter to update you on how we are researching the impact of the COVID-19 virus and the ensuing market reaction. In the Post-Corona Society project we will use our proprietary research tools such as scenario-based reasoning to paint a picture of what the world might look like when this crisis is over and how our investment themes will evolve. In addition to our newsletter, we would like to share our insights with you via video conference in April. If you would like to attend, please send us an email.
For now we hope you will enjoy this newsletter. Stay safe and healthy!
The Dasym & Freedomlab Research teams
Using scenario reasoning to think about a post-corona society
The corona pandemic has resulted in an enormous setback and disenchantment all over the world. Families find themselves in quarantine, health systems are under enormous pressure, and the level of global economic damage could be without precedent. Because there are many uncertainties, we can only speculate on the impact of the corona crisis. Scenario thinking seems to be the best tool to imagine how current developments will shape a post-corona society. Most of the research performed by our colleagues from the FreedomLab Thinktank is based on scenario reasoning. It is important to understand that scenarios are not based on a linear extrapolation of events today. Scenario thinking distinguishes factors that are most uncertain and relevant on a given time-scale and questions how those factors can shape the world, depending on how they will develop in the future. While these outcomes are yet unpredictable, current developments inform us about the likeliness of specific scenarios becoming reality. In this Horizons newsletter, we want to share some early insights from our scenario exercises regarding a post-corona society.
Globalization or de-globalization
Regardless of how long the pandemic will last, it is bound to leave a deep impression on societies around the world. It is likely to shake up geopolitical dynamics, change the way we use technology, challenge our worldview(s) and force us to redefine priorities in order to prevent or prepare for new crises. From a geopolitical perspective, for instance, the spread of the coronavirus is deeply intertwined with globalization. Globalization is one of the causes of the rapid spread of the virus, since international economic and political interests made it near impossible to isolate it. Moreover, the pandemic will influence global relations during and after the crisis. For example, China’s apparent success in fighting the outbreak is likely to contribute to a wider acceptance of Chinese institutions and China’s use of technology. Depending on whether countries work together to control the outbreak and develop a solution, or whether they choose to go about it alone, a post-corona world may be one in which globalization prevails (or even accelerates), or one where (different forms of) de-globalization emerge as multilateral institutions fall apart.
New behaviors in a post-corona world
As millions of people are living in some form of quarantine or lockdown, they are developing and embracing new or already existing practices such as teleworking and online education. Some of these are likely to be discarded once the crisis is over, but others may last longer and become part of our everyday routines. For instance, the functions of the home could drastically be increased and may lead to inventive and new applications and use of smart home technologies that we did not think of before. On the other hand, it is not always clear how things will work out. As soon as people are allowed to meet in person again, some virtual practices might be associated with the crisis. While worries about too much screen time could indicate such a development, the appreciation of virtual practices as the one thing that kept our loved ones close could point to an opposite development. Either way, virtual practices are put to the test thoroughly during the crisis. If they will ‘survive’ after the crisis, depends mainly on whether they live up to expectations.