We are all acting distant right now
As the pandemic creates, seemingly long lasting distancing effects across the globe, what are the potential knock-on effects?
Even before COVID-19 people were becoming more protectionist, keen on local and erring away from some of the huge closeness that globalisation has created, but now distancing and dispersion has been forced upon us.
During the midst of the pandemic McKinsey reported that: "more than three billion people live in countries whose borders are now totally closed to nonresidents". As they discussed, this has massive effects for business around supply chains, reversing the effects that recent years of free movement and technological advancements have brought with them.
More than one meme has highlighted the vastly different situation we would have found ourselves in if COVID-19 had hit some 15 or so years ago. Internet has brought with it Netflix, social media, zoom and Amazon, so while we have all been "together apart" when we are allowed to be back together we might see ourselves in a more distanced, more isolated world, something that was already occurring but now has been given a big push.
Working from home or from your #vanlife looks like it might also stick around, and whilst this brings positives with it like saving on travel time, it also removes a key social interaction that might be more important than you first think. While the natural inclination is to worry only about the loners or the office romances that will never be another major impact, as Scott Galloway explains, is the loss of the equaliser effect that Esther Perel also talks about. Whilst people generally choose to live in areas with people that reflect similar views, and most likely share relatively similar lifestyles, when they go to work, even if it might still be slightly biased by interest, they are forced to talk to people from different areas, mindsets, ages and lifestyles. Without the "watercooler" and these mixed experiences are important. As Galloway puts it simply "Dispersal is cousin to segregation, and segregation reduces empathy."