Few Common Sense Thoughts About Surviving And Going Forward

Aszer Rubin uważa, że większość ludzi jest głupia i że to głupota ludzka sprowadza na świat smutek. Nie jest to grzech ani cecha, z którą człowiek się rodzi, ale zły pogląd na świat, błędna ocena tego, co widzą oczy. W rezultacie ludzie spostrzegają wszystko osobno, każdą rzecz w oderwaniu od pozostałych. Prawdziwa mądrość to sztuka łączenia wszystkiego ze wszystkim, wtedy wyłania się prawdziwy kształt rzeczy.

[Asher Rubin believes that the majority of people are stupid and that human stupidity brings sadness to the world. This is not a sin or a trait with which one is born, but a wrong view of the world, an incorrect assessment of what our eyes can see. As a result, people perceive everything separately, each thing in isolation the other. True wisdom is the art of combining everything with everything, only then the true shape of things can emerge].

Olga Tokarczuk, 2019 Nobel Prize Winner [„Księgi Jakubowe”]

Let me start with another quote from Olga Tokarczuk “Bieguni” “Fights”
Gdyby można było spojrzeć na świat bez żadnej ochrony, uczciwie i odważnie – pękłyby nam serca.
[…] if instead we simply saw the world as it was with nothing to protect us, honestly and courageously, it would break our hearts.
And two quotes from her recent article in FAZ:
Dla mnie już od dłuższego czasu świata było za dużo. Za dużo, za szybko, za głośno.
For the longest time, I have felt that there’s been too much world. Too much, too fast, too loud.
Czy aby nie jest tak, że wróciliśmy do normalnego rytmu życia? Że to nie wirus jest zaburzeniem normy, ale właśnie odwrotnie – tamten hektyczny świat przed wirusem był nienormalny?
Might it not be the case that we have returned to a normal rhythm of life? That it isn’t that the virus is a disruption of the norm, but rather exactly the reverse—that the hectic world before the virus arrived was abnormal?
What I plan to write below is BLUNT. It may be heartbreaking, but I think we must boldly face the reality. We are not going through another crisis, from which we will sooner or later recover. We are going through a quantum leap transformation.
At the moment governments design shields to save businesses, save the economy. Keep it running, preparing for the moment that things will go back to normal. We still want to believe that sooner or later this pandemic will go away, someone will find a cure and/or a vaccine and things will get back to normal. The global supply chain will recover, planes and cruise ships will start moving again. White collars will go back to carving in Excel spreadsheets and PowerPoint presentations delusional dreams of perpetual growth.
We may develop a cure and/or vaccine. But even with a cure and a vaccine, it will most likely still be a dangerous disease. Our life will change. It is quite likely that this virus will stay with us at least for a while. And even if not a least a few generations will live be thinking and planning precautions for another possible pandemic.
And even if now, by some touch of a magic wand this virus disappeared overnight our world would still change. We realized that the supply chain may be broken (or shredded to pieces) at any moment so we will be rebuilding it more locally. We have already realized what we really need and what we can live without. We realized that we can work remotely. There will be less business travel, more teleconferencing. We are evaluating both our individual, human needs as well as business needs. The future business needs will (or at least should) be the results of our needs as humans. It seems like recently it has often been the other way round.
After the pandemic some businesses will survive, some will die and some will start from scratch or raise like Fenix from the ashes. Some will remain very weak. People, who manage to work remotely will most likely continue doing so. There will be less commute, so less need for fuel less transport needed. Less office space will be needed, less maintenance of office buildings, less stationary less office furniture, less catering and other support services, etc., etc. Entire industries supporting us “being busy” will downsize. So please… whatever protective shield or plan you are thinking about focus on saving individual people, not businesses. Businesses can hibernate, die and be resurrected. People (with possibly very few exceptions aka miracles) cannot. New businesses can be born. Old ones can be transformed. Some businesses will die. The worst thing at the moment would be saving businesses that would die anyway even without the pandemic. The second worst would be saving businesses that will be useless after the pandemic is over.
So again, please do not focus on saving businesses per se. Focus on helping and saving people. In other words. Save businesses by saving people. Not the other way round. If you provide an umbrella for people, then you help businesses survive as well. Take as an example a business that has no or little income and people have nothing useful to do there (ex. restaurant). Some people may do something useful (ex. catering with delivery), but many will have nothing to do. If they stay at home safe, receive an umbrella package from the state, they can come back to work at any time. That way business will hibernate but survive. On the other hand, if you transfer help to businesses there is no guarantee that they will be transferred to employees. Maybe, maybe not. But even if they are, they may be transferred to people in jobs that will no longer needed. So these jobs will be dying a bit longer. If you transfer funds to people directly they may already use that time to think about and get prepared for new roles and jobs.
[Komentarz – nie chcę tutaj się za bardzo rozdrabniać nad tym, że bardzo wielu ludzi zajmuje się rzeczami światu zupełnie niepotrzebnymi – jak na przykład opracowywaniem strategii promocji kolejnej wersji barwionej wody z cukrem, w sytuacji, w której zasoby i energia społeczeństwa mogłaby być przeznaczona na coś zdrowszego. Ale Ci właśnie ludzie mają szansę zająć się teraz czymś innym. Nie chcę za ostro krytykować tego nonsensu. Jak to ktoś kiedyś ładnie powiedział – pióro Mont Blanc i torba Louis Vuitton – zestaw dla idioty. Ta cała wydmuszka współczesnego świata wartości zbudowanej na właśnie takich pustych aktywach zaraz się roztopi jak masło na patelni i wartością będzie to, co jest naprawdę ludziom potrzebne – pożywienie, schronienie, relacje … a także sztuka, piękno – w tym również piękno użytkowe – ale nie k… nie za tysiące Euro za torebkę!!! Niech sobie jeszcze noszą te zabawki, byle nie za pieniądze zarabiane na wtłaczaniu dzieciom bezwartościowego pożywienia – ale to jest temat na inny artykuł o stanie światowej gospodarki pod roboczym tytułem – wróćmy do podstaw]
[Comment – I do not want discuss too much situations where many people deal with things that are completely unnecessary to the world – like, developing a strategy to promote another version of colored and sweetened water in a situation where the resources and energy of the society could be for something healthier. But these people exactly have a chance now to do something else. I don’t want to focus on criticizing some obvious nonsenses at the moment. As someone (Ladislau Dowbor) once put it – “Mont Blanc pen and Louis Vuitton bag – a set for an idiot”. This whole empty shell of the modern world of “value creation” built on such empty assets will soon melt like butter on a frying pan and the true value will be what people really need: food, shelter, relationships … as well as art, beauty – including nice industrial design. But please … not for thousands of Euro for a bag !!! OK, Let people wear these toys if they wish so … but I resent for the money earned by stuffing children with worthless “food” – but this is a topic for another article about the state of the world economy – working title – “let’s get back to basics”]

So let us think for a moment what can best be done for of saving people, saving businesses and the economy, with the limited resources we have. And also, in terms of rebuilding a better economy once this thing is over.
Even before current pandemic, there was a lot of discussion that our economy was not heading in the right direction. Discussions as well as protests, social and political initiatives. It has become clear to most people with common sense that we can no longer continue in that direction. But bluntly speaking our paradigm until very recently was fueling economic growth by burning out natural resources and ourselves (literally and figuratively) in the process.
Ladislau Dowbor, a Brazilian economist put it very simply:
Myśl, że można będzie wiecznie zwiększać konsumpcję na planecie, która ma ograniczone rozmiary, mogła przyjść do głowy tylko idiocie albo ekonomiście. https://pl.wikiquote.org/wiki/Ladislau_Dowbor
EN: The thought that you could indefinitely increase consumption on a planet that is limited in size could only come to the mind of an idiot or an economist.
You hear politicians from any party repeating the mantra: “Jobs, jobs, jobs …”. Sometimes you hear “quality jobs” or well-paid jobs. Great. But how often do you hear a question about “meaningful jobs”? There are so many jobs that are not contributing to the “greater good”, to improving this word. They are just “jobs” that keep people busy giving them some minimum wage and some means. But our economy sometimes resembles a set of interlinked carousels (jobs) with for hamsters (us). The faster we run the more carousels we create (new jobs). In turn more carousels are needed to support and maintain existing ones. . Now that many of our carousels have stopped and most have slowed down, we have an opportunity to revise and revive our flawed carousel system. So maybe we can work slower, produce less material gadgets, destroy the environment to a lesser degree, while eat and live healthier.
Much of our economy resembles a set of interlinked vicious circles, of supply chains and bureaucracy, so organizations can “grow shareholder’s value”. What is often meant was pushing “stuff” to consumers. To each according to the needs marketing created in them, from each according to his ability to pay. Sad, but very true. By “creating value” we created a lot of “stuff” – goods and services that have no intrinsic value. I do not want to be critical or finger point, but we all see around us things that we probably do not really need.
So let us make sure that people survive. And so do the businesses that create goods and services that have intrinsic value. Things that cover the basic needs of the society.
So, let us think how we can support our people, businesses, economy, and planet.
Yes, public support is very much needed, but it must be injected with precision. In the right places in the right amount.
Let me quote Ladislau Dowbor again:
Kwota ma mniejsze znaczenie niż trafne adresowanie. Jak się pieniądze dla biednych wydaje inteligentnie, można dużo zrobić za bardzo małą kwotę. A mądrą pomocą socjalną można wzmocnić gospodarkę.

The amount is less important than its proper distribution. If money for the poor is spent in an intelligent manner, one can do a lot for a very small amount. And wise social assistance can strengthen the economy.