New Reality Check: The Week the World Changed

James West
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Everything changed yesterday. We suddenly went from regarding coronavirus as a low-risk, run-of-the-mill cold threat, to a stockpile-food-and-avoid-public-places plague. There is no more “us versus them”. We are all in this together. 119 countries, 150,000 infected, with potentially the biggest explosion in cases coming in the week ahead.

Nobody is exempt from this virus, as demonstrated by Trump, Duterte, Trudeau.

In our office tower, entire floors are closing for anywhere from two to four weeks out of an abundance of caution.

Toilet paper has become a collectible.

The streets have grown quiet. The alleys are busier than the sidewalks.

There is an ominous foreboding in the air.

The world has changed.

Welcome to the New Reality

What has changed is this: whereas before, overpopulation, environmentalism, and social interaction had a certain place in conversation, it has now become an assessment of action – what should be done, what can be done, to survive. We move toward a period of mutual social exclusion.

Even after the coronavirus recedes into the warm folds of spring’s warmer temperatures, do you think we will so carelessly attend mass gatherings like sporting events and concerts as we did in the past? Or is it more likely we will weigh the worth of exposure to the crowd against an experience we have likely had before, and therefore, has a diminished value in light of the plague.

Mainstream media’s shrill warning about false and sensational information around the coronavirus is contextualized by their persistent publication of false and sensational information. Yesterday, CBC news reported that “Travel Bans Don’t Work, Experts Say” before concluding the article with the advice to “stay home and self-isolate”, the most complete form of self-imposed travel ban possible.

How ridiculous that the news media should suggest that travel bans don’t work. They work in exactly the ratio to which they are enforceable,and enforced.

If you could have assured 100% compliance with no one exiting China from December to March, there would be no pandemic. It’s that simple.

What doesn’t work is when travel bans are selectively ignored by the multitude of self-entitled rich who feel the rules don’t apply to them by virtue of their wealth. You will note that in every jurisdiction, the source of new infections comes from someone recently returned from international travel.

Those travelling by private jet subscribe to a different set of rules, if any at all.

Compounding our ability to effectively restrain the spread of any virus-borne illness is the tendency among young people to feel exempt from any rules because they are in the prime of their youth. They scoff at the idea that they will spread the disease just as readily as an immune-compromised geriatric. “Ok boomer” has become their mantra.

But can you blame them?

Government “leaders” – populists first, through and through – are only willing to enact half-measures replete with exemptions for their wealthier constituents, effectively abdicating completely the public trust placed in them.

In many respects, what is happening is eye-opening.

Despite the platitudes shovelled down the internet in real time across a million channels, the populace now understands that the media can only be trusted to transmit what the government wants us to hear.

We have learned in the last weeks that the financial system is indeed configured to protect the biggest capital pools at the direct expense of the average individual.

The utterly fraudulent end-of-day buying in the stock markets that saw some stocks rise by 70 percent in the last ten minutes of trading smashes all delusion of a free and unfettered market.

Your Financial Health

While everyone stockpiles hand sanitizer and toilet paper, few are prepared for the economic hit that suspended paycheques are likely to impose.

Fair enough that we all pull together to stay home and avoid social interaction. But there is an inherent inequality to such a proposition.

For office workers, the idea of working from home is a very real possibility. But what about construction workers? Or manufacturing employees? All those who can only do their work at their employer’s location? Unless the government steps in with a pay substitution program, there will be mortgage and rent and car payments missed starting pretty quick.

Now is the best time to be looking for an information partner to provide the insights into the financial opportunities that will be abundant as the coronavirus crisis causes extraordinary financial measures by governments and central banks.

Our focus at Midas Letter will be to keep you apprised of just such opportunities. After all, avoiding coronavirus is one way to stay healthy. Protecting your financial health along the way is key to riding out this, and future crises.

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James West

James West

Editor and Publisher

James West founded Midas Letter in 2008 and has since been covering the best of Canadian and US small cap companies. He covers global economics, monetary policy, geopolitical evolution, political corruption, commodities, cannabis and cryptocurrencies. As an active market participant, James is not a journalist and is invariably discussing markets...
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