What aspects of the “new normal” will become indefinite features of society?

People have mentioned that the way people work may be permanently changed by the pandemic, but could there be any major shifts in values that would change the way society operates going forward?

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Comments (90)

May 27, 2020 - 10:42pm

Pros:
Face-time not as necessary
WFH flexibility, means you can take care of chores, go to the gym, spend time with kids, etc on the job

Cons:
No disconnect from work means some managers will abuse this and always assume you're reachable
Racism - I feel really bad for Asian people.

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May 27, 2020 - 10:51pm

But those are pretty obvious. I am thinking more along the lines of how potential shifts in values may change the types of services that are offered and what that would mean for certain types of businesses going forward.

Apr 25, 2021 - 5:59pm

Bruh, I'm a moderate that watches both sides of the news coverage (frankly don't think you can trust either side, both parties as dumb and hypocritical as they claim the other to be). But you can't deny seeing videos of elderly Asians getting their heads stomped in in broad daylight literally in NYC. When the hell pre-corona has that happened?

Sure, a lot of other narratives are manufactured, but where exactly is the lie here?

  • Intern in IB - Ind
May 27, 2020 - 11:16pm

One niche area that comes to mind is in the sharing economy. Think for instance of ride sharing. Uber/Lyft likely won't be crushed, but who will want to take an UberPool ride in the near future? I think people will be a bit more willing to pay a premium for privacy/personal space than pre-COVID.

Similar story may occur with air travel. People will still want/need to fly, but who will want to sit in a middle seat between two others? In an extreme case, maybe we see fewer seats in planes in future models. Or more double-deck aircraft with fewer seats on each deck.

People might not mind being in the same space as others once things return to "normal," but I think people will be happy to pay to keep a little more distance.

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  • Intern in HF - Other
Apr 22, 2021 - 10:48am

Nobody wanted to be in the middle seat on an airplane pre COVID. I also suspect that most people that take Uber Pool couldn't afford to take an Uber alone otherwise they would. 

  • Associate 2 in PE - Other
Apr 22, 2021 - 12:43pm

Agreed above, I'd never sit in the middle seat or ride an UberPool before COVID... I don't think people who were otherwise doing those things are suddenly going to change their minds, they're more about need than want

May 27, 2020 - 11:56pm

I read a thought provoking article focusing on the potential change in political progressive ideals. It was a Bloomberg article titled "The Coronavirus Killed The Progressive Left". Hannity/Tucker would have been licking their chops on this one... Not my views entirely, but an interesting counter to the traditional liberal media pieces that make it seem like the progressive revolution is days away. The article was also published on 3/20, which was mighty early on and some serious fists to throw out of the gate.

  1. International open borders and flow of humans will feel strange and scary. Laws/regs put in place to limit immigration during C19 will be hard to pull back and it will take a significant amount of time/changing administrations to clear the tangled web of regulations.

  2. Elites won't support wealth distribution. Once the going gets tough-tough the whole idea of being cagey and protective of your fortune will heighten and wealth distribution agendas will fade. Whether progressives like it or not, the elites need to help make the push for wealth distribution. It goes nowhere when "I" get scared that the world won't give me more anytime soon.

  3. Massive doses of fiscal stimulus/policy, which are typical dem talking points, will be killed by Repubs jumping on board during C19. Not much of a talking point on a debate stage to say "Oh I was ready to do 7 stim packages, but you only did 6!". Weak talking point.

  4. Healthcare won't actually be taken over by the gov. It will simply highlight that there are more pressing supply chain issues and preparedness problems and those will take priority over universal coverage initiatives.

  5. Climate change will take a back seat and seem like a silly waste of money/time with a pandemic looming over head. Not to mention... We can't get xx% of society on board with the seriousness of a virus that causes immediate deaths (100K+ now!). How will we ever get people on board with climate change?

Apr 19, 2021 - 4:00pm

Covid-19 is the beginning of the end of the American experiment.

It laid bare that the Constitution is subordinate to the whims of terrified people; it vastly increased the public debt and, worst of all, the debt has gotten so bad that it is now just a statistic on a spreadsheet and the public is desensitized to not just huge annual deficits, but to gargantuan holes in the budget, so into the future spending is going to snowball out of control. The animosity between the two sides is similar to the 1840s--it's spiraling out of control. In the next 20-30 years we're headed toward civil war or very acrimonious dissolution of the republic in a fashion similar to Brexit. It just takes one of the 50 states to fire the first proverbial (possibly literal) shot of independence (it could be California, it could be Idaho--impossible to predict) and the whole thing collapses. In 20-30 years when the two sides are practically pulling guns on each other, the deteriorating fiscal situation, crumbling infrastructure, and out of control crime will push the public over the edge. Another pandemic that puts the country into lockdown in, say, 2035 will be unaffordable to the debt-burdened nation and it will send the dollar into a collapse, which might push the public over the edge.

You'll be able to trace the beginning of the end to around 2020 when the nation wiped its proverbial ass with the Bill of Rights and finally cut loose any semblance at all of fiscal restraint. It's a mathematical certainty that the fiscal insanity will eventually catch up to us. 

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Apr 20, 2021 - 3:58pm

Interesting points- I feel like there are many different 'Americas' (depending on which region you live), which all have completely different culture/values.  Previously, everyone disagreed, but we all share common American values.  Now, you got people who want to completely dismantle the systems that made America the successful country it is in the first place. 

I can see the states splitting up. Perhaps there will be an EU-type nation, where each state has more independence and laws despite having a unified military/monetary system. 

But I do not see a violent civil war erupting.  However, you never know because there were a lot of events that have happened in the past year which I did not foresee.  

The fiscal responsibility adds onto this- the excess money printing HAS to catch up to us at some point.  It makes no sense that a nation can just print out money with no consequences. Even worse, the GOP has cut off its libertarian wing and turned into a quasi-liberal spending party.  Politically, it makes sense- who doesn't want free money? But it has to catch up to us sometime

Apr 20, 2021 - 4:32pm

Although I think it's a lower probability scenario than a generally peaceful break, I can absolutely envision a violent civil war. Imagine if one state or a group of states slapped a trade embargo onto a state or states that it disagreed with on [insert policy]. Imagine if one state or a group of states restricted travel of citizens of a certain state. Those are open acts of war and something we've already seen attempted as best as is allowed (e.g., banning gov't employees from conferences and travel to states with [insert policy dispute] and corporate boycotts).

I actually don't really see how it's possible to have a dissolved nation living peacefully side-by-side and trading in good faith in a libertarian live-and-let-live fashion. If we had that level of federalism and libertarianism now we wouldn't have such problems. I think it's possible the only way the group of states can move forward is with military victory and occupation. Do you have any faith that independent California wouldn't block its food from getting into Utah? I have little faith in the cooperation of the states in a post-USA world.

Array

Apr 25, 2021 - 10:22pm

I like your takes quite a bit on this site but gotta disagree with the notion of a second civil war. While tensions are high and stuff you said is not incorrect, I think the divide between people in this country is not summed up by states. You won't see stuff like the northeast going to war with the midwest, etc. I think the division is so much more granular than state-by-state. Look at how people in cities in states vote versus rural areas. Look at Texas. Look at how all the cities went blue, but the areas outside went red. This is a red state example, but then look at New York. NYC, Buffalo, Albany go blue, but still, a lot of areas were red. I just don't see civil conflict because I find it very hard for it to occur on a state level, and therefore it cannot truly be organized. This isn't a state to state thing, or a north south thing. The battle lines aren't between states or fledgling independent nations, but rather through neighborhoods, towns, and even families. Thats why I don't see it happening.

Dayman?
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Apr 25, 2021 - 10:30pm

I'm not saying it's going to be a clean war between the states, just that the deepest red or blue areas are prone to taking the first shot. A 2nd civil war is going to be a war for control of the nation where neighbor will literally kill neighbor (a New Yorker will kill a New Yorker, a Georgian will kill a Georgian) in a bid for control over the military--if the Right wins that battle, it will be a quick war as the Left has no guns; if the Left wins the battle for the military, the war becomes a lot longer as the Right is saturated with arms.

History may not repeat but it definitely rhymes. 

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  • Analyst 1 in S&T - Equities
Apr 19, 2021 - 4:16pm

Masks and other mandates including restrictions on businesses and personal liberties indefinitely, especially in liberal cities. The precedent that was set here that constitutional rights along with the right to have a job, a business, etc can be discarded when something is deemed an emergency is not going away. Government overreach was sped up by 10-20 years and broadly welcomed by American society. 

One of the most lasting effects will be a larger permanent underclass of people who lost their jobs later in life and will probably not be hired back or were already on the edge of poverty and will slip into long-term unemployment/withdrawal from the labor force. The destruction of large cities was also sped up considerably by pols torpedoing their local economies, allowing crime to grow unchecked...you will continue to see outflows from places like NYC

  • VP in IB - Ind
Apr 19, 2021 - 4:33pm

Not giving a shit about anyone but oneself with an understanding that there will be little to no consequences for brazen lack of empathy

Apr 19, 2021 - 5:07pm

I'd add the permanent loss of credibility for the "pro-life' movement who were the very same people screaming to open up the country while shoo-shooing 3k people dying a day...

you didn't make good choices; you had good choices

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Apr 19, 2021 - 5:33pm

Alt-Ctr-Left

I'd add the permanent loss of credibility for the "pro-life' movement who were the very same people screaming to open up the country while shoo-shooing 3k people dying a day...

While suicides, drug overdoses, and murder among young people skyrocketed, we successfully extended the lives of people in nursing homes by 8 months and did so with the earnings of future unborn generations. Congrats on being "pro-life."

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Apr 26, 2021 - 10:13am

Suicides have actually decreased during the pandemic despite the toll on everyone's mental health. Drug overdoses and murders have gone down as well. Not sure where you are getting your data from. 

Most Helpful
  • Analyst 1 in S&T - Equities
Apr 19, 2021 - 6:56pm

For this argument to work, you need to prove a positive correlation between lockdowns and lives saved. It has just become so lazy to blurt this stuff out and act like there is zero nuance to it. The burden of proof should be on those who are calling for and enacting lockdowns and other measures, not the other way around. We are over a year in and even at a high level your assertion doesn't pass the smell test. Texas removed mask mandate along with any other measures and cases have gone down considerably. I know the exact retorts you will make, but it will still be fun to watch the mental gymnastics you will employ to try to get around this. It will either be that or you won't engage at all because at this point there is nothing that supports lockdowns as an effective measure.

Are you really going to sit here and argue for states like Florida and Texas to take the approach that NYC, Michigan, and other failure states took?

CDC COVID Data Tracker

------------------------------------

7 day MA cases (per 100k):

Michigan (1st in country): 485.2

New York City (8th in country): 218.1

.......

......

......

Texas (34th in country): 71.7

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------

How about case count overall since last Jan? Again per 100k

New Jersey (13th in country): 11,020

New York City (14th in country): 10,804

......

.....

.....

Florida (25th in country): 9,909

Texas: 9,800

-----------------------------------------------

How about deaths, since Jan 2020? Per 100k

New York City (highest number in country): 382

New Jersey (number 2 in country): 283

.........

.......

......

Florida (29th in country): 160

Further...no one "killed" anyone. The median age of someone who died while being COVID+ in the United States was 78 years old (per CDC see below). This means that they were born in 1943. A male in the US-born in 1943 has a life expectancy of 71.4. You can also thank places like NYC (that took the exact approach you are advocating for) for making up the bulk of the mortality numbers in the United States, especially in the older demographic. 

Characteristics of Persons Who Died with COVID-19 - United States, February 12–May 18, 2020 | MMWR (cdc.gov)

  • Prospect in RE - Comm
Apr 24, 2021 - 10:28am

These are all good points and ones that I've been sharing with various people as well. One thing I'd like to pushback on and see if you have any thoughts on is the density of various states and how that may impact covid rates and deaths (e.g. New York having much higher population density than Texas). Perhaps that is an exogenous variable in the equation of why Texas is doing better than NY. Not saying for sure, but if this was debunked it'd really sell your argument. I don't necessarily have data to back this up, but would like to hear your thoughts.

Apr 25, 2021 - 5:48pm

I'm not arguing with you but Id like to see tests completed and positivity rates shown alongside cases per 100k data whenever possible

Again, not arguing here, but what if Florida and Texas (using your example) were testing way fewer per capita than the other states?

Regardless, the data is still compelling and counter to what MSM likes to jam down our throats.

  • Analyst 1 in S&T - Equities
Apr 24, 2021 - 1:35pm

Rich coming from a member of the most misinformed group of people in the United States on the topic of COVID. This is NYT/Gallup and the "what are your chances of dying" is even worse. There are many studies like it. Empiraclly, your party is absolutely lost on this topic. 

la

Apr 28, 2021 - 7:01pm

Uh Bro, that data isn't actually worth very much, you notice how there is a common trend between each percentage interval based on each party, I just did some pretty basic statistical analysis and the difference between parties isn't statically significant as it has a p-value >> 0.05. Also, stating "they are absolutely lost" on COVID and only using one weak study doesn't prove much. Look at all the actual republican policies not based on science. For example, masks. 23% of republicans say masks should rarely if ever be worn, compared to 4% of democrats (pew). We all know that masks work and are incredibly effective, we have know it for 100+ years, so why isn't the not "lost" party choosing to wear them?

  • Analyst 2 in IB - Gen
Apr 20, 2021 - 1:32am

I don't see large, liberal cities going back to normal for years to come. I used to go to work via a densely packed train, and I just don't see how that can happen again by the end of this year (especially in flu season) when half of our nation has been conditioned to fear the sound of a cough within a square mile.

Apr 20, 2021 - 1:10pm

I don't see large, liberal cities going back to normal for years to come. I used to go to work via a densely packed train, and I just don't see how that can happen again by the end of this year (especially in flu season) when half of our nation has been conditioned to fear the sound of a cough within a square mile.

I'm invested very personally in the robotaxi business. I'm hoping this change in psychology is good for me. 

Array

Apr 23, 2021 - 10:19am

Pre-covid there was always at least one person coughing and sneezing the entire way (and I was one of those people at least once a year).... I can't imagine us going back to that. Right now if you have a cough or a sniffle you aren't allowed into a public space or business, in the future it could mean forced quarantine. Things are accelerating.

Apr 20, 2021 - 7:58am

I think self-reliance is going to be a much bigger part of people's lives. In the beginning we got a first-hand look of just how fragile society is and people you never thought would want to buy a gun, generator, home outside an urban area, canned foods, etc. started to buy some of those things. 

Apr 25, 2021 - 9:16pm

I think that's definitely going to extend to nations and supply chains too. We can already see it with rare earths production in China. Leading up to WWII it's important to note that the Germans tried to be as self-reliant as possible. Not saying WWIII is right around the corner, but whenever nations have tried to be more self-reliant has tended to lead to all kinds of conflicts.

Quant (ˈkwänt) n: An expert, someone who knows more and more about less and less until they know everything about nothing.

Apr 21, 2021 - 1:30pm

Politically a lot has been said and I don't really want to rehash it, but I agree that society is extremely fractured. Somehow, basic concepts like masks and vaccines became political issues for the right, and basic concepts of policing, socializing, and keeping businesses open became political issues for the left. I'm very bearish on US society as a result.

After working entirely from home for over a year in investment banking, nobody can tell me or my team that we can't work flexibly. We literally achieved an entire year of pitches and live deals without ever seeing each other. Although many want to return to the office for efficiency reasons, I think the demand for flexibility is here to stay, which will manifest itself in the evenings and weekends, as well as client meetings.

I'm somewhat hopeful that general public health awareness will improve after the pandemic. For example, people will be better at washing their hands and I won't see people leave the stall in public restrooms and walk straight out the door anymore. That and slightly more intelligent social distancing in public could help to reduce many diseases other than Covid, which could have a net positive impact.

Be excellent to each other, and party on, dudes.
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  • Analyst 1 in S&T - Equities
Apr 23, 2021 - 2:03pm

The awareness that could have became from this won't be realized. If we look at the commonality of the vast majority of those who were hospitalized or unfortunately died we see that obesity, diabetes, and lack of vitamin D are very pronounced. One of the takeaways should be that your general health is extremely influential in what will happen to you if you become sick with XYZ. The takeaways from COVID will be to wear a mask. It isn't even socially acceptable to say that obesity is unhealthy. 

Apr 23, 2021 - 2:13pm

Yes, it's a maddening conclusion that society has reached. Actually we are going the opposite direction of health as we champion "body positivity" which is something that sounds great until you realize it's a euphemism for socially redefining obese people as oppressed people. 

Be excellent to each other, and party on, dudes.
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Apr 25, 2021 - 9:18pm

Synergy_or_Syzygy

I won't see people leave the stall in public restrooms and walk straight out the door anymore.

I really fucking hope so.

Quant (ˈkwänt) n: An expert, someone who knows more and more about less and less until they know everything about nothing.

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  • Analyst 1 in AM - Equities
Apr 25, 2021 - 7:47pm

hell no. Atleast in the US, young women's bodycounts have never been higher. It's going to be hard to find quality marriage material when half the girls are either overweight or slept with 100+ dudes before reaching 30

  • Intern in PE - Other
Apr 24, 2021 - 1:21pm

I will echo sentiment that has already been posted above. The pandemic only highlighted how many rights people are willing to give up on top of mass-surveillance from the Patriot-Act post 9/11. Our president and many career politicians have still somehow been in power since they actively trafficked drugs to inner cities and signed trade deals that destroy the middle class. 

I see no difference between the government and organized crime families. Apparently the government can infect a community with syphillis, traffic drugs to inner cities to fund foreign conflicts, conspire to assassinate social justice leaders, etc. For whatever reason, citizens are somehow okay with letting the government do blatantly illegal shit without someone arrested or even losing their job. When they prosecute crime organizations, they go after everyone associated. Why can't we prosecute the criminals in the government and the ones that turned a blind eye to all the criminal shit? Now the government shuts down your business and tells you to not go outside or hang out with your friends? Why? Because the fat people that neglected their health for their entire life can be safer? 

Now we're supposed to trust them taking away our guns, guarantee us healthcare, give us all UBI to keep our mouths shut? 

It absolutely blows my mind how many rights people are willing to give up to the government that routinely lets down the citizens and abuses power. 

  • Analyst 1 in S&T - Equities
Apr 24, 2021 - 8:06pm

Yes, with people I like. Don't see the need to shake hands with fringe people anymore. 

Apr 26, 2021 - 10:09am

Yea man we can't let handshakes die off. Up to us to keep them going

Go all the way

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Apr 24, 2021 - 4:11pm

Just saw this and will add some random thoughts.

Things that will never go away

  • Pax Americana is over.  While I did not vote for "orange man bad" either time, he was the last ditch effort to end our final transition from a Federal Republic to a Socialist Democracy..  The Overton Window has swung too far and will not reset for a long time.  When Joe Manchin (and I like Joe) and Krysten Sinema are your last bastion of hope.  We are in trouble.
  • Americans have gotten so lazy when it comes to voting, that we deserve the fact that the last election was stolen.  Before all you naysayers come out, remember I did not vote for him.
  • The last bastion of hope to avoid the New World Order is America...and we are getting torn apart at the seams by the elites and ESPECIALLY the media.  The media is simply the lap dog of the deep state.  They tell the sheeple what to think and what to believe and they blindly follow.  The loss of critical reasoning, which used to be taught at our public schools is one and replaced with critical race theory.  Look at the stories coming out of Canada and England.
  • Americans used to fight.  Frankly, I used to fight much more than I do now.  If there was twitter and you tube back in my day, I would have been that guy.  Now, its isolationism at best.  All I hope for is to retire, teach my kids critical thinking, have them read the classics and hope for the best.
  • Snowflakes are now in control and think they can tell you what to do.  They permeate all levels of society and government and think they know best.  Don't go out, take your vaccine, don't get too close, you're a racist, "you didn't build that", I know what's best for your child , you need a vaccine passport (trashing HIPPA laws) etc.
  • They are going to use executive fiat to enact policy and the old checks and balances system is slipping away.
  • We are bankrupt, both monetarily and socially as a nation.
  • The boot stepping on our faces will continue.
  • CRE is dying.  Slowly.
  • Big cities are dying.  Slowly.
  • Americans will continue to not trust each other and to let the media pick the next set of victims.
  • Mask hysteria and hype

Things that will go away

  • Our standard to living.
  • Caring about other people on a deeper level.
  • Covid cures that cost $10 for a treatment that has 50 years of data.  Now we have "thousand Dollar jabs" with no data.
  • Our freedoms.
  • Karen not multiplying like cockroaches
  • Letting our children fail.
  • Peaceful Protests like Selma.  Now? Social unrest. Well funded violence.  Cops are targeted.
  • Joe Biden.  Kamala Harris as President in five months.

Sorry to be so dark today, it has been a long week and I am still trying to catch up on all the crap I have to do.

Namaste.

D.O.U.G.

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Apr 26, 2021 - 9:40am

Sure.  

As brick and mortar stores continue to see margins get squeezed from decreases in product pricing, rising wages, stimmy checks keeping people on their couch, a WFH culture (I've got 15% who will never go back), sustained violence, looting in most cities and increases in rents.  We will extend our "Mall porn" fascination to other Commercial real estate assets like the strip mall and the small doctors offices.  Their decline is going to crush that segment of the market.  No one wants to go to a third tier mall anymore due to a diminishing product and decreasing safety. Fewer folks are going to the local strip malls to hit every store.  The anchor store of a TJ Maxx or Marshalls?  What are he other ten stores?  Nail Salons?  Sure.  Is the small independent "family" doctor going to make it much longer?  Probably not.  They will be joining the mega-health centers instead.

Real life examples?  Go to any mall in central New Jersey, other than Short Hills and Bridgewater and tell me what you think.  Drive down Route 22 or Route 10 and notice all the shops closing.  See the expansion in Summit Medical Group and the number of doctors who join every year abandoning their own practice

To be fair areas that will survive will be major cities landmark buildings, tech cities who need more space, standalone food establishments, and major medical centers.  However, overall CRE is dying while Industrial and Residential are screaming.  Nice suburbs?  Lots of good commercial opportunities. Anywhere else?  Looks like a very tough road to hoe.

Again, just my two cents.

Namaste.

D.O.U.G.

  • Analyst 1 in S&T - Equities
Apr 24, 2021 - 8:03pm

These kinds of posts/discussions give me mixed emotions. Happy to know I'm not crazy, but sad to think that we're probably right. 

Apr 26, 2021 - 7:40pm

It's proven that conservatives are afraid by nature, it's literally in the definition so reading this  thread makes me laugh.  Ya'll need to go out more and look at this thread 10 years from now. I'm sure there are posts from 10 years ago predicting a civil war because Obama was president.  The so called shift to socialist democracy is is tenuous at best- literally one dude in the senate can kill any bill. At the same time republican prospects for the house  in 2022 are great and the just released census numbers confirmed that. So this most progressive change of the country since LBJ is unlikely to be lasting. One could argue some things will be picked up by republicans if they actually wanted to govern since their constituents support it (infrastructure, child care, etc) but I doubt it. Not a peep from most of these so called fiscal hawks here when Trump and Co blew up the deficit and we did not even hit a measly 3% GDP growth from it.

And oh how can we forget the supreme court which will have a conservative majority for likely 15-20 years, let's be real anything that is profoundly long lasting or results in fundamental change will be litigated.. and who's side the judges will take? This point may actually create extreme social and political upheaval, especially if judges decide to go against the general sentiment of the public. But they are politicians at heart as well and likely will skate by somehow.

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