It’s hard to be an optimist these days. The health pandemic is taking lives and the economic crisis is closing businesses. Not much to cheer about here. In fact, it seems rude to be upbeat.
Yet in spite of these hardships, here are three reasons to be excited about a post-COVID world.
Make no mistake: the COVID crisis is tragic. The human and economic suffering will be the worst we’ve known in modern times. More losses are coming. There will be no V-shaped recovery.
Still, if we allow ourselves a moment’s luxury to think positively, good things are on the horizon. A nudge to embrace productivity-enhancing cyber technologies, a chance to ignite the power of community, and a crash course in creativity and innovation — these are the positives that will pave the path to the future.
There’s no way to sugar-coat it: the COVID-19 pandemic is certain to be the world’s single worst downturn in modern history. For Alberta, it will be doubly bad because A) it’s hitting the energy sector extremely hard, and B) we’re going into the downturn with an economy that’s already severely compromised.
The reality is that in terms of the contraction in the size of the economy, Alberta is likely to see the worst year since the Great Depression of the 1930s. The unemployment rate could hit 20% or higher. All of that draws to mind the images from the Depression of people going hungry, living in dusty shacks, and wearing dirty and tattered clothes.
As bad as the economy is about to tank, we don’t need to worry about those images becoming reality in 2020. There are three reasons why.
All of this may be cold comfort for Albertans who are facing joblessness and worrying prospects today. They wonder when — or if — their job will ever return. It will be painful, there is no doubt. And while comparisons to the 1930s may be correct with respect to the size of the economic contraction, we need not fear the levels of poverty and destitution that marked The Great Depression.