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How the recovery will happen

How the recovery will happen

  • Updated

I know how the recovery will happen.

Call it a crystal ball if you want, but it’s here in plain sight. We’re all human, and our humanity always comes forward in a crisis. The economics is simple. The Expenditure method simply says: “One person’s expenditure is another person’s income.” When we all stop spending, we all stop earning. The flow of money grinds to a halt, and we enter a Depression.

This is different. It’s temporary. Many people are still working from home, and still earning a salary. We’re just not allowed to go out and spend it at restaurants and for travel.

This too shall pass. And once it does, the world will not be the same. We have lived in a bubble of self that pops in a catastrophe. Suddenly, we feel for others. We know people who are in pain, and afraid for their future. A natural desire to help comes to the fore. Our care for each other is showing up in our bonds on social media. Look at the humor and creativity pouring out of every household. We stay in touch with far-flung family. We no longer take our friendships and connections for granted.

“Our prime purpose in this life is to help others” -- The Dalai Lama.

We may be at war, but our infrastructure is intact. Our only enemy is an invisible molecule. Once the “war” is over, we can start our subways and elevators again. Sure, there will be losses, like restaurants that won’t open again. Things will be different when the storm clears. Who knows, there may be a new awareness of environmental issues. Perhaps less of a desire to go back to destructive elements of “business as usual.”

I predict that once we can go out again, we are going to feel a strong desire to help our friends. Restaurants we love, businesses that have a warm place in our hearts. We will feel a rush of kindness, and a wish to help them recover. We will start to spend time locally. Instead of dreaming of a world vacation, we will want to stay close to home and re-invest in our community. This crisis will pull us out of our selfish desires, and bring out our truer selves; altruism.

You may call it a wish to return to normal, but it’s more than that. We have all faced the unknown. We have seen the possible loss of all that we love, and we will develop a wish to save the things that are dear to us, and have meaning to us. Thomas Keller created a funding site to help his 1,000 employees during the depth of the crisis. Our first thought is to those who may be really struggling. As we watch the economy shut down, we ask ourselves, “How can I help?”

What can we do? I think administrators have missed a great resource; the Can-Do spirit of the American people. There is a surge of mask-making among those who heard the call. A shortage of masks for the vulnerable. This is something we can all do. Thousands of home sewers have answered that call -- even without being specifically asked.

And after the crisis? What can we do as our part to restart the economy? I know there will be an outpouring of generosity. I run an inn in Napa, and I know there are thousands of guests who are concerned for our well-being and are already dreaming of their next trip to make sure we’re OK. They want to see their beloved memories are safe, and their favorite retreat is secure. It will be through this kind of patronage that our institutions survive.

Our economy will thrive again, and each of us will seek meaningful employment. Nothing will be taken for granted for a good long while.

Bless you all. Every person’s expenditure will be another person’s income.

Mike Smith


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