Michel Ouellette / Joseph Michael Dennis, is a former attorney, a Trial Scientist, a Crisis & Reputation Management Expert, a Public Affairs & Corporate Communications Specialist, a Warrior for Common Sense and Free Speech.
When you are weaker than your opponent, there is nothing to be gained by fighting a useless fight. Know how to pick your battles. Fighting a loss fight gives you nothing to gain but pain and martyrdom, and, in the process, a lot of people who do not believe in your fight, who do not believe in your cause will be injured, and possibly even die. Weakness is not a sin, and can even become a strength if you master the art of playing it right. Fortunes changes and the mightiest of the mightiest are often brought down. In appropriate times and circumstances, playing the card of “surrender” may conceal great power. Playing the surrender card often lull your opponent into complacency. It provides you the time to recoup, time to undermine and time to plan your revenge. Never sacrifice that time in exchange for honor in a battle that you cannot win.
Keep this in mind: People trying to make a show of their authority are easily deceived by the surrender strategy. Your outward sign of submission makes them feel important. Satisfied that you respect them, they become easier targets for a later counterattack. Measuring your power overtime, never sacrifice long-term maneuverability for the short-lived glories of martyrdom.
What gets us into trouble in the realm of success, power and quest for influence is often our own overreaction to the moves of our rivals. That overreaction creates problems we would have avoided have we been more reasonable. It also has an endless rebound effect, for our rivals to respond by overreacting as well. It is often our first instinct to react, to meet aggression with some kind of aggression. The next time it happens to you, try something different: Try not to resist, not to fight back, but to turn the other cheek and bend. You may be surprise to find this often neutralizes the aggressive behavior of your opponents; they expected you, even wanted you to react with force and they are now caught off-guard and confounded by your lack of resistance. You are now in control of the situation because your surrender is part of a larger plan to lull your opponent into believing he has defeated you.
This is the essence of the surrender strategy: Inwardly you stay firm, but outwardly you bend. Deprived of a reason to get angry, your opponent will often be bewildered, unlikely to react with more violence, which would, again, demand a reaction from you. Instead, you are allowed the time and space to plan your countermoves that will bring your opponent down. In the battle of the intelligent against the brutal and the aggressive, the surrender strategy is the supreme weapon. The surrender strategy requires self-control and duplicity. Those who genuinely surrender are giving up their freedom and may be irremediably crushed by the humiliation of their defeat. What you want to do is: To only appear to surrender, to make believe, to play dead for a while only to come back stronger later on.
Yes, indeed, in certain circumstances, it can be better to surrender than to fight. Faced with a more powerful opponent and a sure defeat, it is often also better to surrender than facing a defeat or having to run away. Running away is never an option. Running away may save you for the time being, but your opponent will eventually catch up with you. If you surrender, instead, you are creating an opportunity to coil around your opponent and, in due time, to strike all fangs out from close up.
The point of surrendering is to save your hide for a later date when you can reassert yourself.
“If you allow people to feel they possess you to any degree, you lose all power on them. Stay aloof and you gain the power that comes from their attention and frustrated desire. Play the Virgin Queen: Give them hope but never satisfaction.”
Since success and power depends greatly on appearances, you have to learn to enhance your image and consistently maintain and enhance it. Refusing to commit to a person or group is one way to do it. When you hold yourself back, you incur some kind of respect. You instantly seem powerful because you make yourself ungraspable. This aura of power only grows with time. As your reputation for independence grows, more and more people will come to desire you, wanting to be the one who gets you to commit. Desire is like a virus: If we see that someone is desired by people, we tend to find this person desirable. The moment you commit, the magic is gone; you become like everyone else. Encourage the attention, stimulate people’s interest, but never commit. Never allow yourself to inadvertently allow yourself to feel obligated to anyone.
The goal is not to put people off, or to make it seem that you are incapable of commitment. The goal is to lure people with the possibility of having you. Stir the pot, excite interest, but never go to far. If you aspire to success, power and influence, put yourself in the middle between competing powers. Lure one side with the promise of your help and, the other side, always wanting to outdo its opponents, adversaries and enemies, will pursue you as well. As each side vies for your attention, you will immediately seem a person of great influence and desirability. To perfect this strategy, you need yourself inwardly free from emotional entanglements, and to view all those around you as your pawns in your rise to the top. Never allow yourself to become the lackey for any cause. People who rush to the support of others tend to gain little respect in the process, for their help is so easily obtained. Those who stand back find themselves besieged with supplicants. Their aloofness is powerful, and everyone wants them on their side.
“Do not commit yourself to anybody or anything, for that is to be a slave to every man.”
Once you step into a fight, that is not one of your choosing, you lose all initiative. The combatants’ interests become your interests and you become their tools. Control yourself, restrain your natural tendency to take sides and join the fight. Be friendly and charming to each of the combatants, then, step back as they collide. With every battle, they will only grow weaker while you will be growing stronger with every battle you avoid and will have avoided.
To succeed in the game of life, in the infinite game of life, in the infinite game of success, power and influence, you have to master your emotions. But even with such self-control, you can never control the temperamental dispositions of those around you. Most people operate in a whirlpool of emotions, constantly reacting, churning up squabbles and conflicts. Your self-control and autonomy only bother and infuriate them. They try to draw you into their whirlpool of emotions, begging you to take sides in their endless battles, or to make peace for them. If you succumb to their emotional entreaties, little by little, you will find your mind and time occupied by their problems. Never allow whatever compassion and pity you may have to suck you in in such situations. You would never win at this game; the conflicts can only multiply.
On the other hand, you cannot completely stand aside, for what would cause needless offense. To play the game of life, the infinite game of life, the infinite game of success power and influence properly, you must seem interested in other’s people problems and conflicts, even sometimes, depending and according to circumstances, appear to take their side. In such situations, while making outward gestures of support, you must make sure to maintain your inner energy and sanity by keeping your emotions disengaged. No matter how hard people try to pull you in, never let your interest in their affairs and petty squabbles go beyond the surface. By refusing to commit and thus maintaining your autonomy, you retain the initiative of the game. Your moves stay matters of your own choosing, not defensive reactions to the push-and-pull of those around you. Slowness to pick up your weapons can be a weapon itself, especially if you let other people exhaust themselves fighting and then, take advantage of their exhaustion.
Holding back from the fray allows you time to position yourself to take advantage of the situation once one side stars to lose. You can also take the game a step further, by promising your support to both sides in a conflict while maneuvering so that the one to cone out ahead in the struggle is you. Preserving your autonomy gives you option when people comes to blow; you can play the mediator, broker the peace, while really securing your own interests. You can pledge support to one side and the other may have to court you with a higher bid. Or, you can appear to take both sides, then play the antagonists against each other.
Oftentimes, when a conflict breaks out, you are tempted to side with the stronger party, or the one who offers you apparent advantages in an alliance. This is risky business. First, it is often difficult to foresee which side will prevail in the long run. Even if you guess it right and ally yourself with the stronger party, you may find yourself swallowed up and lost, or conveniently forgotten, when they become victors. Side with the weaker, on the other hand, and you are doomed. Play a waiting game and you cannot lose. You will never lose.
Only fools rush into a situation. By committing too quickly, you lose your manoeuverability and also lose respect. Since you gave yourself so fast and so easily, thinking that tomorrow you may commit to another side or different cause, people distrust you and respect you less. Early commitment to one side or a cause deprives you of the advantage of time and the luxury of waiting. Let others fall for one group or that; for your part, do not rush in, do not lose your head, control yourself.
Also, there are occasions and circumstances when it is wisest to drop all pretence of appearing supportive and instead to trumpet your independence and self-reliance. This is particularly important when you need to gain respect. You have only so much energy and so much time. Every moment wasted on the affairs of others subtracts from your strength. You may be afraid that people will condemn you as heartless, but in the end, maintaining your independence and self-reliance will gain you more respect and place you in a position of power from which you can choose to help others on your own initiative.
The game, the non-commitment strategy proposed here shall never be pushed too far. It may turn against you if you take it too far. If you play too many parties against one another, they will see through your maneuver and gang up on you. If you keep your growing number of suitors waiting too long, you will end up inspiring distrust rather than desire. People will start to lose interest. Eventually, only for the sake of safeguarding appearances, you may find it worthwhile to commit to one side.
Even then, however, the key will be to maintain your inner independence, to keep yourself from getting emotionally involved. Preserve your unspoken option of being able to jump ship at any moment and reclaim your freedom if the side you are allied with starts to collapse. The friends you made while you where being courted will give you plenty of places to go once you jump ship.
This is the fate that faces us when we sympathize with our enemies, when pity, or hope of reconciliation, makes us pull back from doing away with them: We only strengthen their fear and hatred of us. We have beaten them, and they are humiliated; yet, we nurture these resentful vipers who, one day, if provided with the opportunity, would not hesitate to kill us. This is all truer with a former friend who has become an enemy. The law governing fatal antagonisms reads as follow: “Reconciliation is out of the question; only one side can win, and one must win totally.”
“Those who seek to achieve things, to achieve success and acquire power should show no mercy.”
“Crush the enemy” is a key strategic tenet of the game of life, the infinite game of life, the infinite game of success and power. The essence of this tenet is as follow: All your enemies, without exception, wish you hill. There is nothing they want more than to eliminate you from the race. If, in your struggles with them, out of mercy or hope of reconciliation, you stop halfway you only make them more determined, more embittered, and providing them with the opportunity for, someday, take revenge. They may act friendly for the time being, but this is only because you defeated them. They have no other choice but to bide their time. There is only one remedy to such a situation: Have no mercy. Crush your enemies as totally as they would not crush you. Ultimately, the only peace and security you can hope for, from your enemies, or competitors, is their disappearance.
In the game of life, in the infinite game of life, in the infinite game of success and power, in your struggle to build and live the life of your dreams, in your struggle for success and power, you inevitably stir up rivalries and create enemies. There will always be people you cannot win over, who will remain your enemies no matter what. But whatever wound you inflicted on them, deliberately or not, do not take their hatred personally. Just recognize the fact that there is, or may be, no possibility of peace, of reconciliation between you, especially as long as you stay at the top of the game. If you let them stick around, as certainly as night follows day, they will seek revenge. With an enemy like this around, you will never be secure and, for you, to wait for them to show their cards would just be silly. In defeating your enemies, never go halfway.
Never going hallway when defeating your enemies should very rarely be ignored, but there are circumstances when it is better to let your enemies and adversaries destroy themselves. When such a thing is possible, this alternative is preferable than to make them suffer by your hand. When you have someone in the ropes, but only when you are sure they have no chance of recovery, let them hang themselves. Let them be the agents of their own destruction. The result will be the same as for you totally annihilating them but you will not feel half as bad.
Remember, sometimes by crushing an enemy or adversary, you may embitter them so much that they will spend years plotting a revenge. Never let your guard down and, if this happen, if they plot revenge years later, simply crush them again.
In the game of life, the infinite game of life, the infinite game of success and power, leave nothing to chance. What is the point of winging it, of just hoping you may be able to charm this or that client? It is like shooting ducks blindfolded. Arm yourself with a little knowledge and your aim will improve.
In the realm of success and power, your goal is to acquire a certain degree of control over future events and circumstances. Part of the problem you face, then, is that most people will not confide and tell you anything about their thoughts, emotions and plans. Controlling what people say and are telling you, they often keep the most critical parts of their character, their weaknesses, flaws, ulterior motives and/or obsessions, hidden from you. The result: You cannot predict their moves and are constantly in the dark. To remediate this situation, you have to find a way to probe them, to find out their secrets and hidden intentions, without letting them know what you are up to.
This may not be as difficult as you may think. A friendly front will let you secretly gather information on friends and enemies alike. Another way is to spy on your friends and enemies. The method is simple, powerful, but risky: You will certainly gather intelligence, but you have very little control over the people, the spies doing the work for you. Perhaps will they ineptly reveal your spying, or even secretly turn against you. It is far better to spy yourself, to pose as a friend while secretly gathering information.
During social gatherings and innocuous encounters, pay attention. This is when most people have their guards down. By suppressing your own personality, you can make them reveal things. The brilliance of this strategy is that they will mistake your interest in them for friendship. You are not only gathering intelligence, you are making allies.
Nevertheless, use this type of maneuver with caution and care. If people begin to suspect you are worming secrets out of them under the cover of conversation, they will strictly avoid you. Emphasise friendly chatter, not valuable information. Your search for valuable information cannot be too obvious, or your probing questions will reveal more about yourself and your intentions than about the intelligence you hope to find.
One effective way to do your spying is to pretend to bare your heart to the person you are spying on. By doing so, you make that person more likely to reveal his or her own secrets. Give people a false confession and they will give you a real one. Another effective strategy would be to vehemently contradict people you are in conversation with as a way of irritating them, stirring them up so that they lose some of the control over their words. In their emotional reaction they will reveal all kinds of truths about themselves, truths you can later use against them.
Another method of indirect spying is to test people, to lay little traps that make them reveal things about themselves. By tempting people into certain acts, you learn about their loyalty, their honesty, and so on. This kind of knowledge about people is often the most valuable of all: Armed with it, you can predict their actions in the future.
“In the land of the two-eyed, the third eye of the spy gives you the omniscience of the gods. You see further than others, and you see deeper into them.”
Intelligence is critical to success and power, but just as you spy on other people, you must be prepared for them to spy on you. One of the most potent weapons and defensive move in the battle for intelligence is giving out false information. By planting the information of your choice, you control the game.
In your quest for success and power, you will constantly find yourself in the position of asking for help from more powerful than you. There is an art for asking for help, an art that depends on your ability to understand the person you are dealing with, and not to confuse your needs with theirs.
Most people will never master this art because they are completely trapped in their own wants and desires. They start from the assumption that the people they are appealing to, have a selfless interest in helping them. They talk as if their needs mattered to those people, people who probably could not care less. Sometimes, they refer to larger issues: A great cause or grand emotions such as love and gratitude. They go for the big picture when simple, everyday realities would have much more appeal. What they do not realize is that even the most powerful persons are locked inside needs of their own, and that if you make no appeal to their self-interests, they merely see you as desperate or, at best, a waste of time.
“The shortest and best way to make your fortune is to let people see clearly that it is in their interests to promote yours.”
Some people will see an appeal to their self-interest as ugly an ignoble. They would actually prefer to be able to exercise charity, mercy, and justice, which are their ways of feeling superior to you. When you beg them for help, you emphasise their power and status. They are powerful and successful enough to need nothing from you except the chance to feel superior. They are dying to fund your project, to introduce you to powerful people, provided of course, that all this would be done in public and for a good cause. Usually, the more public, the better. Not everyone, then, can be approached through cynical self-interest. Some people will be put off by it because they do not want to seem to be only motivated by such a public display. For those who are interested in such a display of public generosity, they need opportunities to genuinely and generously display their good heart.
Do not be shy, give them that opportunity. It is not as if you are cunning them by asking for help. It is really their pleasure to give and to be seen giving. Just remember: You must distinguish the differences among successful and powerful people and figure out what makes them tick. When they ooze greed, do not appeal to their charity. When they want to look charitable and noble, do not appeal to their greed.
The essence of deception is distraction. Distracting the people you want to deceive gives you the time and space to do something they will not notice. An act of kindness, generosity, or honesty is often the most powerful form of distraction disarms people’s attention and suspicions. People turns into children eagerly lapping up any kind of affectionate gesture. This is what I call “giving before you take”. The giving makes it hard for people to notice the taking. This is a strategy with infinite practical uses. Brazenly taking something from someone is dangerous, even for the powerful. The victim of the taking may plot revenge. It is also dangerous to simply ask for what you need, no matter how politely you do it: Unless people see some gain for themselves, they may come to resent your neediness. Learn to give before you take. It softens the ground, takes the bite out of future request, or simply create distractions. The giving can take many forms: An actual gift, a generous act, a kind favor, an “honest” admission, whatever it takes.
Selective honesty is best employed on your first encounter with someone. A first impression lasts a long time. If someone believes you are honest at the start of your relationship, it will take a lot to convince them otherwise. And this gives you plenty of room to maneuver. A single act of honesty is often not enough. What is important is a reputation for honesty built on a series of act. These can be quite inconsequential. Once your reputation for honesty is established, as with first impressions, it is hard to shake.
Honesty is one of the best ways to disarm the wary, but it is not the only one. Any kind of noble, apparently selfless act will serve you. The best such act is one of generosity. Few people can resist a gift, even from the most hardened enemy. Generosity is often the perfect way to disarm people. A gift brings out the child in us, instantly lowering our defenses. Although we often view other people’s actions in the most cynical light, we rarely see the Machiavellian element of a gift, which quite often hides ulterior motives. A gift is the perfect object in which to hide a deceptive move.
Selective kindness should also be part of your arsenal of deception. By playing on people’s emotions, calculated acts of kindness can turn anyone into a gullible child. As with any emotional approach, this strategy must be practiced with caution: If people see through it, their disappointed feelings of gratitude and warmth will become the most violent hatred and distrust. Unless you can make the gesture seem sincere and heartfelt, do not play with fire.
When you have a history of deceit behind you, no amount of honesty, generosity or kindness will fool people. Any such act will only call attention to itself. Once people have come to see you as deceitful, to act honest all of a sudden is simply suspicious. In these cases, it is better to play the rogue. Nothing in the realm of success and power is set in stone. Overt deceptiveness will sometimes cover your tracks, even making you admired for the honesty of your dishonesty.
When we feel helpless, we feel miserable. For most of us, the feeling of having no power, no control over people and events of our life is unbearable.
I do not know anyone who would want to have less power, less control over the events, people and circumstances of their life. Everyone, admittedly or not, without exception, consciously or unconsciously, wants more power, more control over the events, circumstances and outcomes of his or her life. However, in today’s chaotic world and fast changing times, it is dangerous to appear, to be perceived as too power hungry. It is dangerous, even suicidal to be too openly overt with our power moves.
In today’s chaotic world and rapidly changing times, for anyone wanting to score big, for anyone wanting to build the life of his or her life, to live the life of his or her dreams, one has to seem fair and decent, fair and civilized. One need to be subtle, congenial yet cunning, egalitarian yet devious. In today’s chaotic world and rapidly changing times, while appearing to be the very paragon of elegance excellence, in the subtlest of ways possible, one has to outwit and thwart his or her opponents, everyone standing in his or her way.
In today’s chaotic world and rapidly changing times, in his or her quest for control over people, events, circumstances and outcomes of his or her life, all your power moves are to be made indirect. Instead of using coercion or outright treachery, one has to get his or her way through seduction, charm, deception using subtle strategies and, more importantly, always planning several moves ahead. When necessary to stab someone in the back, you have to do it with a velvet glove on your hand and the sweetest of smiles on your face. Life today is a never-ending game that requires constant vigilance and tactical thinking. Life today, contrary to the old times, the ancient times, is an endless civilized war.
Erroneously and hopelessly, in today’s chaotic world and rapidly changing times, everything must appear civilized, decent, democratic, fair and politically correct. But for anyone playing according to these rules too strictly, taking them too literally, more than often, one will be crushed by those around him or her who are not so foolish and reckless. It is my experience that any man who tries to be good at all time is bound to come to ruin among the great number who are not so good and do not give a damn about decency, inequality, democracy, and justice for all. It is my experience that any man who tries to be good at all time is bound to come to ruin among the great number who are not so good and only care about one thing: Themselves. Today’s society likes to envision itself to be the pinnacle of refinement but, underneath its glittering surface, a cauldron of dark emotions, greed, envy, lust, hatred, boils and simmers.
To thrive and even survive in today’s chaotic world and rapidly changing times, in a society that likes to imagine itself to be the pinnacle of fairness and enlightenment, while appearing to respect the niceties of a politically correct world, unless he or her is a fool, one has to be prudent, master the arts of indirection, learn to seduce, learn to charm, deceive and subtly outmanoeuver whoever may stand in his or her way. To thrive and even survive in today’s chaotic world and rapidly changing times, in a society that likes to imagine itself to be the pinnacle of fairness and enlightenment, one has to quickly learn to masterfully play the infinite game of life, the infinite game of success and power: Making people, institution and organization bend to your will without realizing what happened and what you have done. To thrive and even survive in today’s chaotic world and rapidly changing times, in a society that likes to imagine itself to be the pinnacle of fairness and enlightenment, one has to quickly learn to masterfully play all the power games of the infinite game of life, the infinite game of success and power. Doing so, if you play the game masterfully, elegantly and artistically, nobody will ever resent, resist or oppose you in your quest for success and power, in your quest for more control over the events, people and circumstances of your life, in your quest to life the life of your dreams.
To some, this notion of consciously playing power games, no matter how indirect and justified they may be, may seem evil, immoral and asocial. Mistakenly believing that it is possible, instead to play an infinite game, to play a finite game by behaving in ways that have nothing to do with power. Beware of such people! While expressing their anti-power-games opinion and resentment against everyone playing such games as outwardly as possible, they are often among the most adept players at the game of power. Under the cover of morality, equality, fairness and social justice, they use power strategies to cleverly disguise the nature of the manipulation involved. As an example, they will often display their weakness, their lack of control over the circumstances of life, the fact that they are part of an oppressed minority as a kind of moral virtue. Complaining, demonstrating, manifesting, revendicating, making a show of one’s weakness is actually a very effective subtle and deceptive strategy in the game of power. This is in no way opting out of the game of power. On the contrary!
Another strategy of the self-proclaimed communal and ethical non-players is to demand equality for all and everyone in every area of life. For these self-proclaimed egalitarian non-players, whatever their origins, their environment, their gender, confusion of gender, status and strength, abilities or absence of abilities, whatever the circumstances, they wrongly believe and promote the idea that everyone must be treated alike. They ignore the fact that treating everyone equally means only one thing: Ignoring their differences, elevating the less skillful and suppressing those who excel. The result: A morally depraved and diminished society! Again, for too many of those self-proclaimed social and moral non-players demanding equality for everyone, they all are simply deploying another power strategy: Redistributing people’s rewards in a way that they wish to determine themselves.
Another way of avoiding playing the game of power, opting out of the game of power, would be perfect honesty and straightforwardness. But again, it is my personal experience that, more than often, being perfectly honest would, and do, inevitably hurt and insult a great many people, too many people, and some of them will, and do, choose to retaliate and injure you in return. It is also my experience that no one will, and no one does, see your honest statement as completely objective and free of some personal self-interest and motivation. And, in the majority of the cases, they would be right. In truth, as a matter of fact, the use perfect honesty and straightforwardness is nothing else than a power strategy intended to convince people of one’s noble, good-hearted, selfless character. Perfect honesty and straightforwardness are nothing else than a subtle form of coercion, a form of persuasion nonetheless.
Finally, for most of those self-proclaimed social and moral non-players of the game of power, more than often, to protect themselves from the accusation that they are after power, they will affect an air, an aura of total naïveté. Beware! More than often, the appearance of naïveté can be a very effective way of deceit and, even genuine total naïveté is not free of the snares of the game of power: Genuinely innocent people may still be playing for power and are often horribly effective at the game. Once again, beware! More than often, those who make a show or display innocence may later reveal to be the least innocent of all. You can recognize these so-called non-players by the way they flaunt all around their moral qualities, their piety, their exquisite sense of justice. More than often, distracting us from their power plays with their air of moral superiority, these self-proclaimed social and moral nonplayers are merely throwing dust in our eyes. If you observe them closely, you will see and soon realize that, in fact, they are often the ones most skillful at indirect manipulation.
Today, in these chaotic and fast changing times, the world is every day, more and more, becoming like a giant scheming court in which, like it or not, we are trapped in. Like it or not, believe it or not, there is no use in trying to opt out of the game: That will only render you, render one powerless and miserable, and if one is already powerless and miserable, it will only render him or her even more powerless and miserable. Instead of struggling against the inevitable, instead of arguing and whining and feeling guilty, it is far better, for anyone who wants to thrive and even survive in this world, to excel at the game of life, to excel at the infinite game of life, to excel in the infinite game of success and power. In fact, the better you are at dealing with success and power, the better friend, lover, husband, wife, and person you become. By doing so, by becoming a source of pleasure to them you make others feel better about themselves and they will grow dependent on your abilities and desirous of your presence. If the game of life, the infinite game of life, the infinite game of success and power is inescapable, better to be an artist at mastering the game than a denier or an ignorant bungler
Reaching an effective rate of immunity that will allow workplaces and businesses to reopen
For herd immunity, 70% vaccinated is likely the magic number. Given potentially more infectious variants, some pundits have raised that to 80%. Even before we reach herd immunity, transmission will slow down as more people get the vaccine, so we will start a gradual return to normal in the spring and early summer. But to reach pre-COVID “normal” with herd immunity on a national level may take until the fall. Global herd immunity may take until summer 2022.
Everyone’s focused on vaccine availability, but vaccine acceptability is the part that makes me nervous. People continue to be a little guarded about the vaccine because of news about allergic reactions, politics, and hesitancy among communities that runs deep.If my fears about acceptability are unfounded, we can have a good Thanksgiving and Christmas in 2021. If we don’t reach 70%, we’ll be stuck in limbo. There will be some reopening and continued mask-wearing. There may be a future where certain activities will be open only to people who’ve gotten the vaccine.
A fourth wave of infections is to be expected before we can get enough people vaccinated to achieve herd immunity
While we all desperately hope to avoid a fourth wave, it’s unlikely that a sufficiently large proportion of the population will be vaccinated to prevent one. The gains we’ve made could potentially be offset by schools reopening, students returning to college residences, and businesses reopening.
Remote work, automation, and telemedicine could soon become the new normal
The coronavirus pandemic will be remembered as a world-reordering event. It will accelerate social and economic changes that would otherwise have taken years to materialize. However long it will take, we will eventually beat back this virus, and our economies will eventually recover from the punishing recession it will have brought about. But when the dust settles and the masks come off, the pandemic will have permanently reshaped our social and economic behavior.
Here are a few outcomes that seem increasingly likely:
1.Companies that traffic in digital services and e-commerce will make immediate and lasting gains
With people isolated indoors and away from other people, short-term and long-term winners will be those who provide goods and services without needing to come into physical contact with their customers. This is already happening. When the economy does eventually improve, these gains will mostly endure thanks to entrenched shifts in consumers’ buying habits.
2.Remote work will become the default
Employees who are suddenly working from home by necessity are experiencing a change in their work style that spares them the suit and commute and gives many of them greater flexibility with their schedules and demands outside of work. Many will find they prefer working remotely and, when the crisis recedes, it will become hard and expensive for some companies to deny them that option, while others will want to take advantage of this new preference.
Remote work technology will improve, enabling the sort of mingling previously thought to require in-person meetings. This will cause a severe downturn for commercial real estate as companies drastically cut the size of their workspaces. Coupled with stricter travel restrictions and mandatory quarantines for foreigners entering certain countries, this will also put severe strain on industries reliant on business travel.
It will also lead to an exodus of white-collar workers from big cities — once companies’ remote work routines have been smoothed out, their newly remote-capable employees will have the flexibility to move out of dense cities and into lower-cost areas.
3.Many jobs will be automated, and the rest will be made remote-capable
To survive the crisis, firms will need to lay off their least-productive workers, automate what can be automated, and make the rest remote-capable. Those who do this effectively will emerge leaner and more efficient. They will also have no incentive to return to their pre-crisis head count, and many of those whose functions have been automated will lack the skills to compete in the new, post-crisis economy. Labor force participation will suffer.
In the medium and longer term, these companies will also realize that the functions they have made remote-capable can also be performed by highly skilled workers in lower-cost countries. In short, jobs will first move from in-person to remote-domestic, and in time they will go from remoter-domestic to remote-overseas.
4.Telemedicine will become the new normal, signaling an explosion in med-tech innovation
In a matter of weeks, regulatory barriers to telemedicine have largely fallen. Doctors now perform remote visits across the country. Though these measures were announced as temporary, those who have now had firsthand experience with the convenience and cost-effectiveness of telemedicine will not want to forgo it. Once the crisis recedes, health care will begin to be provided remotely by default, not necessity, allowing the best doctors to scale their services to far more patients.
5.The nationwide student debt crisis will finally abate as higher education begins to move online
The worldwide remote learning experiment that is currently underway may demonstrate that higher learning can function effectively at a fraction of in-person costs. If it does, it may lead to a reckoning that transforms the delivery of higher education, particularly for less-selective universities, as students re-weigh the costs and benefits of a four-year residential experience.
Universities will also face pressure to cut costs. Many will eventually adopt hybrid models that limit face-to-face learning to project-based assignments and student working groups. These will dramatically cut costs, while allowing the best instructors to scale their insights to more students. They might also make a compelling case for broadening access to elite universities, whose small cohorts have historically been justified on the basis of physical constraints inherent to classrooms and campuses.
6.Goods and people will move less often and less freely across national and regional borders
Countries will retreat into themselves, borders will become less porous, and international trade will slump. To bolster their ability to survive extended periods of economic self-isolation, governments will push to strengthen domestic manufacturing capacity and step in to inject adequate redundancy in critical supply chains. Even before the pandemic struck, higher wages in China, international trade wars, and the rise of semi-autonomous factories had already prompted firms to reshore manufacturing, bringing it closer to domestic research and development centers. The coronavirus crisis will accelerate this trend: Increasingly, corporations will favor the resiliency of centralized domestic supply chains over the efficiency of globalized ones. Lacking support to protect the shared gains of worldwide economic integration and globalized supply chains, the multilateral institutions of global governance established in the 20th century will, if temporarily, begin to fray.
Governments are already conducting more widespread and more intrusive surveillance and claim broader authority to monitor and respond to viral threats. this is a trend that is here to stay. Checkpoints at national and regional borders will use biometric screening to detect deadly viruses in real time and impose mandatory quarantines on travelers entering from certain countries. This will create significant friction for all kinds of travel. Airlines, hospitality, and tourism will experience a severe slump in demand in and beyond the immediate aftermath of the crisis.
7.After an initial wave of isolationism, multilateral cooperation may flourish
After an initial retreat from globalization, countries might come to recognize that technological and viral threats are existential, and therefore require international cooperation. Adopting a sense of pragmatic internationalism, countries would develop international norms, monitoring and reporting systems, and coordinated response and contingency plans. When the next pandemic strikes, global monitoring and reporting systems would detect it earlier. A coordinated global response would make self-isolation orders effective, shortening the economic shutdown and hopefully sparing lives.
New York State joins Manhattan district attorney Cyrus Vance in launching ‘active’ inquiry into former president’s company. Donald Trump is now facing three separate criminal investigations into his business activities, and those of his family members.
On Tuesday night Letitia James’ office said it was joining a sweeping criminal investigation being conducted in parallel by Manhattan’s district attorney. The move, communicated in a recent letter from James to the Trump Organization, significantly raises the stakes for the former president, who now faces three separate criminal investigations.
Trump is accused of falsely manipulating the value of Trump Organization properties in order to secure bank loans and lucrative tax breaks, tax and insurance fraud and falsification of business records.
“We have informed the Trump Organization that our investigation … is no longer purely civil in nature,” James’s office said. “We are now actively investigating the Trump Organization in a criminal capacity, along with the Manhattan DA. We have no additional comment at this time.”
The Trump Organization has yet to comment. But it has previously dismissed the investigations as politically motivated witch-hunts and pointed out that James and Vance are both Democrats.
Vance’s investigation began after it emerged that Trump’s former lawyer and fixer Michael Cohen paid hush money to silence two women in the months before the 2016 US presidential election. Both said they had had affairs with Trump. James opened her inquiry after Cohen told Congress that Trump’s financial statements were deliberately manipulated in order to save money on loans and to reduce his real estate tax bills.
Cohen, who once said he would take a bullet for Trump, pleaded guilty in 2018 to campaign finance violations and other crimes. He is currently serving a three-year sentence under home confinement.
“As more documents are reviewed by the NYAG and NYDA, it appears that the troubles for Donald Trump just keep on coming. Soon enough, Donald and associates will be held responsible for their actions,” Cohen said late on Tuesday.