History gives us a new angle to view situations most of the time. A century ago, seven crises had truly global impacts.
In 1918, 5% of the world’s population was swept away with the flu epidemic. Approximately 100 million people were dead before social distancing curb its spread. We cannot forget the impact brought by the two global wars of 1914 to 1918 and 1939 to 1945, the HIV/AIDS pandemic of the 1980s onwards, the major political crisis of 1989 to the end of the cold war, and the financial crises of 1929 to 2008.
The Crises and Global Impacts.
All the pandemics occurred at a different point in time and caused by different circumstances. However, we can still look back and draw some tentative conclusions relevant to our situations today.
Often, innovation follows political, health, and military crisis. The period after the Spanish flu, we had innovation in the health sector, and periods after the world wars installed advancement in wartime technological advancement.
In 1926, a decade that was marked by medical advances, Penicillin was discovered. This is the decade where most of the groundwork to do with the modern pharmaceutical industry was laid. Companies such as Procter & Gamble and Unilever sprouted in this time due to the global emphasis on hygiene.
What happens after an Economic crisis? We can observe from the two financial crises that innovation does stand after an economic crisis. We can obtain significant slowdowns after the 1929 and 2008 crisis if we take patent in the United States as a proxy. The two crises were followed by political disruptions, especially in the 1930s, which lead to the global war.
The Crises and Social Life.
The social life is not an exception when it comes to law enforcement. Indeed, the pandemics give the human race a new way to look at how to live with each other and protect one another. A vast amount of international labor laws was created between the 1920s to 1930s. The Un system and declaration of human rights started after world war II. Woman’s ability to choose their own leaders increased in the post-world war I. A lot changed as far as sexuality is concerned due to the HIV/AIDS pandemic.
Light after Darkness.
Just like other pandemics, we expect innovation in different sectors of the economies. People will change their lifestyles. There will be alternative ways to view things such as the office, e.t.c.
Things might not entirely go in one direction, but there might be a gradual change in events and personal view of them. A good example is a work from home mantra, online shopping, online learning, and how business is conducted. Businesses will only operate and give services in accordance to their customer demands. The office and physical shopping will have a whole new perspective.
The ability of businesses to adapt to the change and shift their operations towards the same will play a significant role in determining if they will remain relevant in tomorrow’s economy. A good example is the 2008 global crisis; the top companies were Microsoft, Exxon, General Electric, P&G, and AT&T. Only two out of the five are in the top 10 today. Everything shifted, and today we can only celebrate Apple, Facebook, Google, Amazon, and Microsoft as the top five.
Following the trends in the past 100 years, we can be certain that there will be a change at the end of this pandemic. The only thing we aren’t sure about is the nature of the change. However, it is our duty to study the trends and shift for the better as humanity.