My world: June 2021…
This is part of a series of articles where our contributors describe how they think things will look a year from now.
Nicholas and the Adventure with the Crystal Ball
Nicholas was not a small man. In recent years, his girth had been increasing exponentially with his age and it was perfectly fair when the little boy sitting opposite him on the Tokyo tube pointed at him and exclaimed “Shrek”. To most people, Nicholas was now jolly giant of mythical proportions and that guise suited him well.
Now sitting in his wooden hut in his back garden, Nicholas was pondering the new world that had enveloped everyone in the last two months. One day, he was standing at a lectern professing the importance of understanding value, the next he was isolating in the shires with his lady wife, the princess Analise. Everyone was immersed in trying to understand the strange times that had descended so fast and when the sickness will pass. Everyone was confused and everyone was looking for a guru. Nicholas wanted to help.
He had never been good with traditional scrying. He had a collection of crystal balls but not once had he seen the mists of time parting to reveal a significant future. He had tried many times but no matter how much he scrunched his forehead, the visions would not come. He was not an oculomancer and the fairground tent was not beckoning him.
But that didn’t mean he didn’t have some latent ability as a soothsayer. Wasn’t he the only professor at the university that had predicted the “time of Trump”? And that was long before the candidacy had been declared. Likewise, he foresaw the instant of “dis-May” when our then leader lost her majority; the great moment of escape when his country chose to leave the twenty seven and the rise of the Boris. All were his predictions and all were right. So why couldn’t he see anything in the crystal ball? He would not give up!! He had been asked to forecast the future and he would not fail.
So Nicholas sat and stared and mused and considered. A year from now, the world will not be the same. That was a given. Everything changes but what will June 2021 look like? The economies of the world are all crashing together in financial tectonics. Unemployment is spiralling and companies are failing. When will it end? When will the virus dissipate and a return to normality endure?
Nicholas concentrated. His great teachers had told him to look at the simple rules of economics and behaviour. The two cannot be separated. What the academics predict fails to embrace the idiosyncrasy of human action, human ingenuity. So the doom and gloom scenarios that are washing over everyone in our self-imposed quarantines fail to capture the lessons of history. The human race has a tendency to rise above the economic shocks that bombard our existence. Whether it is horsemen of war or famine or pestilence, the human race sustains.
When he once asked whether his brother’s glass was half empty or half full, the retort was that it didn’t matter as he would knock over the glass anyway. But Nicholas disagreed and his glass would always be refilled. That is what will happen here. A vaccine will be found, a treatment will be successful and, until then, the population will learn to live with its pernicious bedfellow.