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All Possible Futures...

March 27th 2020 – Written by Andrew Chorley

All Possible Futures…


The World has become a very different place in a matter of weeks and we are all worried about what the future holds; it is this uncertainty that we humans do not like. Unlike other causes of death, Covid-19 puts all of us at risk, the PM has been diagnosed as positive to the virus, BBC today, and changes our way of life; and to date John Hopkins University confirms 24,127 fatalities Worldwide. The situation is obviously very serious with the current and potential strain on healthcare systems a key issue.


It is this uncertainty that increasingly makes us look for patterns or similarities in the hope of understanding what the potential outcomes may be; at present there have been a lot of comparisons between the UK and Italy (probably due to the similarity in size of population) but there is no guarantee that we will follow the same path – indeed social distancing measures could work well and we follow a similar pattern as South Korea.  


The search for patterns also takes place in investment markets; we tend to extrapolate recent history into the future and at present most of us of would focus on the similarities with 1929 rather than 1987 – there is also probably a good chance that something different happens as we are in uncharted territory.


All we can do is try to do the very best that we can with the information that we have; this is from Government right down to every member of society. This is not the time for an inquest and criticism, this will undoubtedly come later; we should perhaps focus more on the positives and try to remain optimistic as all of us have probably never been better equipped to deal with this than now.


  • We have never been more able to stay in touch with friends and loved ones by phone, message, email, facetime and social media.
  • Most Supermarkets already have an infrastructure set up to provide home delivery.
  • Online retailers continue to provide us with goods that we may need or simply want.
  • The internet and media provide entertainment for us 24/7 helping to make isolation more palatable.


Looking at what the future holds, the following is an extract from the book Homo Deus – A Brief History of Tomorrow by Yuval Noah Harari (2016).


In respect of epidemics – “Many fear that this is only a temporary victory, and that some unknow cousin of the Black Death is waiting just around the corner. No one can guarantee that plagues won’t make a comeback, but there are good reasons to think that in the arms race between doctors and germs, doctors run faster…………..So while we cannot be certain that some new Ebola outbreak or an unknown flu strain wont sweep across the Globe and kill millions we will not regard it as an inevitable natural calamity.”


The point here is we see our Emergency Services and Armed Forces responding to the task admirably and businesses, with some notable exceptions (please read Harry Wallop in the Times today).


Some businesses are also playing their part, it seems to have gone relatively unreported that the Government have ordered 10,000 new ventilators that Dyson have designed from scratch since the outbreak of the virus! (BBC News 26-3-20). This is just one achievement and example of British ingenuity and determination that should give us all optimism that things will improve – for the moment though we are all going to have to face the uncertainty that this outbreak has brought to almost every aspect of our lives.

EST. 1999