The Fluid Society

Corona virus boosts digitization

The Corona virus that grips the world is a typical phenomenon associated with the physical world. The digital world, in which an increasing part of the world economy takes place, has little trouble on the contrary. The Corona virus therefore gives a great boost to the further digitization of society and will also strongly influence the structure of further globalization.

The main effects for the physical society are:

  • many countries have a “lock down” for physical traffic. Mobility, both national and international, is discouraged or prohibited as much as possible. International air traffic, excluding goods, is stopped. The gathering of several people at one location is prohibited. Schools are closed. Just like all shops with the exception of food and medical companies.
  • in almost all countries, citizens are in a voluntary quarantine or not and are locked up in their homes. Mobility is only allowed for the most important life issues such as food and medical aid.
  • physical goods companies slow down or stop production. Companies in the service industry have sometimes completely stopped (travel, entertaining, hotels, restaurants).
  • the climate problem suddenly becomes less serious: the emission of CO2 decreases factors, the air pollution decreases sharply, the consumption of oil and coal decreases sharply.

Governments are now doing everything possible to keep the economy going. Maximum use is made of digital options:

  • physical meetings are replaced by video conferencing. Working from home using digital tools is encouraged as much as possible.
  • online stores get a boost, while brick and mortar stores fight for survival.
  • education switches to online education as much as possible. Medical advice is given if possible by telephone or digitally, in order to avoid physical contact
  • citizens maintain contact with each other through social media. Gaming is taking off among the home-seekers. Home delivery of food and goods is given a boost.
  • digital entertainment in many forms is increasing, because the possibilities of physical entertainment (theatre, pub visit, restaurant) have been blocked for the time being
  • laws that require physical presence, such as exams, shareholders’ meetings, etc., are cancelled by emergency laws.

Numerous effects brought about by the Corona virus will have lasting long-term effects on society after the greatest risks have passed. An important lesson from this Corona virus will be that the world has to be more careful with the physical transport of people, animals, living material. It is not without reason that China has completely banned the wildlife trade, which is a break with Chinese culture. Although we still have to see what happens in practice. After the Corona virus and the earlier SARS virus, China hopefully begins to understand that its classical culture of using raw materials from exotic animals poses a major public health risk, including outside China. But anyway the risks of international transport to health will be much better controlled.

Governments and governments will undoubtedly react much more alert to local illness symptoms in the future and will control or stop air traffic much faster to prevent a recurrence of this pandemic. Mass transport of people has become a health risk in addition to being bad for the environment. Transport costs will undoubtedly increase because much more safety measures are required when transporting people or biological material. Some countries may reconsider the outsourcing of vital goods and resume national action.

Global digital collaboration, on the other hand, will continue to flourish. The Coronavirus has strengthened worldwide digital contacts in the medical field. The scientific exchange of knowledge is increasing. Countries also see that it is counterproductive if they all use different scenarios to combat this pandemic.

So there will undoubtedly be European and perhaps worldwide crisis teams to identify disease situations in countries in time and recommend unambiguous measures. Online education is getting a big boost, as are social media, gaming and everything else that can be invented about digital entertainment. People will look more for entertainment digitally and at home and less physically in the pub or by travelling. Digital meetings and decision-making structures that are now being set up in many companies will often be maintained after this crisis.

For investors: assume a permanent growth reduction for companies that trade in physical goods: aviation, transport, oil, and also service companies in events, travel organizations or catering, but count on a further flourishing of companies active in the digital market . Classic companies that manage to convert their offer into digital form are undoubtedly successful. Online concerts, or theater, online shareholder meetings, digital control models for international companies, digital education, medical assistance and home diagnostics, three-star meals at home: these are the markets of the future.

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