Coronavirus will accelerate and finalize America’s grim transformation into poverty, paralysis, and collapse — the lack of response to it will probably finish off what’s left of the American economy

Tuesday, May 12, 2020
By Paul Martin

Jack Metir
SurvivalBlog.science.blog
May 12, 2020

Another 3 million people filed unemployment claims last week, bringing the total since the beginning of the pandemic to a staggering 33 million. How much is that, in context? The US labour force is 165 million people. 33 million people means a full 20% of the labour force is now unemployed.

But even that’s an understatement. Here’s another, truer way to think about it. These numbers mean that, since the the employment to population ratio has crashed to just fifty percent. That means: just half of the American population is now employed.

These are numbers so catastrophic they make economists like me shudder. They have no modern parallel whatsoever. They point to an emerging depression — call it the Coronavirus Depression — that’s probably going to be greater and worse than the Great Depression. That’s because even the Great Depression had a New Deal. America, instead, has Donald Trump.

Coronavirus — or more accurately — the lack of response to it will probably finish off what’s left of the American economy. America will end up a country with permanently lower levels of all the following: employment, income, savings, trust, happiness, assets, and so forth. America was already in the process of becoming something very much like a poor country, with the failed politics of one, too — but Coronavirus will accelerate and finalize America’s grim transformation into poverty, paralysis, and collapse.

I know that sounds improbable, maybe even absurd, to some. I don’t much like writing in such terms myself. So let me spell out just how and why.

These shocking, unreal unemployment numbers are like the shockwave of a great tsunami, or the tremors that signal an earthquake spiking off the Richter scale. They’re a beginning, something like a plume of smoke to be followed by a deafening explosion.

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