How Blockchain Will Save Our States (#SOS)

In a New York Times article entitled What New York Looked Like During the 1918 Flu Pandemic, you can see historical photos that look eerily familiar to today: New Yorkers wearing masks, public health bulletins advising people to cover their sneezes, and graphs showing mortality “curves.”

One image from this article has seared itself onto my brain.

Courtesy National Archives.

This photo says it all. You have the physical, financial, and political dimensions of the pandemic in one arresting image.

The policeman with his protective mask and gloves, with a traffic signal commanding the public to BUY LIBERTY BONDS, is a profound statement, and a glimpse into where we are likely headed.

Before I offer the solution, let me unpack the problem. Like a strand of viral DNA, there’s a lot of information encoded in this single photo.

The Three Levels of a Pandemic

We’re seeing the CoronaCrisis play out on three levels: physical, financial, and political. Let’s visualize this like the three layers of neapolitan ice cream.

Physical Financial and Political
You’ll never look at neapolitan ice cream the same way.

In the United States and elsewhere, people are confusing these three levels, so let’s be clear about how each one works.

The physical level is easy to understand. That’s our personal safety, home quarantine, our #HealthcareHeroes, testing kits, vaccine development, social distancing, and Clorox wipes. (You’re soaking in it.) Anything in the so-called “real world” of flesh and bone is physical.

The financial level is also easy to understand: just look at the stock market.

Chart
S&P 500 since January 1, 2020.

 

The global financial system is impossibly complex, even for economists, so no one knows where we’re headed. But the simple way to explain what’s happening is:

  1. Fewer people are working. Even those who are working are less productive, because they’re working from home, with distractions and kids and Tiger King.
  2. Fewer people are spending. Except for the…

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