Friday 27 March 2020

Winners and losers of Covid19 pandemic

Winners so far:

Strong goverments who put it about a bit...

Amazon - having nearly destroyed the retail economies of the West, they have now been handed them on a plate...

Toilet Roll Makers - surely a one off in history?

Medics and carers - becuase they are so key and important at this time

Rishi Sunak - all those female journalists seem to like socialist policies from a good looking guy - who knew?

Super Market Workers - this get the award for the most surprising heroes of the coronavirus war

Loser so far:

Libertarians - sadly total freedom when your whole species is under attack does not cut it as a political strategy.

Airlines and Tourism - This will turn out to be a real long term hit, less travel, just like after 9/11 is baked into the system now. Countries may keep their strict visa systems too.

Government debt - an early and fatal casualty has been any ideas around keeping some sort of track on the Government spending. At least we won't be needing a new runway at Heathrow anymore.

China  - not happy with their Government, not one bit.


Swiss Bob said...

In a few years from now medical schools will be bursting with applicants and students, ditto nursing colleges.

I'd add Sterling to the losers list at the moment, along with currencies from other countries with pre-existing large current account deficits + budget deficits.

Anonymous said...

What'll be the impact on inflation? Low for the foreseeable due to oil and demand, or high to get rid of the debt?

Is it ok to inflate away the debt or is the costs associated with it too high?

John in Cheshire said...

" At least we won't be needing a new runway at Heathrow anymore."

Perhaps the government will now realise we don't need HS2 either.

And just maybe they'll rethink giving government contracts to Huawei.

Nessimmersion said...

You need to add taxpayers to the losers list.
As someone once said" you will eventually run out of other people's money"
With the trashing of the productive side of the economy, to survive western economies will have to concentrate on funding the essentials, so an immediate 50% cut in admin staff at all levels and no one in govt whether local or national or any organisation that gets funds from govt to earn more than the PM is required.

Anonymous said...

Some common sense suggestions on how to minimise the impact of this..... so of course none of this will happen and the government will no doubt double down on HS2 whilst the costs more than doubles up.

Anonymous said...

Our freedoms will be lost. Only yesterday I was stopped by a policeman and told my journey wasn't essential..........I was posting a letter. No-one else was anywhere near except him.

Sobers said...

I think eco-freakery will be a loser too. All that hair shirt stuff has been shown to be a bit unpopular, as has killing off Granny. Plus the concept of 'We're all going to die in X decades time' loses a bit of its impact vs 'We're all going to die within the next 6 months'. I suspect being when La Thunberg next decides to get on her hind legs and lecture us all, the response will more of 'Naff off love, we've more important fish to fry'.

E-K said...

The small entrepreneur. Who would take on a pub now, knowing that you're the first in the wolf's maw and the dole chav last ?

Raedwald said...

To add to your excellent list

-The WHO - exposed as a corrupt bunch of charlatans in the pocket of the Chinese government
-Second Home owners who fled London only to discover what country locals really think of them
-Price gouging corner shop owners who have become Twittermob targets
-Third rate 'slebs who have tried to make publicity capital from the crisis, to the contempt and derision of the public
-Hysterical and tendentious news personalities using every opportunity to spit bile at the PM

-Boffins. Homely, down-to-earth British boffins
- The Speaker - just the sound of him resonates stoicism, fortitude, resolve and national fairness

Elby the Beserk said...

Loser so far

Millions of private pension holders... we won't get a subsidy to make up for this.

Don Cox said...

The biggest losers are those who are dying sooner than they would otherwise have done.

People with some conditions, such as cystic fibrosis, may die many years earlier.

Don Cox

Anonymous said...

One of my favourite quotes "Only when the tide goes out do you discover who's been swimming naked."

There are a lot of corporate naturists who won't be coming back from furlough.

Time to place your bets on the Covid bounce.

E-K said...

@ Unknown

Quite right. *Tips head in shame.*

E-K said...

Railways will be hit hard.

Many commuters will have gone bust, never to return. Those working from home during lock down may well find it works and they like it.

Who will have money to go on any sort of holiday ?

It's possible we will have massive over staffing and pay will have to adjust downwards significantly - not before time, if I'm honest.

Glad my kids are adults now but I can't afford to retire either.

I would like to job share and do positive and healthy work in the community.

andrew said...

My employer is rapidly going through the process of rebasing everything so that almost no one needs a desk in an office.

Once all this is over i am sure that they will realise that packing people in ever tighter has limits and very consequences.

Many offices in london are just meeting rooms already. I see that spreading to the provinces.

I think we are crosscharged several hundred per month per desk.

Big losers?
Landlords of retail and landlords of offices

If you dont have a central place to be why pay 900k for a 3 bed semi in an average area in london when you can pay about 400k for something bigger in a nicer place.
The truly adventurous may look to the northumberland coast.

Big winners
Me and the millions like me who used to commute hours a day at great cost.

iOpener said...

"Amazon - having nearly destroyed the retail economies of the West"????

No, Amazon made the retail economies of the West more efficient and brought the consumer more and better goods at lower over-all cost.

The whole point of an economy is the consumer, not the producer or any of myriad of middlemen.

Anyway, Amazon is already feeling pressure from the existence of search engines, the existence of cheaper internet retail software and huge logistics improvement like FedEx.Right now a medium sized or small company can sell online with relative ease and Amazon doesn't much like that.

Anonymous said...

"Amazon made the retail economies of the West more efficient"

Most brick-and-mortar retailers can't evade tax like they can.

Amazon is rarely the cheapest place to buy, and there's a lot of fake stuff on it (better goods my ****), but it's good if you need the stuff tomorrow. That's the only time I use it.

"the whole point of an economy is the consumer"

I think the whole point of a nation is the citizen, and the economy and consumer is well downstream from that. Are we better off with cheap 50 inch flat screens but unaffordable housing? I think not.

This crisis has exposed just how much basic stuff we don't make, from masks to pharmaceuticals. Which is why our nurses don't have masks or protective gear six weeks into this, because we haven't enough and only those at most risk get them. Triage at the staffing side. No tests either, unless you're Boris, because we are waiting for someone else to make them, and so NHS staff with a cough have to decide whether to down tools for two weeks or go in and potentially infect/kill patients. One London health authority has 50% of staff off - 50%!

Germany's doing 500,000 tests a week, we can't even test our own health staff!

Anonymous said...

You can tell our rulers are really concerned, just by looking at this site

All those people coming from Hong Kong, Singapore, NY, Doha, Lagos - just to do a food shop and get their prescriptions.

Anonymous said...

This'll be fun, as the UK continues to build crappy houses all over rich farmland...good job I have a big garden.

Globalisation kills.

iOpener said...

"Most brick-and-mortar retailers can't evade tax like they can."

Amazon does not evade tax, and saying so is both assholish and ignorant.

Amazon pays exactly what tax the law requires. If you don't like it, change the law, collect the tax, watch governments pissing that tax up a wall as well as retail prices rising.

Win win, right? Jesus H. Christ.

Anonymous said...


Do you mean this

"No man in the country is under the smallest obligation, moral or other, so to arrange his legal relations to his business or property as to enable the Inland Revenue to put the largest possible shovel in his stores. The Inland Revenue is not slow, and quite rightly, to take every advantage which is open to it under the Taxing Statutes for the purposes of depleting the taxpayer's pocket. And the taxpayer is in like manner entitled to be astute to prevent, so far as he honestly can, the depletion of his means by the Inland Revenue"

From 90 years ago. Ayrshire Pullman Motor Services v Inland Revenue [1929]

HMRC will be all over us very soon to pay for all this

Anonymous said...

Those happy days of Ayrshire Motors are long gone, Amazon have more money and lawyers (and bought politicians) than HMRC, you can die in a ditch for them if you please.

"Muh free markets" have brought us not only 2007/8 and CV19, they've left us bereft of what we need to tackle it. Still, doubtless China can get us a few billion masks by May or June, it's all good...

Nessimmersion said...

What a pile of bollocks.
The cheap TVs mean you don't have to work for 2 months to get some entertainment.
The expensive houses aren't caused by Amazon - they are caused by whinging numpties complaining about land banks every time a builder wants to build something. 3 % of UK is built on, that means 97 % isn't. UK builds the smallest houses in Europe because of planners adherence to housing density requirements.
The Spanish flu, black death, Hong Kong flu etc all happened long before morons started complaining about muh free markets.

Raedwald said...

Another loser - the cruise ships.

For a decade we've been warned by vessel after vessel stricken by Norovirus - to the extent that a balcony cabin became essential to enable elderly passengers to projectile-vomit comfortably when confined to their cabins.

And now the centralised vent and extract systems, huge numbers of internal cabins with no natural ventilation and cost-saving H&V design have made these behemoths nothing more than floating disease incubators, guaranteeing that if just one passenger or crew has the virus, by the next port 20% of them will have it and so on.

Every cruise ship in the world is just so much scrap steel right now.

E-K said...


That's actually quite encouraging.

The Diamond Princess (human petri dish) produced a very low mortality rate among a high risk demographic.

I have hopes that the mortality rate of Covid will be relatively low by the time testing is done.

Already we've had to notify the police about restless youths who now think they own the streets.

Anonymous said...

An unexpected winner (at least til coronachan has her say), the Belarus Premier League.

Just watched the highlights of Neman Grodno vs Vitebsk, a dull 1-0 win, but any footy is better than none.

"The decision to carry on and allow fans into stadiums has helped the Belarus Football Federation get broadcasting deals with sports networks in 10 countries, including Russia, Israel and India, where fans have been left with nothing to watch. “This is an unprecedented situation,” said Alexander Aleinik, a federation spokesman. One of the networks broadcasting Belarusian matches is Ukraine’s Sport-1. Although it began broadcasting the league late last year - prior to the coronavirus outbreak - because many Ukrainians play in Belarus, viewers have been surprised by Belarusian league’s quality."

Now to choose a team to support. FC Slutsk sound entertaining.

Anonymous said...

Nessimmmersion - "3 % of UK is built on"

Now find the figures for England, the most densely populated major country in Europe (I think Monaco and Malta beats us). No one's planning to concrete over Caithness & Sutherland.

Nessimmersion said...

You are changing the argument as we are taling about the UK.
However to humour you, figures are from
So there we have 10 % of England is urban, note urban includes eveything.
So don't really think your argument changes much.
We could of course do much more to make it attractive for retirees to retire to north yorkshire, cumbria, southern uplands and highlands of scotland to alleviate pressure in the south east, but that depends on good transport links to see the grandkids etc.

iOpener said...

As usual, everyone is in favour of free markets until their ox is gored, or they have a petty whim to the contrary.

Aneurin Bevan said...

Why not use some of the spare capacity on airline booking systems with their surge pricing model to have people bid for ventilators and critical care beds.

Or have I got this "free market" thing all wrong?

Matt said...

One possible silver lining in all this is the UK governments apparent new resolve to make China pay for lying about CV-19. As all 1st world countries are wrecking their economies in the same way (lockdown) we might as well try to leave China with the bill. Debt inflation so their holdings of USD etc are decimated is looking like the approach to be taken.

E-K said...

So when's the next virus, Matt ?

Anonymous said...

Nessie, you were talking about the UK, I was talking about the bit with 90% of the population and probably 80% of the agriculture - England. Which if you haven't noticed, is being built over like its going out of fashion - even in places with few jobs like Redcar and Spennymoor.

My own area, very rural 30 years back, is becoming suburbanised.

Scotland is a wonderful place, but apart from Aberdeenshire/Banff with its wheat/spuds/barley and the fruit zone round Blairgowrie it's mostly sheep and cattle at a fairly sparse number to the acre. But they aren't building on bleak Caithness moorland, whereas in the Vale of Evesham, or round Aylesbury or Gloucester, fantastically fertile land is being concreted.

Matt said...

@ E-K

Not sure of your question as it could relate to many things:

* Was the virus man-made and could they come up with another to keep us all in a police state indefinitely?
* If man-made, was it the Chinese who engineered it (or the US or some other party)?
* Do we have time to land the Chinese with the bill before another black swan even happens?
* If we don't do business with China, where will all the electronics for the snowflakes come from?

E-K said...

I don't think it was a deliberate virus but if we treat China badly....

Anonymous said...

We've seen what US power can do to a country it doesn't like, even without a war. Not nice.

We are open (so is the US for that matter) to China saying to the Indian generics producers "no precursor chemicals if you sell to UK/US". Suddenly most pharmacies have empty shelves, no masks for hospitals etc. 3M mask technology is in China now, they could nationalise tomorrow if they wished. They won't though, they'll wait for the West to carry on weakening as it's been doing for fifty years now.

I've quoted Eamonn Fingleton a dozen times here, here's for a change a review of his book, in a magazine (HuffPo) which is itself a part of the US decline.

"The most important issue on which our government has been bribed is, of course, trade. China runs astronomical trade surpluses with the U.S. In fact, a majority of our trade deficit is now with China. This is no accident: it is the product of China’s aggressive embrace of predatory mercantilism plus America’s government being bribed not to take defensive measures.

To find an historical parallel, one would probably have to go back to something like the suicide of the old Polish state in the 18th century, carved up by its adversaries after its domestic politics was paralyzed by foreign bribery.

America’s defense against Chinese mercantilism is further sabotaged by the fact that, despite our using similar policies earlier in our own history, mainstream American economists are largely blind to the fact that mercantilism even works. Trapped in the same “free” market thinking that led to the 2008 financial crisis, they don’t believe that China’s policies can possibly be a winning move for that country. An economy that has gone from peasant agriculture to superpower in 30 years doesn’t seem to persuade them. "

Nick Drew said...

Heavy stuff. Anyhow back to the list:

Winner - (or surprise non-loser) - the doorkeeping sector: looked like extinction with no pubs/clubs opening, but hey! Tesco et al needed them all

Anonymous said...

Another winner then ND - flour mills, an explosion of home baking among the at-home middle classes, strong flour has replaced loo rolls as the currency of choice in my village.

Home brewing suppliers, surprisingly most of the shops are shut but online is doing a roaring trade, the home brew shelves in Boots and Wilkinsons are pretty bare.

E-K said...

Anon at 4.54

I have looked on aghast and said so time and again. How we have made ourselves so weak and (no intention to offend any Chinese person) to a nation which still allows dogs - the most trusting and loving of animals - to be blow torched alive because it makes the meat taste more succulent.

What have we done ?

Our response to Covid has been weak... because we ARE weak.

They know.