2020. The year that shares the promise of perfect vision. And, well, maybe it was. Not perfect vision, but a perfect way for humanity to readjust itself. Amongst all the chaos, the misfortune, the sadness and the tragedies, there were some hidden gifts. Many, for example, might have dumped the idea of sitting in traffic and doing the morning grind to work. Hopefully with less cars on the road we’ll do the planet a modest favour with some level of reduced pollution. Lockdowns brought families together and some would have found strength in hanging out with their loved ones.
Indeed, the fact that this was a global phenomenon and effected people equally in most parts of the world, brought humanity together. The global cooperation to find a vaccine, the generosity of epidemiologists and other scientists sharing their best wisdom, and all of us figuring out how to live our lives. Sure, there were shadow sides. Many. Big ones. Politics, selfish people, poor judgments everywhere, lonely people, isolated people, grief……it’s a long list.
So how does the future look ? I’m no prophet, in fact I’m pretty terrible at predicting anything, but unless a rogue meteor hits the planet, 2021 has to be better.
- We know that several vaccines, will become available during the year. Still many months until they get to the rank and file, but at least the promise of a vaccine is no longer a fantasy, but rather working out the logistics (which look to be very very complicated). The politics of who gets the vaccine (between countries and between people), will also probably be very interesting and fraught. One way or another I suspect that many people will be vaccinated by mod 2021. Life changes after that. A lot.
- It also has to be a better year for business. The economy will rebound to some extent. Those company’s that survived should have survived stronger. Almost all had to adapt in some way and in ways that should have fortified their internal structures. Many businesses had to pivot and be resourceful, reimagining themselves that offer then a better future. The economy however will probably struggle albeit with some incremental improvement and macro-economic trends like unemployment, GDP and national debt are likely to get worse. Businesses that flourish will do so despite the economy not because of it.
- The human species is wiser. We have been humbled by a lowly virus. I predict we will for a short while be less complacent and less cock-sure of ourselves as the apex species on the planet. When nature hits back as it has with Covid, humans have an opportunity to see themselves in a different perspective, as fallible, vulnerable and more gracious about how we treat each other and the environment. Hopefully we are also more alert to other global catastrophes that could cause chaos in other ways, for example, a massive solar flare, a super volcano or super tsunami, antibiotics failing or something we have not even yet imagined.
- I predict that South Africa politics will become more edgy. With the NPA getting bolder and more high-profile arrests happening weekly, the divisions between factions will become amplified and Ramaphosa will be tested. The factions can largely be categorised as the sane but passive (Ramaphosa et al) vs the crazy but strong (Ace, Zuma et al). I believe that sanity will prevail, so I am backing the sane.
- Finally, the usual suspects – Covid was a war, and wars drive technology. It really did. Office Parks will contract, the general and rapid acceleration of technology will help many previously face-to-face events be mimicked with increasing sophistication in the online world. Meetings, Telemedicine, Global employment, education and trading will all be ubiquitous and sophisticated. More and more people will opt for these conveniences and less doing it in the old way. People looking for houses will increasingly have an eye on work-spaces within homes.
Author: Dr Hilton Rudnick – Omnicor’s MD