Two Axes: Trump vs Macron
As crises usually do, this one is widening the gap between people with fundamental differences in thought.
The higher the perceived stakes, the less willing people are to make concessions to what they consider irrational. The same person who would usually dismiss an anti-vaxer's skepticism as a bothersome quirk, for example, will get much more confrontational if they believe this attitude could lead to the death of their loved ones.
At a larger scale, this type of crisis widens the gap between countries, and we're witnessing the development of two opposing "axises" in the western world - a consequence of the two fundamentally different cultures that we call "western". The more rational one is personified by Donald Trump who, with all his central-planning tendencies, has chosen the individual's freedom to think and act as the means to solve the problem at hand, and refused to "close down the country". This attitude is shared by, and serves as intellectual and political fuel for countries like Australia and Brazil.
The more irrational one is personified by Emmanuel Macron, who is now talking about a complete, mandatory lockdown, that would last for months. This attitude is shared by countries like Italy, Spain, and even England and the Netherlands, whose public officials seemed, at first, more mindful of the economic consequences of this type of measure.
On the aftermath of this epidemic, reality will be the final judge, and we will see, and feel, the consequences of irrationality. Countries like the US will remain operational, but will still pay a very, very heavy price. Properly handling a health crisis does not erase over a century of systematic destruction of capital by the Fed, the FDA and other government agencies - and this economic strain will jumpstart the credit bust, originally due a few years from now.
The same economic crisis, however, will also hit the countries in the "French axis" - and they will not be able to handle it. Not only will their death tolls be much higher, as they've destroyed their healthcare infrastructure through decades of central planning - their economy will enter a credit bust while their production is at a halt. Much like the immunodeficient individuals perishing from the virus, those countries will face a tough challenge, without the necessary means to fight it.
This will be the nail in the coffin that turns Europe into a third-world continent, akin to Latin America. After that, it will be up to the US to decide how soon they'll start speaking Russian.
- March 26th, 2020