There is a term in economics called sunk cost. It means expenses in a business which are made and cannot be recovered, no matter what future decisions are made.
There is a large segment of the United States that has sunk cost in terms of the current administration, but they believe they can recoup their loss. In fact, they won’t accept the loss. No matter how many Americans die.
We’re at the “So, 67,000 dead isn’t that bad stage” for those who even accept the number. There are plenty who argue it is inflated, while most knowledgeable people believe it is under-estimated. Overall, deaths are up, even factoring in COVID-19. What did the extra people die of? Mostly likely COVID-19, but hey, maybe they’re just old and up and died? Of course, some died from the shutdown, by not getting their normal medical care.
I’m stunned by the videos and photos of people on the beaches, roaring along on their boats, crowding into malls. The protestors claim it’s about the economy, but really? The beaches? That’s a priority? Which leads me to the question of what the priorities are? Is there any Federal guidance on what a staged re-opening should be? We know our commander-in-chief punted on responsibility. For the country. Which is rather stunning. Which means commander-in-chief is a misnomer.
The real problem is that sunk cost is what I call a no-do-over event. You can’t change it. Death is sunk cost. A no-do-over event. Speaking from personal experience, when someone you care about, someone you love, dies, nothing can change that. Right now, over 67,000 families are experiencing that sunk cost.
Honestly, a lot of Americans feel like it’s not their problem. One person referred to the cities as “cesspools”. I guess that means they deserve to die? Apparently, he’s never been to Appalachia and seen the poverty there. Do they deserve to die? What is the magic number for those who argue the statistics are over-stated? We went ape-shit over 3,000 on 9-11 and have spent almost two decades at war, killing and destroying our economy by spending trillions on endless wars.
This will last, at the very least, two years. Yes, we can’t be shut down that long. But we can’t be as stupid as we are being. We have 4% of the world’s population but right now, at this moment, 25% of the COVID-19 deaths. And we’re supposedly a first-world country.
What does that mean? We need to plan beyond. To a world where we have to live side by side with a potentially lethal virus. I see people enthusiastic that prison populations are getting tested and showing a high level of positive, asymptomatic people. Which means an inability to think that through: it means our world is saturated with COVID-19.
What to plan for? A few basics. As states are re-opening in the midst of record positives and deaths, we can anticipate disastrous results. Certain businesses are pretty much done for, no matter how much money we throw at them: Cruise lines. Movie theaters. Sports arenas? Nope.
Restaurants? My brother owns one. Hate to say it, but its gonna take a couple of years to bounce back, not a couple of months.
Is the business model sustainable? For writers like me—will Barnes and Noble survive? I’ve always posed that as a hypothetical for authors to factor into their business plans and mostly been ignored by traditional authors. But the traditional midlist is getting devastated right now. I wonder what print runs for new releases are? They have to have been cut drastically.
I know debut authors who have come out during this and my heart goes out to them. I see that publishing houses are laying off editors and publicists and others. The reality is, no matter how much people complain, Amazon is keeping the pulse of publishing beating. Imagine if it didn’t exist? That’s not an ethical or moral thing, just a reality. For trad authors? Start going hybrid ASAP! I’ve been saying that for a decade.
In fact, that’s my advice overall. I’ve been composing an email to my son, who has tested negative but had a cloud in his X-ray and had exhibited all the symptoms weeks before the test, so I’m curious to see if he has the antibodies, because I really do believe he had COVID-19—anyway, I’m writing him to prepare for a future where one relies on what they control, not what others control. Yes, Amazon will control your fate to a large extent as an indie author, but deal with the reality of that, read The Everything Store, and be prepared for the possibility of getting screwed over. But get as much control as you can over your fate!
That even extends to basics like starting a garden! More to come.
I’ve given away over 2,000 copies of my Survival Guide in pdf to those who’ve asked. I will continue to do that for those who need it and things are tight. Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
For those who are bored and need a long series to read, the first nine books of my Area 51 series are only .99 USD/GBP and 1.99 AUD each this month. Plus, I’ve got rotating freebies all the time; right now The Fifth Floor, which is my wildest book in terms of style, is free. If you like Westworld, give it a shot.
Stay safe. Stay as positive as you can be in dark times. Be like Cool Gus. Or even Scout.
The Green Beret Preparation and Survival Guide. Also now in Kindle Unlimited.
The Green Beret Pocket-Sized Survival Guide (same as above, minus the preparation part in order to be smaller in print)