business news in context, analysis with attitude

Columnist Steven Pearlstein has an excellent piece in the Washington Post this morning in which he challenges the notion that the world will change forever as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.

"There is, of course, a germ of truth and a measure of logic behind many of these prognostications, alongside the rampant myopia and overreach," he writes.  "But if history is any guide, once a vaccine has been found and the economic storm has passed, life will return pretty much to the way it was before."

He goes on:  "The coronavirus crash was fast and hard. The recovery will be slow and uneven.  That said, the pandemic will certainly accelerate some structural changes in the economy that were already underway."

Like the demise of many department stores.   And the demise of many of the malls that house them.  And the growth of e-commerce.

It is an excellent and provocative column, and you can read it here.

Here's one more excerpt:

Even before the pandemic, there were encouraging signs that American capitalism was beginning to shed its single-minded focus with maximizing shareholder value. Companies that offered shoddy products and services began to find themselves at the receiving end of nasty social media campaigns, while those whose business models depend on squeezing employees, despoiling the environment and ignoring their responsibility to the rest of society were finding it increasingly hard to attract the most sought-after talent.

"The pandemic has given fresh impetus to that shift."

KC's View:

I hope so.