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Judgment Day over leadership on the horizon

Throw political or economic ideology out of the door; whatever works is the new logic.

The question of “who leads?”, whether it is the scientist, economist or the market ideologist, has been the subject of capitalism or socialism.

Or the debates on a free market versus command economy to new considerations — neither being right or wrong, but whatever works at any given moment becomes the best or at least the new imperative.

No matter the perspective from which we look, this virus brought the end of the world as we knew it. Governments, governors and leaders around the world are declaring rules that will determine how people and the economy move.

This leadership determinism has become necessary. The notion of gaining consensus, waiting for all to agree, has been lost to expediency and at this time few will argue that expediency, otherwise frowned upon, is the best medicine.

Yet life goes on and we know this Covid-19 is not an eternal problem and we will overcome it. The question is when and what will be the ultimate cost?

Best estimates suggest the world will have come to terms with handling the health threats, which impair personal contacts, by next autumn. The economic cost, however, will go on for years.

The big issue immediately facing the economies of all countries is how to restart the economy. OK, it's easy for a shop to reopen its doors and have its shelves stocked and ready to go. It's not as easy to find the customers with money in their pockets to purchase those items off the shelves.

Then there is a chain effect that businesses don't make enough money to pay their staff, their rent or mortgages, and loans.

Bermuda is not like America: we don't have a central bank that can just decide to print more dollars. OK, we could, but it would only mean devaluation as we split our currency to increase circulation. So we are stuck with the age-old formula that we have to earn our way out of this situation.

The possibility of becoming buried in more debt is not just likely, it is an inevitability. If we thought yesterday was not good, tomorrow will be infinitely worse.

This is not an attack, it's just the state of our national reality. We need major cash initiatives running simultaneously that bring in foreign exchange. It is either that, which also means debt but with a product worth far more to the country at the end of the day, or it is increased debt burden with no returns other than paying for people who were unemployed. The options before us are that simple.

Bermuda cannot go forward on the old paradigm with hopes of succeeding in this global pandemic. If there is a time when we need to respond to our challenge as one community, it is now.

We cannot make it as a fragmented society. This is not a swim-or-sink; the call is greater — it's a fly or sink. To put it metaphorically, this is not a “come to Jesus moment”. That time was yesterday, This moment is “Judgment Day”, when those who are in the grave will remain and only those who have embraced the higher truth will rise up.

This is an earth-changing moment. Countries that cling to their old habits, which bind them to morbidity, will essentially become buried for ever in the rubble of this calamity. But countries who have overcome their societal issues will face this calamity united and emerge with greater strength.

The old tools of collectivism, such as strikes and demands for more, will recede as quickly as will ranked capitalism and corporate greed. There is a new world dawning and we need to grab it and rise to the occasion or become buried in time.

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Published April 17, 2020 at 9:00 am (Updated April 17, 2020 at 8:56 am)

Judgment Day over leadership on the horizon

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