Near the beginning of the COVID-19 crisis, I proclaimed, “WHO is John Galt.” A slight play on words of the famous line at the beginning of Ayn Rand’s novel Atlas Shrugged. John Galt is a character in the novel who protests collectivism by going on strike. John Galt is a producer in a world of consumers and communists. Quoting Wikipedia, John Galt
“believes in the power and glory of the human mind, and the rights of individuals to use their minds solely for themselves. He serves as a highly individualistic counterpoint to the collectivist social and economic structure depicted in the novel, in which society is based on oppressive bureaucratic functionaries and a culture that embraces mediocrity in the name of egalitarianism, which the novel posits is the end result of collectivist philosophy. “
..and this quote:
The use of Galt as a symbol in the context of political or social protest has taken root in some places. The phrase “going John Galt” or simply “going Galt” has been used by psychologist Helen Smith and others to describe productive members of society cutting back on work in response to the projected increase in U.S. marginal tax rates, increased limits on tax deductions, and the use of tax revenues for causes they regard as immoral. “Who is John Galt?” signs were seen at Tea Party protests held in the United States and at banking protests in London in April 2009.
When I said, “WHO is John Galt,” I was referring to the World Health Organization (WHO) and its impact on the industrial engine of the world. While John Galt is fictitious, the result of WHO’s pronouncements is not. The effort to preserve and protect the lives of people around the world comes at the expense of our abundant and productive livelihood. What legacy of poverty will we leave our grandchildren if preventing the spread of COVID-19 reduces our standard of living?
We are seeing early signs of economic collapse in the US. Store shelves once full of goods are now about 66% full. The price of oil has fallen to unheard-of levels. The future price of oil is -$37/barrel. There is such a glut of fuel it’s now thought you’ll have to pay someone to consume it.
Protesters wish to open the country for business. The thought among working-class people is, “If this continues, where are we going to work, and how are we going to make money to buy food, shelter, and clothing?” Good questions.
Removing social distancing and opening the economy to profitability means there will be more people infected with COVID-19 and more deaths. Until there is a treatment plan, and until there is a vaccine, COVID-19 will spread throughout the world. In terms of fatalities, we are at the beginning of the curve. There is a whole continent, Africa, that will be infected and die in huge numbers due to lack of healthcare.
But American issues are closer to home.
HOW WILL WE LIVE WITH COVID-19 UNTIL THERE IS A TREATMENT PLAN AND A VACCINE?
This is the question we must answer very soon.
These supply chain interruptions will grow and grow. Fewer and fewer goods will be produced. There will be fewer goods to buy anywhere, of any kind, if factories close and if consumers don’t have money to buy them.
Right now, we are living off the wealth in our storehouses. When the storehouses are empty, people will die. When the producers can’t produce, and the transporters have nothing to transport, people will suffer. We are six weeks into this crisis, and we still struggle to find toilet paper, paper towels, and hand sanitizer. This is not the result of a thriving economy but a struggling one.
I suspect we have another four weeks of food supply before shortages hit the major cities and become news. I heard today that local food suppliers could fill only about 60% of food orders. The number of brand options is already reduced. Coca Cola is no longer producing its off-brands. Others are doing the same.