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24 Jun

As quickly the tide turns

At the moment we are all taking a distance - with and without a mask. Does that really correspond to our nature? How long will we be able to do without direct social contacts? One thing is certain: the obligation to wear a mask remains in corona times in public spaces until medication and vaccines are available. However, it should be allowed to think about the type and scope either way. Incidentally, we are also increasingly seeing “ownerless” masks lying on streets, paths and squares where otherwise only empty “to-go cups” or fast food packaging could be found.

When we celebrated the turn of the year 2019/2020, no one suspected which dramatic course the new year would soon take. Many first heard of certain events in China after a few weeks. Nobody worried. Because there was nothing to suggest that the virus could spread rapidly from the Chinese province of Wuhan around the world. Today we know how quickly the tide can turn.

Who would have believed that Corona could bring the economic and social life to a standstill global? But that's exactly what happened. Global travel activities, après-ski at winter sports and full halls at trade fairs, sports and games quickly became multipliers, among other things, and caused unprecedented consequences.

Continent by continent, state by state, gradually fell into a kind of shock. Existences came into crisis being completely without fault on account of state restrictions to protect the population. Fundamental rights have been drastically restricted. Until then, underestimated professional groups suddenly became "systemically important". Since then, the tiny corona virus has effortlessly pushed topics such as environmental protection, climate catastrophe and political disputes as well as nationalism out of the headlines.

Traffic jams and air traffic were temporarily gone. Even if utopias did not become realities, supposed impossibilities suddenly appeared conceivable: in parallel with the bad events, nature recovered in many places - rivers and lakes became clearer, the sky bluer. This unplanned "field trial" impressively demonstrated that CO2 emissions can actually be reduced.

Not to forget, crises cost money: in the past, financial politicians often argued loudly and violently before loosening up millions of Euros. Today, even billions of Euros flow almost silently from the public coffers. But this mine will still have to be settled by future generations, whether people or companies. That will only be one of the monetary consequences. It is important to establish timely and, above all, the broadest possible social consensus when paying the follow-up costs in societies and states.

On the other hand, it has become clear to everyone that global business sharing requires open borders and a functioning trade in goods and business. The question quickly arises as to whether we always have to have all food on the table at all times? Or would it be better to produce and market everything regionally and in a way that conserves resources? Perhaps it would also make more sense to focus on what is necessary or essential than the constant claim to “everything that works”? Do strawberries have to be for Christmas?

I am convinced that (long-distance) travel, including to certain major events, will decrease significantly in the next few years. The recent successful online conferences from home or from the office will make some trips unnecessary, perhaps even superfluous. Whether private long-distance holiday travel will return to the usual proportions is likely to depend largely on the satisfaction of individual health and safety aspects both during the trip itself and at the destination.

Get through this time well

With Best Regards

Walter Thieme
WTH Managing Director