My “Corona Top 5”

Ed Elson
3 min readApr 20, 2020

Some predictions for corona.

My granddad asked me how I think the Coronavirus will change my life, other peoples’ lives, and society in general. The range of implications is obviously massive, and I have previously found it tough to steer the Corona Conversation in the right direction. This time, I curated a Top 5 of predictions, and I encourage you to do the same. Here is my “Corona Top 5”:

1) Yangian data-oriented politics will accelerate to the fore:

If Main Street physical stores were endangered, they are now practically extinct. Lockdown has further accelerated the power of the big tech companies. We are stuck inside, Instagramming, Facebooking, Tweeting, and Googling more, which means that Zuckerberg & Friends are amassing our private information with practically zero data protection law at an exponential rate. We will soon recognize that the behemoth power of Facebook is the single greatest threat to our safety and livelihood, and government will scramble to shut it down.

2) Elite colleges will expand class sizes enormously and offer online degrees:

The Ivy League admissions process is already unfair and everyone knows it. The success of online classes will compel Harvards, Yales and Princetons to provide education more equitably for more students. Their multi-billion dollar endowments will invest less in constructing cool-looking buildings, and more in building online infrastructures (the majority of which are already outdated). This will create a new class divide: those who physically went to Princeton versus those who went virtually. New inequities will emerge — legacy kids might have higher likelihoods of getting in “physically,” and they will get the invigorating social campus experience that I’ve enjoyed. Companies might prefer hiring those with physical degrees because they will likely have better social skills. Etc.

3) The socio-economic gap will widen:

White-collar workers are relatively unaffected by the virus. Bankers, lawyers, consultants, and coders can do nearly all their work from home on a computer. All “non-essential” blue-collar and service workers, who are only useful when they go to work physically, are now generating zero income. Those who have been laid off will struggle to find work when they emerge because every business that isn’t Facebook, Amazon, or Google will be in bad shape. Welfare programs will suffer unprecedented strains. Government will unsuccessfully try to rip eye-watering numbers of tax dollars from top businesses to fund their programs. Civil unrest will likely follow.

4) Many social norms will be politicized:

Corona-associated actions will accentuate political differences. Shaking hands, for example, will be a hot-button issue. Democrats will avoid hand-shaking because they are “snowflake wussy libtards who cry about invisible viral pathogens”. Republicans will embrace hand-shaking because they are “apathetic religious nutcases who don’t care about public wellbeing.”

5) Work-from-home will become a legitimate management model:

Some businesses are being forced to experiment with working from home, and I bet some will experience greater productivity. Working from home will be investigated for its benefits on employees and general operation, and some businesses will elect to make the switch once Corona ends.

That’s my top 5. A lot of it may sound depressing, but I think that Corona is pushing us faster toward major systemic change that was already bound to happen. The entire system is extremely fragile right now. Lots of people are very confused and very upset. The economy is about to reward those we don’t want to reward, and punish those we don’t want to punish. That’s the perfect cocktail for a major political shake-up and an opportunity for global positive change.

Thank you to my granddad, Dr. John Lee, for stimulating the conversation. Let me know your Top 5.