The Hardest Thing To Quantify About The Global Lockdown May Not Be The Economic Impact

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A Bloomberg


today highlighted that cannabis use hit an all-time high in March across the US amid lockdown measures in the country.

While not entirely surprising, it is one of the many social tendencies exacerbated by the lockdown measures in place globally and something that could have lasting effects the longer the restrictions continue to be in place over the coming weeks/months.

People with addiction will have the tendency to abuse those addictions even more i.e. alcohol abuse, substance abuse, even domestic violence is something to consider as well.

There's also unintended social repercussions such as an

increase in divorce rates

or people developing exacerbated fears about the virus and are refusing to ever step outside.

And even with lockdown measures are eased, what does a return to "normal" even mean?

The way I see it, people who are skeptical and particularly vulnerable to the virus will likely be afraid to contract the disease, and so prefer to still stay at home most of the time.

Meanwhile, there are also people who have lost their jobs and will be more financially restrained over the next few months/years amid safety and economical pressures.

Then, you also have to think about the loss in quality of life. If social distancing and inconvenient precautionary measures stay the course, it is going to be a hard adjustment.

The usual quick trip to the grocery store before hitting up a cafe for lunch may instead take twice or thrice as long now on a typical day. For some people, they cannot afford the time and will change the way they go about their "normal" social tendencies.

Governments can do as much as they can to limit the financial damage and put money into people's pockets, but safety is something that nobody can guarantee right now.

There are going to be millions, if not billions, of people who are changing the way that they will behave, consume, spend, or even invest once things start to go back to "normal".

How does one actually quantify what these changes in social/human behaviour may mean and even more so, how will this tie back to the economic impact globally?

It is essentially easier to quantify the economic damage seen now because we have a benchmark from the previous quarters to compare to.

But what about the economic changes when we learn to live with the virus over the next 12-18 months? I don't think anybody can say for certain because one needs to try and quantify the changes in social behaviour outlined above and that is virtually impossible.