What will be changed forever
From: Sharon Villines (sharonsharonvillines.com)
Date: Fri, 17 Apr 2020 19:16:33 -0700 (PDT)
Politico — Coronavirus will change the world permanently. Here’s how. 
Interviews with 34 leading thinkers on what will happen next.


These interviews are interesting in that the thinkers are looking at different 
aspects of the upheaval. Last winter I read "Farewell to Alms: A brief economic 
history of the World" by Gregory Clark. Various passages from his work came 
back to me when I read this article.

Clark concludes that the amount of capital in the world (I have not a clue how 
economists measure capital) has remained constant throughout history. While 
there were wide economic disparities between classes and countries, the total 
amount of cash(?) walking around has been relatively stable for centuries. 
Technological advances have not increased prosperity because population growth 
has cancelled out the advantages of innovation. Innovations have just kept more 
and more of us even on the treadmill of history.

The events that led to growth and change were the plagues. Waves of prosperity 
and growth followed the waves plagues. The plagues both reduced the population 
and enabled/forced beneficial socio-economic changes. 

Those interviewed for this article expect change because we will be more aware 
of the importance of government and the nature of our urban environment. How 
important the parks have been, for example, for being outside and still 
distanced, and how much cars are taking up space that people need. How poor our 
medical system is and how much we need a national health program.

One area of India has neighborhood councils mandated by the regional 
government. Those neighborhoods are well organized and accustomed to taking 
care of each other and maintaining the social order. These neighborhoods are 
surviving the coronavirus pandemic much better than any other part of India. 

I suspect this is very much like how things happened in cohousing communities. 
We have understood structures of order and habits of cooperation. At Takoma 
Village, people have taken isolation and sanitizing seriously and no one argued 
(except over using bleach vs a range of other things). People sanitize daily 
and interpret how we can observe the new weekly legal restrictions. It has been 
much easier to be isolated here than my friends report being in their 
neighborhoods and buildings. I also don’t have to be fearful that my neighbors 
are about to be struck down. 

It was actually a chance for a good laugh when the son of one of our most 
senior citizens was insisting that she go to New York to stay with him so he 
could keep her safe. She was calling around to get advice on whether she really 
should go. It didn’t make sense to her and her didn’t want to leave home. She 
was well assured that it is much safer in cohousing with a whole host of people 
to watch out for her and provide a safer immediate environment. And help her 
figure out how to use the ATM safely.

Sharon Villines
Takoma Village Cohousing, Washington DC

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