In addition to the health and humanitarian dramas, economic setbacks and deprivation of our freedoms that they caused from 2020 to 2022, the pandemic and the management that has been made of it have also had particularly damaging and above all lasting consequences on behavior human beings and on the smooth running of our societies. Thus, across the planet, more and more human beings have wished to leave their jobs, even to put themselves on the margins of society. This phenomenon has even given rise to a formula: The Great Resignation (in French: the Great Resignation).
But who exactly are these quits? According to a study by the St. Louis Federal Reserve, it’s mostly young and old. The former thus often resumed their studies or decided to speculate on the financial markets. The latter generally left… in early retirement. How did they manage to take such a risk? For some, household aid in the form of checks was able to give them a breath of fresh air. For others, the performance of the stock market and cryptocurrencies has also allowed them to inflate their wealth… temporarily…
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These mass movements therefore logically led to labor shortages in almost all sectors of activity. As a result, more and more companies around the world, mainly in the developed world, have had to refuse orders for lack of manpower to be able to fulfill them. And this is where the coronavirus pandemic, the confinements and the measures that have been taken by the public authorities have completely broken the scale of values.
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Indeed, if the development of teleworking and aids of all kinds were useful in 2020, at the start of the pandemic, their excessive use simply tainted the value of work. Surreptitiously, the fact of “working” from home, almost alone in your corner or not working at all and still receiving an income has started to make some people forget that the salary comes pay for work. In France, it will even have caused an “epidemic of laziness”…
Similarly, more and more employees have forgotten that teamwork and face-to-face work is an exceptional source of value creation and therefore of income and wealth. Here too, the scale of values has been broken. Indeed, the rapid and impressive rise of cryptocurrencies and also of the valuation of digital companies or even “unicorns” has completely undermined the model of gradual success over the long term and by the force of the wrist.
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From then on, more and more citizens, mainly from the young generation, but not only, were able to believe that they had discovered a new “martingale”: what is the point of working for years, when in a few months it is possible to pocket what some will not even touch in a lifetime?! This new way of life based on the very short term and an irresponsible lure of gain has therefore been able to encourage some to leave the labor market to find a place in the sun without effort.
Only here, if some were able to benefit from it for a few months, even a few years, most bit the dust with the collapse of the valuation of cryptocurrencies, many digital stocks and unicorns. For those who have forgotten, let us remember that the latter were valued at a minimum of 1 billion dollars, whereas they had never made a penny of profit and that, for the vast majority of them, they did not will ever realize.
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It should also be noted that these bubbles, or rather these collective blind spots, were made possible by the profusion of injections of liquidity from the central banks, also known as “money printing”. This strategic error notably made it possible to keep interest rates on government bonds artificially low, even sometimes negative, while public debts reached stratospheric levels.
Once again, this reign of “magic money”, with negative interest rates, contributed to breaking the scale of values, fueling financial bubbles of all kinds and letting the greatest number believe that the valuation of companies in loss or cryptocurrencies had no limit. But, very fortunately, all excesses come to an end and the clocks are regularly set. So, now that those bubbles have burst, it’s clear that those who thought they were done with the job are falling over the top. Worse, with the return of high inflation, the developed countries are falling back into a serious recession.
Consequently, after having been masked by bubbles of all kinds and by labor shortages, unemployment will unfortunately rise again sharply. In this context, the employees who were choosy and maintained the auctions with companies in desperate search of an unobtainable workforce risk becoming disillusioned. For those who have experienced the Internet bubble and/or the subprime bubble, this phenomenon is not new. But the human being forgets. He forgets that bubbles are always followed by crashes and phases of reconnection to economic reality and common sense.
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It is true that by breaking the scale of values, the pandemic, or rather the political management that has been made of it, has prolonged the bubbles and the grip of the unreal. Haven’t we managed to sell simple computer files for millions of dollars on the Metaverse? Without the collective blindness born of the pandemic and the billions of euros and dollars squandered in vain, all these excesses would certainly not have been possible.
Only here, by lack of discernment and by facility, the leaders of the planet and a part of Humanity let them impose themselves. To the chagrin of economic rationality but also of future generations. Because, let’s face it, contrary to what some would have us believe, we will now have to pay the bills.
Marc Touati, economist, president of the ACDEFI firm and author of 7 economic best sellers
His new book, RESET II – Welcome to the World After, released September 1, 2022, is the best-selling business essay on Amazon.
You can also find his video chronicles on his Youtube channel the last of which: Stock market, Euro, Cryptos… will the roller coaster last?