Those who lived through the Great Depression spent the rest of their lives saving every penny they could, and placing them only in the safest of investments.
This severe worldwide economic depression of the 1930s changed how an entire generation (or two) lived on a day-to-day basis. It also changed how everyone prepared for the future.
The current pandemic is likely to have the same effect. Just take two bits of news I read today:
- The Bangladeshi garment industry is collapsing in large part because shopping malls in Western cities are closed.
- Pigs near Las Vegas are starving because the casino strip no longer produces 20 tons of food waste every day.
A crisis exposes vulnerabilities in a system. In most cases, these vulnerabilities were not invisible before the crisis. They were simply deemed unlikely, thus ignored.
The garment worker, the factory owner, and the pig farmer will have this crisis on their mind for the rest of their lives. It will change how they work, how they assess risk, and how they live, just like the Great Depression did.
More importantly for the very near term, business leaders and workers will make important decisions to save their businesses or, in some cases, their lives. These decisions will have significant compliance and ethical considerations. For now, and for the future.
Are they ready?