The world after COVID

The jury is still very much out on the longterm effects of the COVID-19 Pandemic and subsequent economic lockdowns. Everyone has a sense that the world is profoundly changed from a year ago, although very few have the breadth of knowledge or confidence to say precisely how. Scott Galloway is the exception. In Post Corona published last Fall, he lays out a compelling analysis of the events of 2020 and speculates about their longterm impact.

The author’s background is of particular importance to the book. Scott Galloway is a professor of business, in particular marketing, at NYU. He is a prominent voice on all things business and tech with not one but two podcasts, namely Pivot and The Prof G Show. He is also the author of several books, a speaker, and an entrepreneur. Many of the ideas presented in this book are rehashes of things he has said elsewhere, in particular on the Prof G Show which was launched right before the pandemic in February 2020.

One of the book’s key ideas is that COVID served more to accelerate and supercharge preexisting economic trends more than anything else. E-commerce is the best example of this. Amazon has been a dominant and ever growing force in the US and global economy for years now, but when small businesses and local stores were shutdown and everyone required to social distance, Amazon was able to capitalize on the crisis and experienced massive growth. Galloway reports that between the start of the pandemic and July of 2020, Amazon’s stock had gone up 67%.

This leads into the other main focus of the book: Big Tech. If you’re familiar with Scott Galloway’s work, you know that he advocates strongly for trustbusting, or at the very least regulating, such tech giants like Amazon, Facebook, and Google. Even before 2020, these companies were incredibly powerful, profitable, and talent-dense. Amazon in particular was perfectly situated for success in a world where all brick and mortar stores were closed and so much of people’s lives moved online.

The “culling” of many unsustainable business models and companies together with the stunning growth of big tech has caused a marked rise in inequality. This has only been exacerbated by the federal government intervening on behalf of certain “essential” industries, while not doing enough to aid the average citizen. Galloway turns this to a broader critique of capitalism. His proposed solutions include further regulation on big tech as well as efforts to promote community and civic responsibility among the public. Galloway traces many of America’s shortcomings during the last year to a general lack of community spirit at every level.

Galloway is strongly opinionated and makes zero bones about this. This isn’t a problem in itself, but there is something ironic about an author pontificating on the future, when the present remains so uncertain. While his political opinions may be off-putting to some, there’s no denying he’s an excellent researcher and a phenomenally engaging writer. How does he stack up as a prophet? Only the future will tell.

Post Corona: From Crisis to Opportunity by Scott Galloway is available for purchase here.

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