Starting last fall you’ve probably heard people talking about a “k-shaped recovery”.
Investopedia says it’s when two parts of the economy recover at different rates after a recession, but I most often hear it in the context of the haves and have-nots.
I think much of our world has become k-shaped, and I think the separation of the top and bottom is accelerating. Here are some examples that jump to mind.
Income and wealth distribution
Belief in vaccines
Belief in America
Belief in science
Belief in Liberalism
Belief in Capitalism over Communism
The unique problem we have is that when the bottom part gets low enough, or far enough away from the top, the whole enterprise is at risk. And by “enterprise”, I mean the country, or society. This k-shaped concept is true for economic recoveries, and it’s true for Democracy.
You know what else was K-shaped? France, before the revolution. K-shaped is a typographical proxy for wrought with peril, and we are wrought.
It’s not so much what people believe, or how well-off people are. It’s the delta between groups matters more, at least for cohesion. And where we’re heading right now is unsustainable.
We’re likely heading for a new COVID crisis this fall, with some saying it’ll be as bad or worse than last time. But if the vaccines hold, it’ll mostly be a certain type of people dying.
That could spawn yet another economic blip due to lockdowns, but that will mostly be a certain type of people suffering.
And one group will blame the stupid people who didn’t get vaccinated, while the other will quietly die of what can only be a really aggressive flu.
Meanwhile the stock market booms, and some people are living their best lives.
Everything is K-shaped right now.