We Weren’t Built for Modern Life

Posted on Friday, April 10th, 2020 at 11:32 pm

I had a epiphany this morning as I watched videos about toilet paper supply chains and read a Twitter thread by a frustrated parent trying to balance full time work with family & managing her first grader’s virtual school work. We were not designed to live in these modern societies we’ve built.

Just like so many companies that are designed for maximum efficiency, our personal lives run on razor thin margins. It doesn’t take a lot of disruption to throw things completely out of whack and everything spirals. Then think of all the systems our lives interface with: our employers, our kid’s childcare, school, educational institutions, stores, government infrastructure. All designed to run on the same thin resources to maximize value and minimize cost. Heck, even the economy is so fragile that a single poorly worded announcement sends the stock market plummeting.

In our attempts to maximize every resource, we’ve left ourselves with no padding and we’re skittish as a result.

This pandemic is forcing us all to slow down and it’s revealing the weakness in our systems. We suddenly discover how important the minimum wage retail worker is and are forced to recognize that our collective wellness is tied to those that can’t afford health insurance or decent health care.

Maybe at the end of all this we’ll be able to make real changes. I’m hopeful.