This post will probably age badly (as predictions often do), so I'll allow myself to go wild and say the future will be the more of the future we saw 30 years ago:
- The 2nd Soviet Union: the pandemic will reduce foreign dependency on China, serving as a biological wedge uncoupling the West and China further. I'm sure internal consumption can sustain economic growth for a little longer but, as Xi's tight grip on the country will only make it more likely to commit more blunders in the future, another world-class snafu can probably knock China out the podium of the greatest economies, with all the geopolitical consequences.
It took Japan one bubble burst to drift aimlessly for decades, after all. Causing a pandemic plus a random event might have a similar effect for China.
- Automation: Once production moves away from China, it's unlikely jobs will move along with the flow because people get sick, robots don't.
- Cashless Society: Now this one is odd. Sub-Saharan countries, such as Kenya, embraced technologies like M-Pesa, and debit cards are quite popular in emerging countries. Yet, paper money is still being thrown around like the time Marco Polo first saw it. That's pretty weird, if you think about it.
Sure, not everyone has access to banking, but that's what technologies such as M-Pesa were made for anyway.
- Climate Change Might Be Taken More Seriously: Nah, just kidding. We're barely taking an immediate threat seriously, let alone something in the near future.
“All I have learned, I learned from basslines.”