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No Mercy No Malice

The Great Dispersion

December 4, 2020

5-min read

The pandemic’s most enduring feature will be as an accelerant of existing trends. The trend that encapsulates the greatest reshuffling of stakeholder value in recent history is … the Great Dispersion. Similar to prior macro trends like globalization and digitization, it offers enormous opportunity, but also real threats.

In 1997, I was asked to address the board of Levi Strauss & Co. on the future of brands and retail. The title of my presentation was “The Death of Distance.” My basic rap was that all brands needed to establish a direct relationship with the consumer (e-commerce). We are entering the post-distance era, as tech has dispersed ever larger segments of the economy without regard for existing distribution channels.

Amazon dispersed retail to desktop, to mobile, to voice. Netflix dispersed DVDs to our mailbox, then to every screen. The pandemic is causing dispersion in even larger industries — the greatest opportunity for wealth creation in decades. Work from home, telemedicine, and remote learning represent an impending disruption of over 25% of the U.S. economy. The largest sectors are about to leapfrog HQ, doctor’s offices, hospitals, and campuses. 

Not all dispersion is about “x from home” or from cities to smaller towns. Social media is a form of dispersion, enabling connections, competition, and debate despite physical distance, print, and paywalls — the dispersal of community. It has also removed healthy friction (truth, science, editors) resulting in an afterburner for misinformation and conspiracy. 

Dispersion offers the same potential for wealth creation as globalization and digitization. This time around, however, we must be more conscious of downsides. Previous paradigm shifts catalyzed massive prosperity but little progress. We’ve embraced a winner-take-all economy crowding the spoils to fewer firms and people.   

In 2018, the top 1% of U.S. households controlled 32% of total household wealth, up from 23% in 1989. The result of increasing inequality has been a rise in anger, nationalism, and a drift away from the cooperative international framework. 

Erosion of Empathy

The Great Dispersion will create many winners, on several levels. Commuting and business travel are two of the modern world’s most wasteful activities. Commuters waste an average of 54 hours a year stalled in traffic, and the average passenger vehicle emits 5 metric tons of carbon dioxide a year. That waste is saved when the commute is to the home office or a local shared workspace, or when the kick-off meeting is held in a virtual conference center. 

While this dispersion has tangible benefits, it also has the power to erode our weakening ties of community and cooperation. The office is more than a place of work, it’s an equalizer, as Esther Perel said. Meeting people from different backgrounds, running into someone by the water cooler, having a spontaneous lunch with someone you barely know — chance connections are aspects of the office many of us miss. 

Dispersal is cousin to segregation, and segregation reduces empathy. One study found that in integrated communities, white residents had warmer feelings towards other ethnic groups when the percent of those groups increased — but in segregated communities, feelings towards other groups grew colder as the population of those groups increased. 

Integration and contact improve intergroup relations. Negativity arises when like-minded individuals are isolated from diversity. Contact is most effective at increasing understanding when it’s non-confrontational. 

The pandemic has given us a preview of our dispersed future. Today we have social distancing — tomorrow the distancing will be structural. In a dispersed world we’ll have fewer encounters involving diversity of skin color, economic status, and gender/sexual/political orientation. When we do have these encounters, they are in the wrong context. Arguing with a stranger over a mask isn’t likely to produce tolerance as much as it will reinforce existing stereotypes.  

Are We Still a Nation?

The structural distancing of the Great Dispersion presents an enormous threat to our commonwealth, a further erosion in empathy. We no longer go to movies, the subway, malls, public school, the grocery store or our polling station. We don’t experience the mentally ill vet panhandling at the freeway off-ramp, the single mom bringing us our food, the immigrant drying our car. Poor kids won’t see that rich kids are no different then they, and vice versa. 

Nation is defined as “a large body of people united by common descent, history, culture, or language, inhabiting a particular country or territory.” Are we still a nation? This is a serious question … The evidence of our weakening community, our degraded empathy, is all around us. The pandemic has been a preview of that, too. While it kills Americans at three times the rate of WWII, haven’t we outsourced the costs to poor people of color and frontline workers? 

Pandemic Profiteers

The two largest asset classes in America are residential real estate and stocks. 10% of the population controls 70% of the value of these assets. Both are trading at all-time highs as we bury 2,800 Americans a day, Tesla is up 590% YTD, and 1 in 4 households have experienced food insecurity this year. Jeff Bezos is worth more than every citizen in Vermont, Alaska, and Wyoming combined, while a fourth of Americans can’t pay their rent.

Compare this with the nation we were before we started dispersing into our bubbles. Within weeks of the outbreak of WWll, Chrysler built a factory in the Detroit suburbs that manufactured more tanks than the entire Third Reich. Today, Amazon and Walmart enjoy record sales and stock gains from stimulus. When young men refused the draft in WWII, we imprisoned five thousand of them. Today, we tolerate people who refuse to wear a mask to Walmart and give audience and platforms to cries of “tyranny.” 

When a member of the armed services dies on active duty, their family immediately receives $100,000 to ease their grief and burden. When an immigrant head of a food-insecure family takes his diabetes medication, piles Diet Cokes into an cooler, turns on his Uber driver app, contracts Covid, and dies, his family is denied death benefits, as Proposition 22 — supported by $205 million from sharing economy firms (Uber, Lyft, DoorDash) — has made it legal to deny his family death benefits.

Wonder Woman 

The Amazonian woman, and all 2021 WarnerMedia films, are coming directly to our screens. Another dispersion, from movie theaters to living rooms. This represents a larger trend, the Great Dispersion, and enormous economic opportunities. It also represents a greater threat — the loss of empathy and what it means to be a nation, to sit in a movie theater with people who don’t look like you. Diana Prince comes to American living rooms with strength and integrity, in the pursuit of peace and justice. She’ll find America, but not a nation. 

Life is so rich,

P.S. My new book, Post Corona, became a NYT bestseller. Thx to everyone who bought one. If you haven’t yet, please buy one for yourself, your parents, your child, and your dog.

83 comments

  1. Ashish Thomas says:

    The post really did resonate with me , but more importantly the 0andemic has brought dispersion and a large part of it is permanent. How much of the negative intonations of this dispersion is going to be indelible ?

  2. Harrison says:

    Great perspective. Especially on identification with a “single Nation”. A set of mutually agreed principals shrinking. I think, if this was all just a test run for the alien invasion, we’ve hopeless.

  3. zoe rogers says:

    Are you kidding? People love working remotely. And post corona will return to mixing socially.

  4. Will Burns says:

    I love the concept of a “Great Dispersion.” Spot on. I was excited to read this because I’m launching a SaaS platform targeted to advertising agencies to help them come up with ideas virtually (ideasiclex.com). I’d love your thoughts.

  5. Jason says:

    Very thought provoking and a little troubling. Will be thinking about this one for awhile.

  6. Folong says:

    nice

  7. George Randolph Dirth says:

    Actually, my dog DOES love your book!

  8. Ralph Brown says:

    The USA has always had both the super rich and the super poor. Hopefully, you can climb out of it. Also: 1. You assume that wearing a mask actually helps society, hundreds of doctors disagree with you. 2. While Bezos is super rich in corporate stock, that corporate stock has the potential to help a lot of smaller individuals. He did not go into anyone’s house and steal it. His business earns it. I don’t agree with Bezos on a lot of stuff, but I don’t begrudge him for making it.

    • Marc L says:

      At the risk of proving that Scott’s thesis that dispersion comes at the cost of empathy, your are an idiot. All legitimate scientific research shows masks help society and saves lives – even yours. Go cough up your idiocy somewhere else.

    • Ryan Christian McFerran says:

      @Marc L Not conclusive at all. In fact with it’s current application masks create more hand to face contact and higher risk of contraction. There has also been ZERO evidence of mask mandates lowering transmission of the virus, as cases continue to surge. The ‘experts’ said masks didnt work at the forefront of this pandemic. The ‘experts’ said mask mandates would drive new cases to zero. Time to stop trusting the ‘experts’

    • Bill Lee says:

      @Ryan Christian McFerran Just what we need. Random dudes holding forth on what we need to do to fight the pandemic. Seriously. Shut up.

    • Anonymous says:

      @Bill Lee They don’t wear them because people like you are dicks to them in the first place. Of course they reject anything coming from coastal elites, including facts – You create enemies with 48% of the country every single time you don’t hide your derision from the “basket of deplorables”.

    • Kevin McKenzie says:

      Seriously, Ralph?! Clearly, the dispersion of science data hasn’t made it to your living room. Isn’t there a conspiracy site on FB you’d rather be commenting on?

  9. Tito V. says:

    There is an issue with division in this country. We can not combat a national threat or crisis. Any sense of national sacrifice or united action is immediately slandered as “socialism” or “tyranny.” Granted our government has a leadership deficit that needs to be fixed, but the general discrediting of whole institutions is reckless. We can not expect to successfully deal with future national crises in our current state.

  10. Joshua Dale Carter says:

    Your content is so rich and well-thought out. Thank you for sharing this. While I’m also concerned about the growing wealth inequality in our nation and the massive growth of Amazon, I have a hard time faulting Bezos for it. While Americans were losing their jobs, he was hiring hundreds of thousands at $15+/hr. Amazon and Walmart made lockdowns even possible. What would we have done without them? Could he be more generous and open-handed? Of course, every billionaire could. But I’m thankful for his bold vision that got us to a place of quick provisions in the face of a pandemic.

  11. Steve J says:

    You don’t go far enough. America is headed toward another armed Civil War: The divide between political thought, mistrust of Government and Experts, an out-of-control Pandemic, a Decade-long Global recession to come, mounting environmental disasters causing death……

  12. michael johnson says:

    So, since we jailed thousands who refused to answer the call to fight German tyranny in WWII , we should do the same to those who won’t wear a cloth mask in WMT? And another ridiculous analogy… A military veteran dies defending his country and receives a $100,000 death benefit, but and immigrant that buys coca-cola and supports America through his/her purchasing and dies should also get $100,000. Huh?

    • xmiinc says:

      @michael johnson Analogies are not meant to be exact, they’re meant to be illustrative. I didn’t read anything that said we should lock up people not wearing masks, or that deceased immigrant families should get $100k. What I *DID* read is that we once knew the value of service to a community in need (WWII draft), and backed it up with penalties for refuseniks; and if you died working for an employer, that employer didn’t look for ways to sever ANY responsibility toward the family that depended on that paycheck.

    • Robert Casey says:

      @xmiinc yup!

  13. MLA says:

    How many inhabitants of Vermont, Alaska are you worth mr. Galloway? Because I have little doubts that you are among the wealthiest 1% in the US that “controls 32% of the household wealth”. It’s easy to be a socialist when you are rich. What are you actually doing to fight the inequality you are claiming? How are you helping the 25% of americans that can’t pay their rent? Or you are waiting also for Jeff Bezos to solve that problem?

    • xmiinc says:

      @MLA Attacking the author for his *presumed* financial success without knowing anything about the author is also “easy” and convenient. Worry less about what others are doing to create awareness and more about what YOU are doing.

  14. Bill Gilliam says:

    Hey dawn I bot the book at audible, it’s on the best seller list, relax life is rich and rich, Rich, RICH, R I C H is you! 🙂 Bill

  15. Sheila Santaw-Cameron says:

    Please send this to every Congress member and Senator! Maybe it will help them understand what is actually happening in our country and that they need to do something about it! Thanks again for your enlightening point of view. Sheila

  16. Carla says:

    Enjoyed this thought-provoking post and am thoroughly enjoying the new book. Question—how do you see the powerful concept of ‘reversion to the mean’ impacting the Great Dispersion? Perhaps I’m an optimist, but I think the dispersion is mostly temporary, largely because humans are inherently social. I think we’ll take the best of the Covid-era technologies and continue to use them to eliminate time-wasting, low-value human interactions, like grocery shopping, watching mediocre tv shows, and attending basic meetings, but we’ll revert right back to assembling in groups when the shared experience adds meaningful joy and value—maybe even at a higher rate than pre-Covid a la the amplified normalcy of the post-war, roaring Twenties.

  17. Justin Yan says:

    Loving the book so far Scott!

  18. Greg says:

    “When a member of the armed services dies on active duty, their family immediately receives $100,000 to ease their grief and burden. When an immigrant head of a food-insecure family takes his diabetes medication, piles Diet Cokes into an cooler, turns on his Uber driver app, contracts Covid, and dies, his family is denied death benefits, as Proposition 22 — supported by $205 million from sharing economy firms (Uber, Lyft, DoorDash) — has made it legal to deny his family death benefits.” When did contract work ever include death benefits, or any benefits? When I hire a plumber to fix a leaky pipe, I pay their invoice, we part company. The plumber handles their own benefits as they like. We don’t need laws that force employment paradigms on contract work. We need to educate citizens. If people want to be self employed, they can’t just take on all work that’s offered for them to do. This is the same for employment work. But, with employment, it’s often easier to figure out.

  19. Ashwani Kumar says:

    Prof Scott, what an eye opening concept of Dispersion and the question of are we going to be a Nation. Just wanted to add my perspective that perhaps this dispersion may be stronger in the developed world as compared to the developing. I am from India and I am already seeing the trend of trying to going back to the pre pandemic life. People are questioning the distancing and isolation and waiting to embrace the openness that life offers . People are back into malls and mom and pop stores , people are coming back to clubs and parks , restaurants are getting normal crowds . Bored of takeaways !

  20. matthew Smith says:

    Much of this is very true Scott, however why don’t you talk about what is good about America and Western Democracy. Come up with some actions we can all take to ensure it survives and prospers. God knows there are enough people attacking it from inside outside (China).

  21. Robert Witherspoon says:

    ah jeez, that was a bummer. while I appreciate your insights and totally agree, I hate to say, I’m more inclined to try to capitalize on the situation. and I have the sneaky suspicion you’re not immune to this contemplation, or at least the younger you would have def. tried to figure out “how to” maximize the situation at hand. i don’t know if you are still playing the market but you are obviously “investing” in the online media market and I don’t begrudge that just please don’t become one of “those” who are really good at pointing out all the “wrongs” without any real positive solutions. preferably not idealistic liberal hogwash.

  22. James Reitano says:

    AND if we’re going to implement this ’empathic capitalism’, it has to extend to all. A good start would be opening opportunities to all, and MAYBE institute ‘open hiring’. In other words, having the courage and generosity to train ( and yes possibly lose money) any individual regardless of their ‘academic status! ( is anyone up to this??) If we could all agree to take this step, it would break the back of the ‘University/ Banking/ Industrial Complex’ and create REAL opportunity for all.

  23. Scott says:

    Great Article, couldn’t agree with more.

  24. Mark White says:

    Excellent. You did something I really appreciate… when someone thinks longer and/or more on a topic and thereby articulates it better than my own ruminations, guess writing and reading are also accelerants. It is the same principle as FB, etc. algorithms as they present narrowed community as world view…

  25. Srinivas Ramdas Sunder says:

    Inequality is much discussed but what is not discussed is that it is a feature of inequity in how labor is treated vs capital. We fetishise capitalism, but what we should be fetishising is the free-market system and eliminating all kinds of incentives that favour one aspect of that system over the other. To start with, abolish capital gains as a category and treat ALL income as the same – whether from inheritance or investing or labour. There is no need to privilege capital over labour, and certainly not in the tax code. Index all income to inflation as well. And make the tax code as progressive as you need to barely stay on the left side of the Laffer curve. And while we’re at it, eliminate all tax-deductions as well. It won’t solve our problems, but it might make a marginal dent in the number of people who want to be hedgies rather than engineers.

  26. James Reitano says:

    Great article as usual but veers into a bit of the usual classist hand-wringing! If we are to punish wealth, why not also dismantle the ‘credentialist culture’ that we all seem to worship. all the while subjecting young people to mountains of debt in the name of obtaining vague certifications!

  27. Ron Dion says:

    Very deep; very scary. (Is the chart labelled correctly? “Returning” or “Returned”? And what the hell happened in November?)

    • Harry Pearson says:

      November has brought surging levels of infection, exceeding those of the spring, and is spread almost nationally (more regional hotspots in the spring). I’m assuming many companies that have the luxury to offer WFH but returned employees to the office are now looking at the numbers / listening to PH experts and offering WFH option again, extended into the summer 2021 in many cases.

  28. C Cook says:

    Thought provoking article, thanks. I do see the effort to ‘spread the wealth’ as just an excuse to loot the productive. Most of those people who have amassed the wealth did it themselves, not from inheritance. They also provide the jobs and likely fund the charities, churches, and community groups. Things that create opportunities for others. Ayn Rand warned us about the Looters, coming from the left, talking all the time about fairness while lining their own pockets. America is about equal opportunities, not equal outcomes. Celebrate those who used the opportunities wisely, not those who squandered them.

    • Helen says:

      You need to read Post Corona… Those who amassed the wealth did so from a position of inequity and privilege. I’m sure most worked very hard at it but they did so with advantages that have been (deliberately) baked into our legal, economic, and political systems. Opportunity is not currently equal. Time for some adjustments.

  29. Bernard van Zijl says:

    Thank you, great thinking, will buy your new book…

  30. Rob Rider says:

    I enjoyed reading this thought provoking article. The extra time not commuting this year has already given me more time to get to know my immediate neighbors. When COVID is over, I will venture further afield and get to know more neighbors and visit the local cafe, bars and restaurants more often – and I’ll be much more relaxed because I’ve saved myself an hour each day by not having to commute. Communities will get stronger at perhaps the expense of working relationships. I’m ok with that. Or perhaps remote workers will make more of an effort to meet with people for coffee/lunch/after work drinks with those they like from online meetings. I started at a new company in July 100% remote and I’ve struck up a rapport with a few people. We’ll definitely be meeting in person in an informal environment when COVID is over. The people who I don’t like so much I can much more easily avoid. I’m not seeing too much of a downside here. COVID will be over at some point.

    • Brian says:

      Great point. Not commuting, spending more time in neighborhoods – these lead to social benefits that Mr. Galloway doesn’t mention.

  31. Steve says:

    Fixed income is a bigger asset class than equities.

  32. William says:

    Scott, WWII analogies are inappropriate. If you study history up to Dec 1941 this country was very very divided, (Father Coughlin, anyone?) – after that Dec, we feared invasion, interned suspected enemies, turned away refugees, and more. BUT we rallied, we really rallied and fought an identifiable enemy. The world and our Country has faced pandemics before, we shall prevail, it will have costs …but with a free country and creative energies that it unleashes and embraces, we will prevail. Diana will find the American project still a work in ‘progress’.

  33. @pjesella says:

    @ProfGalloway from Vietnam-era veteran @pjesella & @NCMNPS ——- Regarding “Erosion of Empathy” and “Are We Still a Nation?” and my 40-year asking of experts like you about marketing a simple civic educational, national security human resource bill in Congress from 1979-82. ——- This bill proposed all youth between their 17th and 18th birthdays be encouraged to have local talks on civic education norms and be inspired to volunteer for service-learning experience with non-profits, AmeriCorps, etc., or military service. ——– Especially since the attacks on 9/11, I have gotten 100’s of photo encounters with experts, leaders in various related disciplines, along with generals and political leaders. ———-à By the near-zero feedback to me, means they lack empathy to this every zip code, youth wake-up service for MAGA or Build Back Better. ———– This is the great mystery in my life, why so many experts, leaders market ineffective Games, but to my are apathetic, and indifferent to a cost-effective, in the millions, catalyst towards a better USA, war on poverty, and more measurable productive civic results. More info at @pjesella and https://www.facebook.com/notes/peter-jesella/peters-written-oral-remarks-to-national-commission-on-military-national-and-publ/2196275167117721/ PJ

  34. Monet Clarke says:

    THE DISPERSE DOESN’T EXPLAIN WHO YOU ARE BOTHERING TO EXPLAIN IT.

  35. Bob says:

    WTF! You alternately entertain and infuriate me with your knowledge and considerable condescension! Yes, all humans are equal! However, not all residents/citizens of the US are willing to sacrifice their lives for our nation. 1% do; those who serve on active duty for the remaining 99% of residents/citizens who do not. Do they not deserve some compensation for that sacrifice? Those regular citizens killed on 9/11 got considerably more for their lives. Do you also begrudge their families that money. Quit trying to manipulate with bogus/vacuous arguments. “When a member of the armed services dies on active duty, their family immediately receives $100,000 to ease their grief and burden. When an immigrant head of a food-insecure family takes his diabetes medication, piles Diet Cokes into an cooler, turns on his Uber driver app, contracts Covid, and dies, his family is denied death benefits, as Proposition 22 — supported by $205 million from sharing economy firms (Uber, Lyft, DoorDash) — has made it legal to deny his family death benefits.” Bob Shea Captain, US Navy (Retired) (and parent of an active duty naval officer who is out protecting your lame ass)

    • Jimmy Doolittle says:

      Sir, I believe that Scott is not saying that the family of a any brave soldier killed on active duty should not receive a death benefit. But, a brave delivery driver bringing essentials to our homes so we can get our “lame ass” to work deserves some death benefit if he dies because of active duty as well. Furthermore, It may be instructive for you to determine the average total compensation cost of a career Captain US Navy. Please include the total cost of retirement, health care, disability, which some of our “lame ass” jobs don’t provide to us tax free. Finally, I would volunteer to defend our country on any ship commanded by Captain Brett Crozier. Thank you and your son for your service. Jimmy (a six digit annual Federal taxpayer from the Commonwealth of Massachusetts)

    • Srinivas Ramdas Sunder says:

      @Jimmy Doolittle Word!

    • Bob says:

      @Jimmy Doolittle I’m originally from Boston so I’m a bit familiar with the dogma of yellow dog democratic orthodoxy that is prevalent in the Bay State and dominant in your response. You thank me for our service yet believe we are overpaid! Over the course of 25 years my wife and I had13 Navy moves, had 0 home equity upon my retirement, our 2 sons attended 7 and 8 different k-12 schools respectively, I was deployed for a total of almost 5 years, missed my oldest sons birth, countless holidays, family birthdays, funerals and milestones. I earned my retirement and healthcare! Id do it all over again. As I’m sure you earned your comp and large tax liability. But you weren’t willing to serve, were you?The large majority of military retirements are smaller than Massachusetts cops, firefighters, teachers, university employees retirements and certainly 6 figure taxpayers like you! My retirement comp is slightly above the median income for a family of 4 in the Bay State; I think we could agree that isn’t a massive boondoggle! What’s Bulger get-/$300k?Military retirements are not tax free! Only the military housing allowance is tax free while on active duty. And it was never enough to cover rent/mortgage in a town with great schools. I was only calling the author a lameass for his equating the same level of sacrifice to a dead US service member to that of a Uber driver. Let’s compare apples to apples. Remember, I led with all humans are equal! I get your point of view. You probably live in Weston/Dover/Beacon Hill. I was born and raised in Dorchester! Not the gentrified Dorchester/Southie of today. I’d love to debate you over a beer and educate you on the differences between military pensions, generous municipal pension liabilities and the choices you made. Merry Christmas.

    • matthew smith says:

      Hi Bob, I am completely with you. Service personnel risks their lives for the country, Uber drivers do not. Galloway sometimes cannot get himself away from his wacked leftist proclivities, even when faced with the obvious.

  36. John says:

    Scott, The way you compare Jeff Bezos’ wealth to the folks that can’t pay their rent is disingenuous. You make it seem as if he stole it from them, and you should know better than anybody as a self-made man. While I agree we should help the poor let’s not vilify successful people as it’s plain wrong and adds to the vitriol in our society. Unless we change the tune we will never heal this nation. Just tone it down with the hate a bit

    • Christopher Gutteridge says:

      Jeff Bezos isn’t the problem. The fact that the divides are getting bigger is the problem. No one person is to blame, and there’s no simple quick fixes. So far all we know is that a mix of capitalism and socialism seems to do better for actual humans than an extreme of either.

    • KL says:

      Scott’s fundamental tenants are correct. Capitalism has been abused and manipulated by those in power who rationalize their devious behavior to consolidate wealth and forever maintain power. No it is not Bezos’ fault just like it was not Goldman Sach’s fault for making a boatload of cash during the subprime mortgage fiasco. It is the damn, ridiculous laws that allow those “with” to forever exponentially acquire more and more while those “without” are sucking wind.

  37. Robert Akscyn says:

    Fun read.

  38. Allen James says:

    Has anyone read the Rockefeller Institute paper from 2010 – “Scenarios of the Future of Technology..”. This may not prove that this was planned, but does prophetically show the response. There is a lot of buzz about 5G, but has anyone read about 5G at 60Ghz? This is the frequency that oxygen resonates. Attaching wireless signals to oxygen cells corrupts the ability of hemoglobin to bind with oxygen. (Sorry, a little off topic, but relevant to today’s health issues and technology.) Did you know that the Corona virus and pretty much all cancers and diseases are racists? Especially, when people are told to stay inside and during winter months in latitudes greater than 35 degrees? Vitamin D is the great immunity builder for the human body. Light skinned individuals, young to middle aged adults need 15 minutes of UV-B rays to produce the daily requirement for Vitamin D. As your skin pigmentation darkens you require greater exposure! Those in aging populations also require greater exposure. Note: these populations have been the hardest hit by the virus. Dminder app is a great way to monitor your Vitamin D need. If you live in Winter zones north or south of the 35’s, take Vitamin D supplements. My $.02 for the day.

  39. Jacqueline says:

    Another Metric to watch is highlighted by BBC: https://www.bbc.com/worklife/article/20201123-the-psychology-behind-revenge-bedtime-procrastination?xtor=ES-213-%5BBBC%20Features%20Newsletter%5D-2020December4-%5BWorklife%7c+Button%5D The change in leisure time. Perhaps if Work from Home allows 8-6 to now not include commute, and that time get used….. for Productivity? For leisure? For Community? Major Societal changes happen. If it is allowed to become “Employer property”– beware of China’s 9-9-6. Benefits for Family, Social and Community are possible… if we are wise.

  40. Jim Burnett says:

    Eye-popping piece. (Bezos is worth more than the combined wealth of people in Vermont, Alaska, Wyoming!) Thanks for this. IMHO we’re no longer one nation but two. The solution is not to try to win over/flatter/appease Trumpland but to call for a (mostly) amicable divorce. It might take a couple of years to work out the details, but it would be well worth it. https://jimburnett.substack.com/p/torn-asunder-d50

  41. Valugal says:

    Scott you are usually cranky but really this is beyond your norm. You are sitting on the sidelines giving play-by-play. How about one (or more) solutions. It is easy to be crabby on the sidelines. It is harder to come up with a Plausible solution.

  42. Threepm Nrg says:

    Scott has hit big! Good bye limousine liberals hello champagne socialists Scotty is here to save the day ;0

  43. Bill Foster says:

    Scott – the word you are missing is “propinquity” – The Great Dispersion decreases our propinquity…….

  44. Cole Inman says:

    While I generally like your balanced take on work from home, it’s insane to me to point out the upsides of offices (relationships, empathy) in the same paragraph as the downsides (emissions, time stuck in traffic instead of with family). We all have no fucking clue what we can do as individuals about climate change. Not commuting is the highest impact thing we can do to combat this existential threat. Offices are now old-world luxuries. If we don’t take big actions (stop using climate as a tie-breaker) and make real sacrifices, there will be no planet, offices, or empathy left. P.s. In the same vein of what you talked about on Pivot today; that companies should sacrifice shareholder value in order to combat the pandemic.This applies more so to climate change (1st trillionare is the one who solves climate change right?). It won’t even cost them any shareholder value to go all (or mostly) remote, and will save them from their best employees getting poached by full remote places (the team with the best players wins). Sure, the poaching could go the opposite direction, young people into offices, but don’t count on it. Young people in my industry (software engineering) largely want remote. Young people want to socialize in bars and gyms. No, having a keg in the office doesn’t count.

  45. Robert May says:

    Insightful post, Scott. As you’ve argued, nations are formed (and sustained) by their members’ shared sacrifices. It’s time for a national Peace Corps. Taxes are one form of shared sacrifice. A wise administration could use many levers to entice its citizens to cooperate in shared experiences. Trade lower taxes for public service. Trade access to subsidized medicines, educational credits, easier mortgages, etc. for enrollment in the kind of shared service that rebuilds our national character. Service in the common good can be physical (presence-dependent) or virtual (so long as the virtual service meets the goal of creating community). In short, take all the benefits we’ve bestowed upon military veterans and use the same structure to reward a national “Peace Army”, or, if that’s too hippyish (I’m revealing my 60s roots), then perhaps a refreshed and slightly renamed “Americore”. There’s many challenges in the implementation details but we must return to E Pluribus Unum. Alternatively, we could nudge an asteroid to an impact trajectory and then require global citizens to shine small mirrors… But I digress.

  46. my unsolicited opinion says:

    Thank you Scott. Perhaps the fall of the nation is exactly what’s in order. Less chauvinism and more globalization & unity. We are all connected through the common thread of humanity: empathy and love, and times like these have a strange way of bringing us closer once they’re over ie Gander during 9/11 and this time potentially on a global scale. The opposite can be true. This (surprisingly) read a bit lopsided. I wish you had considered the complexities and intricates of change and innovation and conveyed a bit more hope. All the best.

  47. Matt Uddenberg says:

    I have two thoughts on this. The first is that we clearly need a stronger progressive income tax and a government with competent heads of the bureaucracy. Looks like we are headed in the right direction on both fronts with the new administration. Also a nuance on this point is that I don’t think corporate taxes should be high, just income taxes. Also, long term capital gains should be low and flat, but short-term should be progressive. The second point I would make is that I don’t know if we are “no longer a nation,” but rather we are a country in transition. I think this transition is partly responsible for the political tension we see today. The old American narrative of white colonial settlers creating a beacon of freedom in the world is coming under scrutiny. We are beginning to own up to our role in native genocide, slavery and other difficult issue. I think we are collection of people looking for a new narrative to binds us. One which incorporates the best parts of the old story, but makes room for other voices and which is more honest.

    • Ricardo says:

      Your first treatise is cumulatively nothing more than taxation? Even bigger Government? And your second underscores victimization, induces fracture and – to quote Senor Scott – even more dispersal and empathetic emptiness? You, Sir European Uddenberg, are a Communist who thinks himself a progressive apologist.

    • Matt says:

      @Ricardo You sir don’t know what a progressive tax code means, nor it’s history in this country. Secondly, how is lower corporate tax communist? Also, taxing short term capital gains at a higher rate and long term at a lower rate simply mitigates the worst kind of speculation and corruption in the market. Also, yes, there are communities which have not always gotten a fair shake. What’s wrong with fixing that? You sir, are troll with precanned poorly thought out talking points!

    • Ricardo says:

      @Matt Trolling is a rather subjective matter. It would seem I am to trolling in equal degrees as you are to the consideration of an oppositional stance. Government regulation and wealth redistribution is your sanctimonious code.

  48. Reggie says:

    “Compare this with the nation we were before we started dispersing into our bubbles. Within weeks of the outbreak of WWll, Chrysler built a factory in the Detroit suburbs that manufactured more tanks than the entire Third Reich. Today, Amazon and Walmart enjoy record sales and stock gains from stimulus. When young men refused the draft in WWII, we imprisoned five thousand of them. Today, we tolerate people who refuse to wear a mask to Walmart and give audience and platforms to cries of “tyranny.” ” Non-congruent piffle! From your Ivory Tower above Washington Square Park, where do you see these troglodytes refusing to wear a mask at WMT? When is the last time you stepped in to one? The woke NYC crowd doesn’t shop in them. There is not nor has there ever been a national mask mandate, unlike Selective Service (you sure you like that take?) We seem to tolerate wild parties on November 7 throughout the city, almost all mask less. I guess it depends on how your political views have been dispersed?

    • Ricardo says:

      Indeed, Scott’s ‘dispersal’ seems to be highly correlated with ideological bias.

  49. Charles F Quinn says:

    Very sad on many levels but TRUE on every level. Well done, Scott. Again, you hit it out of the park

  50. Bill Laki says:

    Just finishing the book – it’s fantastic. I will be buying more as gifts. The 54 hours of traffic time is ‘wasted’ due to jams. The actual time spent has to be triple this estimate.

    • Ricardo says:

      As one of those enduring the cited traffic times, I’ve never sat idle, staring into space. Productivity continues regardless. “Wasted” is a subjective description. It’s no different than sitting at home on a conference call (sans carbon output).

  51. STEW BERRY says:

    The level of dispersion is Global and no one will find their nation. Lots of opportunities as you have indicated however not a tremendous amount for those front liners you mentioned. We at one time were put off by so many distractions in the work place, now we pine for a work place to distract us.

  52. Robert Lantz says:

    Vision without match. Well done Mr. Galloway.

  53. OSCAR ROBERTO EXPOSITO says:

    very sad future

  54. jim peterson says:

    So much to unwrap here. Thanks. Very easy right now to get wrapped in our protected bubbles- and miss all you mention.

  55. Partha Pratim Deb says:

    You put it together so well Scott. I look forward to your post every Friday. Thanks.

  56. Dan Wallace-Brewster says:

    Professions that die (or really suffer in quality) without empathy: healthcare, marketing, sales, politics, education, journalism…to name a few.

  57. David says:

    Another generous gift. Truly look forward to your posts and thoughts. Thank you Scott. Ignore all trolls.

    • Ricardo says:

      Hmmm… hypocrisy is ripe with this one. Dispersal and network bubbles and empathy erosion… BUT don’t accept any countering viewpoints.

    • Adrian says:

      right because they are wrong who’s with me