Lockdown Fearonomics: Fear of economy? Or economy of fear?

Lockdown Fearonomics: Fear of economy? Or economy of fear?


Debashish Das

Debashish Das

217 week ago — 6 min read

Current state of lockdown has created a situation which I call “Fearonomics”. It may have two dimensions:

1. Fear of economy
2. Economy of fear

What I have recently observed in society around makes me think on the possible changes in the new norm. Going forward this will have to be also a situation which society will have to deal with.

Also read: COVID -19 – a looming financial pandemic: Business readiness tips

Lockdown Fearonomics 1: Fear of economic crash    

Fear of economy is real and must be dealt with but there are vested agendas addressed in the garb of citing economic revival. Here are a few points I have come across in real life. The intent may be noble, and I fully respect and support the thought but stating the fear to revive the economy by eating an ice cream? Ahem!  

Get my maid or the economy will crash: I have a dear friend who has based his entire revival of economic growth theory on the fact that if he does not get the maid to come and work at his place, economy will crash. This fear of economics is a powerful point to start calling maids but then the evaluation of the risk in contamination is also a very valid point to be considered. What if we continue to support the livelihood of the maid by asking them to stay at home and do the work ourselves? May be easier said than done. So, this fearonomics, fear of economics plays very well to allow this activity even if it opens doors for pandemic. The real motive to use fearonomics of maids? Open to guess.

If I don’t go out just now and shop, economy will crash: Sudden overdrive and urge to go out and visit shopping complex just to buy a napkin or take the car for a spin is another fear of economy crashing down if we don’t do it just now. The same could have been done online ensuring safety. This ‘fearonomics’ of economy will not revive if I do not go out to shop is again taking the fear of economics too far.

If I don’t travel, economy will crash: If one needs to travel to work, create employment that too in urgency it is understandable. But planning to drive to a nearby place 100 kms and back just because have been in lock down for long may really not revive the economy. Creative answer is why not? – petrol will be filled, beer will be consumed, toll will be paid, eating at dhaba will happen…all these will contribute to economic revival.  

I must go out and eat to revive the economy: Working from home for a long time, craving for that yummy pizza or Caesar salad? So let us step out and try an eating joint. Another creative economic revival stance. Being at home would be safer maybe try using Youtube to learn a new recipe?

Car cleaner, economy must not crash: I know of someone who has promised not to have car cleaner and maids for some more time but will continue to pay the salary. But another economic revival tool is car cleaner. How much does he earn to revive the economy for the risk he is getting exposed to?

Also read: Managing cash flows during a period of crisis

Lockdown Fearonomics 2: Economics of fear

Lockdown has also created new and innovative business ideas. Some of these are driven by fear of survival others regulated by mandate.

  • Everyone is now selling PPE masks, so we see new PPE entrepreneurs emerging.
  • Coaches and counsellors are in big demand to address the growing psychological impact of the ambiguity.
  • Business growth coaches and consultants are ever more needed to help business owners and executives deal with the ambiguity.
  • Yoga has been now recognised as the tool to survive the fear of lockdown, create immunity in close door. Never before has Yoga and certified Yoga instructors been more in demand.
  • Moppers and cleaning equipments have become a big need as most families have learned the way to self-manage the house hygiene and cleaning.

I have full empathy and compassion to all the above support staff, shop owners, entrepreneurs and I wish that very soon the economy is revived. At the same time, I think that asking someone to come to work and clean the car just because we cannot do it is also bring risks. How about thinking on those lines and continue to financially or any other way adopt the working class and take care that the salary and the ration is available to them without venturing out? Also, use discretion not to always loosely cite economic growth in very trivial matters of indulging to have a tea outside or going for a spin. The objective of this article is to reiterate that economy is opening but all acts need to be evaluated with the risks attached. Secondly, all activities may not be economic revival, it may be meeting our personal requirements.

Also read: An unprecedented challenge, also an opportunity for SMEs to do unprecedented things

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Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views, official policy or position of GlobalLinker.


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Debashish Das

Leadership and Business Growth Coach with over 20 years of experience in coaching and consulting. Specialist in HR, Strategy, Business Growth for SME and Corporates. As a coach...