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What is normal?

I’m watching the news. We’re all locked down. Britain just introduced £5,000 fines for unnecessary travel whilst the TV correspondents interview their counterparts in Dubai who say that they get massive fines for not wearing face masks.

What is going on?

It’s a really weird world where you are punished for going outside.

In some ways, this came home to me when I saw the riots in Bristol. Bristol? Bristol is a place in Britain that is full of history and culture. It’s where Bristol’s Harvey Cream comes from, one of the world’s oldest sherry makers. Yet this is the city that topples over statues, and is now demonstrating over these travel restrictions and the wider laws on society.

Their motto is Kill the Bill. Is that stop the law going through Parliament or kill policemen? It seems to be both. In fact, when I see photographs like these …

… of life in Britain, I wonder what the world is coming to.

Sure enough, it is hard, but a world in lockdown leaves you watching the news where Asians are murdered in America, China persecutes Uighur Muslims, ongoing struggles in Yemen and Syria, Black Lives Matter and you realise the world has gone to pot.

Everyone is locked down and government is trying to reinstate law and order, but every country is struggling with law and order. The world is no longer normal. For me, this explains why cryptocurrency has rocketed in the last year. The people no longer believe in government. They believe in the internet. They believe in the network.

In fact, I was reminded that a year ago I said:

We are in a world where governments are bailing out the people and the people wonder what governments are for.

Still the situation but much worse a year later and, if that is the case and if governments are losing the plot, the people believe that citizens can take control. Citizens take control of what, is the question.

Wherever societies break down, you end up with anarchy. I’m not for anarchy. To me, anarchy is like The Purge, except The Purge is every day.

Life does not exist this way so, of course, life will change. We will get back to the new normal but: what is the new normal?

The new normal?

Well, it’s not normal.

In fact, ask yourself this question: what is normal?

If everything has been disturbed, displaced, changed and impacted by the pandemic, it’s not normal.

I guess the new normal is when we travel with huge amounts of health checks. In fact, the 2000s and 2010s were all about security checks after 9/11. Now, we will have an extra layer of health checks. Vaccine passports and more will be a new normal. Travel, airports and security will become even worse and onerous and, for many, will become a thing to avoid and I can confidently predict that every airport will have a test and inject area.  A place in the airport where you are checked to ensure you don’t have a virus and, if you haven’t been vaccinated, you are told that you have to have an injection there and then, before you fly. That’s not a good sign for airlines, hospitality and hotels.

A new normal will be where government, law and society is challenged through regulations about their structure, operation and beliefs. In fact, this exacerbates trends of the past. The trend of the past is that, thanks to the transparency of our world, we can see the weaknesses of government, law and society more than ever. We no longer trust our priests, politicians and leaders. Tomorrow, we won’t trust anyone. We won’t trust our leaders but, more importantly, we won’t trust each other.

Is this good or bad? Trust is a basic construct of society. If we lose trust, then what do we have?

This is, to me, a bigger concern as I’ve spent my life learning to trust everyone. What do I mean by that? Am I some gullible sucker? No … what I mean by this is that, throughout my life, I have travelled and experienced unbelievable things. I think I’ve been to almost every part of Planet Earth. I was selfish – who knew about carbon emissions? – but it meant that I had a coffee, lunch, dinner or cocktail with people from everywhere on Planet Earth. I don’t trust them all straight away – been ripped off many times – but I realised trust in humanity.

My trust is built on the fact that everyone globally wants the same thing: safety, security, shelter, health and happiness.

As I watch the headlines and the world’s news of societies breaking down, increasing frustration with government and their handling of the pandemic, annoyance with the way in which the world is operating, I can see we are in a different state. A new normal. Thing is: what is normal?

Normal?

Normal is waking up every day feeling everything is fine. I wake up every day feeling everything is fine, and yet, day by day, I worry about government, society and change. So, I guess as I look at the future, I know there will be a new normal. It won’t be normal or, at least, the old normal. It’s a new normal. No idea what that new normal is, because it’s different, but there will be a new normal.

Thing is, can you shake off your old normal? Or was there ever a normal? There is no normal? Move your cheese and change every day. There is no normal.

About Chris M Skinner

Chris Skinner is best known as an independent commentator on the financial markets through his blog, TheFinanser.com, as author of the bestselling book Digital Bank, and Chair of the European networking forum the Financial Services Club. He has been voted one of the most influential people in banking by The Financial Brand (as well as one of the best blogs), a FinTech Titan (Next Bank), one of the Fintech Leaders you need to follow (City AM, Deluxe and Jax Finance), as well as one of the Top 40 most influential people in financial technology by the Wall Street Journal’s Financial News. To learn more click here...

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