Migration makes people go stupid

Political discussion about (im)migration is extremely polarized, and most people I’ve witnessed talking about migration seem to become very stupid when discussing it. It’s not that I disagree with the points people make (often I don’t) or that I think I understand the subject better than they do (mostly I don’t). It’s that otherwise quite rational people become very stupid when they talk about migration. I don’t mean that people shouldn’t talk about it, but that people seem to lose very important cognitive abilities when discussing it. The obvious explanation for this is that politics is the mind-killer, and arguments are treated as soldiers. Most people discussing migration have a partisan position and are unwilling to admit a single fact supporting the opponent’s side. People pick a side they expect to win, and then fight it out. I think that is human and understandable, and stupid.

So today I’ll just lay out some key facts about migration, on which most people should be able to agree. They don’t, and they won’t, but in the future I can just refer to this in case someone says “well uh nobody ever thought about both sides of this issue so I ain’t gonna do that either”. These are all relevant facts and need to be taken into account. I consider most of them so important that failure to recognize and accept them reflects either complete denialism or psychotic-level failure of cognition.

This post does not condone or condemn different practices on migration. I take no part in that discussion, mostly because it seems dangerous. If you believe I should not say these things, please tell me so. I recommend people use their faculties of reason to figure out the best solutions and try those out. I do not want any part of politics in that sense. However, I believe this post can be useful to those who are willing to be sincere about one of the greatest political phenomena of our time, but haven’t really given it a serious thought.

  1. Migration is more or less inevitable.

People have migrated throughout history, and there is no reason to believe they won’t continue doing so for whatever reasons as long as it is physically possible and incentives exist. Some areas are becoming less inhabitable over time, sometimes people are forced to migrate, and sometimes people just believe they can build a better life elsewhere. These pressures lead to migration, and it is just a matter of where these people migrate, not whether or not they do. If someone offers lack of migration as a solution to migrant crises, they are in Wonderland.

2. Migration can destroy whole societies.

Historical examples are too numerous to count. Most easily pointed are the devastation of most North American Indian societies, the Inca and Maya societies and several other American Indian societies by European migrants. There is no need to look any further. Anyone who claims migration cannot destroy whole societies inhabits Neverland, and can be safely ignored for the time being.

3. Migration can improve society’s well-being.

Migrants can be very useful to the target country’s original population. For instance, the United States famously took a great advantage of immigrant Asian workers in improving its railway infrastructure in the 1860s. This had issues of its own. Less successful migrants are easily taken advantage of, enabling economic growth and increase in the original population’s well-being at the cost of those migrants’ well-being. More succesful migrants found companies and take important roles in the target countries, increasing economic growth and helping the original population that way. To claim this is not possible or relevant is just silly – both of these are continously happening.

4. Migration from unstable areas likely has a destabilizing effect on target countries.

Migrants and refugees from unstable areas have disproportional difficulties landing jobs, learning the target country’s language and generally integrating into the target country’s society. They end up disproportionately on social welfare, commit more crimes and end up being victims of physical or economical abuse in rates pointed out over and over again. All of this has an obvious long-term destabilizing effect on the target country, be it in the form of more foreign terrorism, more domestic terrorism, more crime, more homelessness, more racism, greater income inequality or whatever. It is beyond dispute that these phenomena destabilize countries accepting immigrants from unstable areas, however one might see the morality of such immigration.

5. Migration will destabilize European countries.

Europe is currently accepting, and to an extent forced to accept, migrants from severely unstable areas. This means European countries will face destabilization due to immigration in the decades to come. This is a straightforward conclusion of the previous point and worth pointing out. This destabilizing effect is politically, economically and socially relevant.

6. The number of migrants accepted matters as to whether target countries remain peaceful.

This is also a logical step following the previous points. Western countries generally do not discriminate immigration from specific countries, and for the time being there is no politically (internationally) viable option to do so. This means that increasing the total number of migrants will increase the number of migrants from unstable areas. This leads to an increase in the total destabilizing effect of migration. It is easy and safe to conclude that the total number of migrants accepted should be restricted to ensure the stability of target countries. “By how much and to what extent” are questions that remain open to discussion. “Complete restriction” and “no restrictions” are not sane options, as argued out by other points here. Anyone advocating either one of these ‘solutions’ is not being realistic.

7. Human rights matter.

It is important to help those in need, and prevent human tragedies from occurring. If someone claims that human rights do not matter, they are not being realistic, or they are psychopathic. In both these cases the claims should be safely and firmly ignored. No one would like to see their wives and daughters raped, their children burned, or themselves oppressed and hounded to no end. Human rights concern these things, and they matter. To say that human rights do not matter is to take an absurd position to avoid the inevitable difficult discussion on how much we should do to help those in need, how much we can ask of ourselves and others to invest in lives that will never touch ours, and how much we can realistically help in the first place. Those discussions are difficult and complicated, and to deny human rights completely is to seek an easy way to avoid those difficulties. However, the categorical imperative suffices quite well for that. If human rights do not apply to other people, they do not apply to your wives and daughters either. Make of that what you will, and face the consequences.

8. European nations cannot help every immigrant that would like to settle.

That being said, an equally absurd position is to say: “Either human rights concern everyone, or they concern no one, so we cannot turn our back to anyone.” This is the same fallacy as in the previous one, except it takes the opposite point of view. To avoid the inevitable and difficult discussions on the limits of help, some people go stupid and say that everyone gets helped. While they do so, they are either hopelessly in denial, or, as Slavoj Zizek said, hypocritical. Points 2, 4, 5 and 6 demonstrate that this is the case. Such people either fail to recognize the basic destabilizing risks of migration, or rely on the fact that their absurd fantasies will never be tried out in practice, and thereby proven insanely dangerous. It is an undeniable fact that we cannot give everyone the best help they deserve or need. This applies not only in migration, but also in healthcare, social welfare, schooling and so on.

9. European nations cannot turn back every immigrant that would like to settle.

People opposing immigration usually go stupid this way. They point out the risks of uncontrolled migration and the likely destabilizing effects of any migration, and go into a loop consisting of migration has downsides, so no migration, because it has downsides, so no migration. This is useless, stupid and dangerous. European countries do not possess such economic, military, logistic or technological resources that they could realistically prevent people from migrating to Europe. This is not to say that Europe should not take any migrants in, but that Europe physically cannot stop them from coming. It is impossible. The concentration camps in Greece and around its borders are in just as bad a shape or worse as they were six months ago. People will cut holes in fences, pay human traffickers, trick border control, swim and pedal across seas and if necessary, shoot their way through. This problem will not go away, and begging it to go away by saying “no migration!” is as unrealistic as is saying “no restrictions”. To suggest that all migrants to disappear from Europe is lunacy.

10. World’s power players must take responsibility to help solve the migrant crisis.

There is no way Europe will solve the migrant crisis by itself. World’s most important military powers, and regional powers in unstable areas, have significantly contributed to the development of the current migrant crises. ISIS is in many ways the result of the US invasion in Iraq (not to say some similar organization could not have formed, had they not invaded). Many contemporary conflicts in Middle East have the late 1900s US-USSR power struggles as their root cause. It is beyond dispute that the United States, Russia and China serve a key role in any future developments in many unstable regions in today’s world – whether or not their governments or their citizens like it. That is a logical conclusion from the fact that they have power.

11. Not all migrants are refugees.

Most discussion on immigration focuses on whether to help those in need, and the destabilizing effect those in need have on the target countries. This is the political divide. We must help / we must survive. Most migration and the most likely immediate and long-term effects of migration do not have to do with these issues. We should mostly devote our time to discussing the economic and social effects and questions of migration, as they are the most likely and easily predictable consequences of migration. That is: migration’s (immigration’s and emigration’s) effect on job markets, market ecosystems, schooling, demographics, public health, and so on. Off the  top of my hat I’d estimate that at least 50% of discussion on migration should concern these issues – and yes, besides immigrants from Middle East. Anyone willing to discuss migration sincerely should be interested in these aspects as well.

13. Not all migrants are of equal instrumental value.

I should severely stress and emphasize the word ‘instrumental’. See point 7. That said, some migrants are better for the target country than others. Highly educated migrants willing to integrate or assimilate are most useful to the target country, help improve attitudes towards migration and fare well on their own. This is a relevant factor in estimating the future stability of a society accepting migrants. It is a taboo to suggest that this should be taken into account in estimating whether or not grant asylum or citizenship to a migrant, but in practice most countries already have laws in place that fulfill this purpose to an extent, making this point an obvious fact. It might be worthwhile delving deeper into the subject so as to better coordinate the total effects on migration and help both the original population and the migrant population.

14. Not all migrants are nice.

This is also a taboo, and therefore the favorite of anti-immigration fanatics. It is, however, also a fact. Some migrants have committed heinous crimes in their countries of origin, and some migrants enter their target country with the intent to deliberately destabilize it. This point in particular has to do with the stability of the target country and the original population’s attitudes towards migrants. Target countries should specifically have measures to enforce that migrants do not endanger the original population, or they risk further destabilization both via dangerous migrants destabilizing their surroundings and via public opinion trending towards anti-immigration extremists, who promise safety and security to frightened people. Failure to plausibly protect the original population carries a severe risk of eventual overthrow of government, leading to further instability.

15. Original population attitudes matter.

How people feel about migrants matters. Most European countries are democracies to an extent, and pleasing the electorate matters. It can also be argued that people deserve to be heard. Thereby it is important to shape laws and practices concerning migration that reflect the needs and wishes of most people. This is how democracy ideally works.

16. Racism likely has a destabilizing effect on migrant population – original population relations.

Racism and migrants’ experiences of racism directly undermine trust between the migrant populations and the original populations. This increases the likelihood of eventual ethnic conflicts and decreases the likelihood that migrants are successful in their target countries. This precludes the positive effects immigration might have on target countries and increases the destabilizing effects of immigration. Therefore it is safe to conclude that original population’s racist attitudes have a net destabilizing effect in a situation where migration is more or less happening any way.

17. Influencing original population’s attitudes to decrease racism likely has a stabilizing effect on target countries in the long run.

This follows logically from the previous point. It is worth pointing out explicitly that crude attempts at pro-immigrant propaganda may face a severe backlash, as has happened in several European countries.

18. Influencing migrant attitudes and assimilating them to target country’s culture will likely reap the best results on stability.

The other side of the coin. It is not enough to convince the original population that some amount of migration will be inevitable and that everyone fares better if we get along with that. Migrants who want to integrate and are willing to accept their target country’s culture will face less issues in their new home, and are therefore more successful. That means they increase eventual stability by both being successful and by decreasing target country’s racism (this is not to say that original population’s racism is their responsibility to handle or their fault).

19. If the migration crises are not dealt with in a sustainable way, that will likely produce the worst results.

This is the most important point of all of these. We will only have one shot at doing it right – there really is no going back. Failure to deal with  both the fact that migration is eventual and inevitable and the fact that migration has destabilizing effects on Europe is destructive and extremely dangerous. That failure will likely feed instability, resentment between different populations, severe inequality and crime, and will eventually result in ethnic conflicts and severe political instability. Both these issues must be acknowledged to reach a compromise which enables a safe, productive and just Europe in the decades and centuries to come.

Three levels of contemporary political rot

Summary:

  1. All systems will rot unless they actively fight rot.
  2. Rot is bad, as it undoes whatever we find valuable.
  3. Civilization is an example of a system susceptible to rot.
  4. Civilization is susceptible to several types of rot.
  5. Of these, political rot is a particularly important issue.
  6. Political rot can be categorized by its transparency.
  7. The first level of political rot constitutes of issues in the public political sphere.
  8. The second level of political rot concerns subtle mechanisms to advance the interests of specific groups to the detriment of the majority of population.
  9. The third level of rot includes active illegitimate warfare, criminal activity, corruption and any combination of these.
  10. To better fight political rot, it is useful to understand how these levels interact and undermine civilization.

All systems are susceptible to rot. From any system’s point of view, rot may be thought of as decreasing organization and increasing chaos. For example, biological systems (cells, organisms, populations and ecosystems) depend on their ability to extract negentropy from their surroundings and increase organization in the form of biochemical, social and ecological structures. Individual cells and organisms rot throughout their lives and eventually become unable to upkeep sufficient biological organization (homeostasis) required for survival. This results in death. A dead system can be thought of as being in a state of infinite rot: chaos keeps increasing and organization keeps decreasing indefinitely. A dead system does not increase organization (fight rot).

Continuing our biological example: rot is present all the time in the form of destructive processes, which are counteracted by constructive processes. Rot can also take the form of such constructive processes which hinder the organism’s survival, such as the formation of malign tumors. These processes are counteracted by destructive processes which protect the organism from such organization taking place that would eventually result in death. So rot from an abstract point of view only includes decreasing organization and increasing chaos, but from a specific system’s point of view rot includes decrease in the system’s specific kind of organization and increase in any other kind of organization. Increasing chaos is likely always a sign of rot, whereas organization taking place does not necessarily fight rot.

Superficially this may be equated with the second law of thermodynamics, which states that total entropy always increases, but never decreases. A statistical-probabilistic point of view would contend that states of high organization and low chaos are much less likely to occur than states of low organization and high chaos, as the latter vastly outnumber the former. This holds exponentially for a specific kind of organization relative to any kind of organization.

Today I’m interested in discussing a specific kind of rot of a specific system: political rot of contemporary civilizations, specifically Western civilizations, and more specifically the European and Finnish civilizations, insofar as they constitute meaningful entities to be discussed. Inasmuch as sensible, I try to discuss the specifics and rely on abstractions when I can’t.

Modern civilization is very susceptible to rot, as it relies on several specific kinds of organization taking place, including but not limited to special kinds of intrastructural, logistic, technological, social, economic, ecologic, cosmologic and psychologic organization. To remain functional, civilization relies on these dimensions to upkeep a specific kind of organization, and prevent from other organization taking place. And example would be that we do not want several parliaments developing mutually exclusive legislatures, as that would eventually increase chaos. We also do not want a runaway infrastructure-developing AI to turn all human habitats into evenly-spaced rectangular grids of streets and power lines. As a more realistic, proximal example, most people would not like seeing a highly organized, highly hierarchical, highly functional totalitarian regime taking modern democracy’s place, as it would likely not reflect our personal interests but someone else’s. This illustrates that from civilization’s point of view, rot very much includes alternative organization increasing, even if chaos remained the same or even decreased. From civilization’s perspective, alternative organization might be as bad as chaos, so it means rot (but not necessarily).

Discussing every kind of rot in civilization is beyond this post’s focus, so I’ll only focus on political rot. I define political rot as political processes which decrease civilization’s eventual chances of survival, that is, which make it less adaptive. Also I define it as processes which have detrimental effects to the majority of citizens’ well-being, or more generally, as processes which are detrimental to the professed goals of our civilization. Such goals include relative equality, legitimity, biopsychosocial well-being, human rights, happiness and safety.

The motivation for understanding political rot is easily justified. Rot is bad by definition, unless one does not care about well-being at all. As all systems will rot unless they fight rot, it is in our interest to understand and fight rot not only personally but as a civilization. Political rot is special since it has to do with how a civilization will fight any other kind of rot. Viable political entities and strategies are capable of responding to rot accurately and timely, whereas politically rotten entities are unable to do so. That is, political rot hinders our ability to fight all rot, including political rot.

One way to categorize such political rot is via its transparency. It is a meaningful way to make sense of political rot, as individuals rarely consider matters outside their perspective. By making sense of how the less transparent issues of political rot influence the transparent aspects, we can begin to imagine ways to influence the less transparent issues as well. The first level of political rot concerns the visible, public political spaces and discussion. Some examples:

  • The size and complexity of national and international bureucracies hinders effective action by making it difficult for relevant information to spread and by making available tools for solving problems slow, cumbersome and irrelevant.
    • Healthcare is mostly inoptimal, targets risk groups poorly and wastes resources which would better be used elsewhere in healthcare or other matters.
    • Legislature develops very slowly and often too slowly to respond to acute challenges. Finland needed to apply martial law to respond to Covid-19. Most civilizations have responded very poorly to climate change and other impending ecological disasters.
    • The immigration crises in Europe have been handled very poorly with little or no realistic future solutions. There is little coordination in how immigration crises are handled, and most solutions only target a specific location or aspect of the crises. And so on.
  • The way in which democracies operate includes not only informed decision-making, but also the process of convincing the electorate. This can be achieved by means which have little to do with good decisions (pathos), and ends up forming an end in itself. This results in populist demagogues gaining power but understanding poorly how to use it for good, and therefore qualifies as rot.
  • Only such political organizations are capable of serving citizens’ needs which in fact are designed and upkept to fulfill that purpose. Political organizations are wont to eventually regress to serving their own needs or the needs of specific interest groups.
  • The fact that civilizations compete runs the risk of hostile competition. Hostility manifests as subterfuge, espionage and economic and military warfare. These have detrimental effects on citizen’s well-being and contemporarily increase existential risks, so international hostility counts as rot. More examples are easily imagined.

The second level of rot concerns the less transparent ways which increase political rot. They can fit under an inclusive definition of corruption, but are not illegal or obviously illegitimate. This level has to do with structures of power and how incentives and means develop to further cement and abuse that power. Examples:

  • The diversity, complexity and opacity of financial instruments, derivatives and means to build wealth upon existing wealth make it all but impossible for most citizens to effectively build and project political or economic power with them. In contrast, very wealthy people, big private companies and powerful institutions can hire talented, educated and knowledgeable people to study such things, helping them further gain and project economic power. This results in differential access to power, which in turn undermines democratic principles (a cornerstone of contemporary civilization).
  • The complexity and kludginess of existing bureucracies make it difficult for ordinary citizens to effectively change them or build novel organizations from scratch; whereas wealthy people, companies and institutions can hire armies of lawyers, lobbyists and insiders to study, influence and abuse or change bureucracies so that they end up winning. This includes taking advantage of loopholes in existing bureucracies as well as changing the institutions to further advance their own agenda. This results in civilization eventually serving more and more the interests of these groups, which feeds inequality, resentment and eventual rot.
  •  The size and structure of modern political organizations make it difficult for ordinary citizens to effectively understand how to influence society, let alone to effectively change civilization. In contrast, wealthy, already organized political parties, private companies and billionaires have easy access to political networks and an inherited or easily acquired understanding on how to work those networks to one’s advantage. Like aforementioned examples, this leads to eventual rot. More examples can be imagined.

The third level of political rot is the least transparent of them all, and includes clear-cut corruption such as taking bribes, criminal activity such as money laundering, nepotism, secret pacts such as cartels or treason, and so on. Examples:

  • Decision-makers routinely are accused of and get caught on accepting bribes to advance the interests of an already powerful group of people, such as a big private company or another, hostile civilization.
  • Private companies often break existing laws to advance their own interest, and manage to use the second level of political rot to minimize the costs of such transgressions. Examples include the fines paid by big pharmaceutical companies or IT giants, which are tiny relative to the profits brought by such actions.
  • Govenments and armies work together to destroy or otherwise undermine whole societies or groups of people to gain advantage and cement their own power. An example would be the 2000s US invasion of Iraq, resulting in demise of a large part of the Iraqi people, detrimental effects on the American working class via channeling resources to warfare and the advancement of interests of several American companies through complicated causes and effects. For Iraq, the result was clearly an increase in rot (through war) and an arguable decrease in rot (through overthrowing a dictator), likely a net increase in rot. It can be argued that for the American companies which benefited from the war the invasion decreased rot. It can also be argued that for the vast majority of Americans, the war increased rot via increased military spending, increased domestic surveillance and a growing sense of hostility both domestically and internationally. More can be imagined.

The aim in elucidating a framework of political rot is to make it easier for individuals to understand how these levels interact (such as in the case of companies minimizing damages from criminal actions) to further advance political rot. To fight political rot requires us to acknowledge and accurately recognize such issues, and direct our existing political institutions in such a way that rot is easier to fight. I am interested in participating in such a discussion, and might write more on fighting rot later on.

US Presidential election 2020 – a prediction

I predict that Joe Biden will win the election, while Trump doesn’t lose exactly by a landslide. Biden’s victory will be very clear, but Trump will have enough room to wiggle and encourage his supporters to protest the results. The results will be debated and social unrest will follow. The National Guard or the military will engage the protesters in some states. Some people will die, but not as many as during the BLM protests (less than 19 people). Single extremist groups will try to take the initiative and attempt a coup d’état, which will be swiftly shut down by the law enforcement. Trump will protest the results, but eventually steps down. Exceptional social unrest will continue for a few days, not more than a few weeks, before settling down to previous levels. The pandemic will continue to rake in victims, the police will continue to use illegitimate force and the ongoing political polarization will not recede. Trump will leave the office, but to a layperson’s eyes, most things will remain exactly the same. Biden will try to reverse the course of most of Trump’s policies, except those significantly favoring the wealthy to the detriment of the poor. When Biden’s term ends, social stratification has increased.

On the off chance Trump wins, the results will be similar, but worse. That is: more protests, more unrest, more deaths, more social stratification.

Smart people never tire of swinging their di- their smarts around

Eliezer Yudkowsky retweeted Geoffrey Miller’s notion that if people can’t tell a thing about permafrost melting or methane clathrate melting, they’re not concerned enough to learn much about climate change.

This is used to imply that people shouldn’t claim to care about issues they don’t bother learning much about. Miller elaborates to point out – quite fairly – that the issue has been a partisan divide along the political spectrum for decades, yet the people who fight about the issue don’t often understand it very well.

People began immediately pointing out that there are obvious benefits of cognitive labor division with examples such as one’s mother having cancer. If my mom has cancer, I’m going to look for the best doctors for her instead of opening a book on cancer biology and treatments. Others pointed out one should then do both.

But we do not live in a world where my mom gets cancer and then I look into cancer biology and the methods for choosing the best doctors. We live in a world with climate change, existential AI risk, environmental disasters, pandemics, wars, nuclear wars, peak-whatever, politicians lying, the economy of my country failing, the safety of my neighborhood collapsing, my mom getting cancer, my mom also having several complications of diabetes and asthma, my sister having epilepsy and an autistic kid, myself having inexplicable headaches and a job I’m not quite qualified enough to ace but which I’m really, really trying to do well, while also trying to take care of my car which is falling apart, while being relatively interested in my not-so-critical hobbies – and worst of all, where people like mr. Miller go about asking “Are you telling me you don’t have a model of reality taking these things into account?”.

It’s very, very obvious most people can’t ace all those things. Perhaps some can – although I doubt that’s the case as much as smart people overestimating their capabilities to understand complicated stuff just due to them outsmarting their peers. However, let’s say they can.

At which point it becomes a matter of Yudkowsky signal-boosting Geoffrey Miller not sincerely asking people to look into matters they care about. It becomes Yudkowsky signal-boosting Miller swinging his dick around, telling people “Oh I’m smarter than you, and you should in fact feel ashamed about it.”

Which Yudkowsky then acknowledges to be the case.

I really gotta say: we’re so lucky we have these smart people around to solve complex problems for us. I just wish they wouldn’t be asses about it. But I guess perhaps my utility function just doesn’t take into account the immense nonlinear difference between the joy such a highly developed mind gets from bullying less smart people, and the relatively insignificant matter of people feeling bad when they feel Yudkowsky’s or Miller’s big dicks swinging at their face. It’s a real damn shame that these people are so full of themselves they make it really hard to read anything they write, because they really in fact do have good insights for us to learn from – if you are willing to take all the douchebaggery and bullying.

Also: if you don’t smoke because you heard it causes lung cancer: are you more worried about squamous cell carcinoma or adenocarcinoma? If you don’t have an answer ready, why the heck are you claiming not to smoke because of cancer? Same measure, of course, also can be applied for whether one loves their child or not.

What next?

Several things are going on simultaneously. Probability estimates off the top of my hat.

  1. Markets are crashing despite the regulators’ best efforts to prevent that from happening. Worries of European banks’ survival are surfacing.
  2. Coronavirus is spreading at a rate which is bound to strain the limits of public healthcare in European countries. Italy is already in deep.
  3. Coronavirus is beginning to affect the global production chain, possibly causing short-term supply shortages globally.
  4. Saudi Arabia is engaging in price warfare to secure a steady income from fossil fuels during the years to come (that is, oil prices will bounce back heavily after crashing, assuming a steady demand).
  5. A climate of FUD (fear, uncertainty, doubt) has developed. Laypeople are scared of coronavirus, whereas investors are scared of the market crash.
  6. USA keeps pressuring Iran and continues warfare against insurgents in Iraq.
  7. Turkey pressures EU with threats of immigrant crisis, to which EU reacts by closing its borders.
  8. Nationalist, national conservatist and national socialist politics and regimes are resurging in Europe over the long term.

It is extremely difficult if not impossible to predict what will happen next. Short-term survival is of course paramount. I estimate, off the top of my ass, the risk of a quickly escalating financial catastrophe as low (<10%). That includes the risk of food running out of grocery stores and people not being able to draw cash form ATM:s.

However, the long term financial risks and the political effects involved are huge, even if governments and banks managed to keep things under control. The risk of at least a European and even a global recession is high (>80%). Amplified by the psychological effects of a  pandemic infectious disease, this will very likely (say, >90%) lead to more conservative, traditionalist policies, severe restrictions on immigration over the long term, and a transition towards the Right in voting patterns. Very likely people will at some point demand that production be returned to Western countries to ensure safety of critical supplies (food, medicine, etc).

This will further exacerbate the ongoing European political developments towards nationalist if not downright fascist structures. The modern global economic patterns have during the last few decades depended upon more globalism, less localism, less power for people, less restrictions on movement. That means that those patterns will likely not thrive during opposite developments, which will in turn make the world’s economics less predictable.

Interesting times, say.