FINDING AND CATCHING WIND TO SAIL IN A DEAD CALM DOWNTURN (Part 3, Covid-19).

July 6, 2020

Which is worse – being free to roam without finding work in a great recession[1] or during sustained global economic stagnation,[2] or being on full or partial lockdown in a COVID-19 Global Pandemic situation (hereinafter “Covid”) ?

Each has its own challenges in terms of earning a living.  However, with Covid, things are that much tougher because getting too close to others to shake hands or even breath the same air in sequence, can be very bad for you, or for them, or for both of you together – and even deadly.  So, what can one do to make some meaningful income while the whole world stands apart for as long as they and we individually, all can, without going stir-crazy, getting precaution-lazy, or surviving, cashless, on dry beans and gravy?

 

WHAT IS IN THE ECONOMY, ANYWAY?

Well, as always, start with the basics ………… what is the economy at its barest bones?

We have often heard of the 3 factors of production, being Land, Labor and Capital/Kapital.

Then, we hear of the human condition’s 3 survival basics, being Food, Shelter, and Clothing.

Those are 6 key elements already, but the modern economy adds or splits-out, two more, which are Technology, and Consumables.  With these 8, then, we can start to break them down, further categorize, compartmentalize, and strategize.

 

HOW DO WE SORT THESE 8?

Put Land, Labor and Technology on one side; Food and Shelter in the middle; and the three Cs (Capital, Clothing, and Consumables) on the other side, then identify them with the rule of 3.

 

L + L + T

Land, including land with improvements such as a home, an industrial plant, or a commercial or rental property building, can be any of: (a) under water or fallow land; (b) in a steady state and barely drawing even or simply where you have your own business; or (c) it can be an income property that is actually cash flow positive and producing an income.

In terms of Labor nowadays, you can be: (a) jobless; (b) working from home; or (c) in an essential function or group, and working outside the home.  Some jurisdictions, of course, have remobilized their populations and restarted to various degrees, but with varying results, and so we won`t go there right now, and there are also many different definitions of essential, such as health and security workers, grocery store clerks, utility and transportation workers, office workers in a payroll and benefits function, an inventory rotation and maintenance function, or responsible for the care of live animals, so we won’t delve deeper into those terms, either.

Technology is an enabler that helps you with: (a) knowing (which includes communication, advice, entertainment, and basic information retrieval); (b) it can help you with acting on that information; and (c) it can help you with moving – whether as a result of information, to get information, or as a movement enabling technology in its own right through some form of transportation ranging from the scooter, through an Uber, to a plane, train, or simple bicycle.  You can also know, act, and move at the same time with Technology in the massive enabling of “telepresence”, through the current super-spike of online video meetings and web-based events, where by attending without moving you really “CAN” be in two places at once.

 

F + S

Food (and drink) you can: (a) produce and sell; (b) purchase to consume; or (c) stockpile it for re-sale or later personal use.

Shelter, you can: (a) own; (b) let-out; or (c) yourself rent, whether or not you actually live there; remembering that shelter can be anything from an actual house, through an apartment or hotel room or bed and breakfast arrangement, to a mobility property such as a boat or houseboat, a private aircraft, or a camper or recreational vehicle whether towed or self-propelled.

 

C + C + C

Capital can be identified as: (a) income (inflow); (b) expense (outflow); or (c) an investment (sideflow).

Clothing can be: (a) multi-purpose basic ear; (b) general workwear including suits and pantsuits and uniforms; or (c) it can be general- or specific-purpose Personal Protective Equipment (PPE).

Consumables, finally, can be: (a) a variety of services and content; (b) medications; or once again (c) PPE.

 

ANALYSIS

You will have noticed that PPE appears twice, which is not surprising, given its importance in the middle of a Global Pandemic.  So it is a high demand category that is evident in the initial shortages of things like face masks, gloves, and household cleaning wipes, and their ongoing high rates of usage and sporadic shortages as Covid rages-on.

Without passing judgement on the ethics, legality, or propriety of any of the following, I will give some examples of: (I) same category folding, (II) cross-category pairing, and (III) tri-category bridging, to make things happen.

I.   Same Category Folding, was already seen in technology, with teleconferencing that combines moving, with information. On a non-macro-level, it can also be seen with land, where you sublet that un-used portion of a commercial property that you own or let, or with shelter where you let out a portion of the home that you occupy.  Similarly with labor, if you are at home on furlough, then you may also be able to start a home based business and work from home to supplement unemployment insurance income or leverage and re-deploy any other funds made available to you during Covid.

II.   Cross-Category Pairing, can be seen where one uses a vehicle as technology that they own or control, and combines labor as an essential worker to now drive in a Ridesharing arrangement, or to deliver food, in either case as an essential worker. One can also work from home to produce clothing in the form of masks as PPE, or even another consumable in the form of advice and counseling services.

III.   Tri-Category Bridging, was in clear view when some people used their capital in sideflow, to buy and resell large amounts of PPE (clothing or consumables) or food and drink.  Knowledge workers can likewise work from home by investing (sideflow) in technology cloud power or production equipment as simple as a few camcorders, and then acting by creating consumables in services or content for larger providers, or even by themselves, such as with a short film, infomercial, or actual YouTube channel.

 

CONCLUSIONS

One would have factored-in the ability to liquidate personal goods to generate some quick cashflow.  However, the ability of Covid to linger on hard surfaces somewhat discourages those modern garage sales for all but the most hardy.  As the above shows, though, using a little ingenuity can help you find those hidden and glaring opportunities.

Most of us can look down and see five fingers or five toes, and those who cannot, have in many cases compensated and still been able to survive and even thrive despite those limitations.  So, just look to, and take an honest inventory of:

(i) your Possessions (across the original 8 factors), including what you occupy or control;

(ii) your Abilities (in terms of labour);

(iii) the “Rational” needs of the market (rational as in what “you” can manage to provide in line with the prevailing government medical advice or lockdown status, not what the people “feel” that they need, but that is totally unattainable or otherwise ill-advised for whatever reason or reasons at that time);

(iv) your own Tolerance of risk; and

(v) the many Synergies that you can create through Tri-category bridging, Cross-category pairing, and Same category folding …………… so, go on, take these “parts” and make them – and yourself, whole !

 

Good luck; Stay safe !

****************************************************************

 

Author:

Ekundayo George is a lawyer and sociologist.  He has also taken courses in organizational and micro-organizational behavior, and gained significant experience in programs, policy, regulatory compliance, litigation, and business law and counseling.  He has been licensed to practise law in Ontario and Alberta, Canada, as well as in New York, New Jersey, and Washington, D.C., in the United States of America.  See, for example: https://www.ogalaws.com.  A writer, blogger, and avid reader, Mr. George has sector experience in Technology (Telecommunications, eCommerce, Outsourcing, Cloud), Financial Services, Energy, Healthcare, Entertainment, Real Estate and Zoning, International/cross-border trade, other services, and Environmental Law and Policy; working with equal ease and effectiveness in his transitions to and from the public and private sectors.  He is a published author on the national security aspects of Environmental Law, has represented clients in courts and before regulatory bodies in both Canada and the United States, and he enjoys complex systems analysis in legal, technological, and societal millieux.

 

Trained in Legal Project Management (and having organized and managed several complex projects before practicing law), Mr. George is also an experienced negotiator, facilitator, team leader, and strategic consultant – sourcing, managing, and delivering on complex engagements with multiple stakeholders and multidisciplinary teams.  Team consulting competencies include program investigation, sub-contracted procurement of personnel and materials, and such diverse project deliverables as business process re-engineering, devising and delivering tailored training, crisis consulting, and targeted engagements through tapping a highly-credentialed resource pool of contract professionals with several hundred years of combined expertise, in: healthcare; education and training; law and regulation; policy and plans; statistics, economics, and evaluations including feasibility studies and business cases; infrastructure; and information technology/information systems (IT/IS) – also sometimes termed information communications technologies (ICT).  See, for example: https://www.simprime-ca.com.

 

Hyperlinks to external sites are provided to readers of this blog as a courtesy and convenience, only, and no warranty is made or responsibility assumed by either or both of George Law Offices and Strategic IMPRIME Consulting & Advisory, Inc. (“S’imprime-ça”) including employees, agents, directors, officers, successors & assigns, in whole or in part for their content, accuracy, or availability.

 

This article creates no lawyer-client relationship, and is not intended or deemed legal advice, business advice, the rendering of any professional service, or attorney advertising where restricted or barred.  The author and affiliated entities specifically disclaim and reject any and all loss claimed, no matter howsoever resulting as alleged, due to any action or inaction done in reliance on the contents herein.  Past results are no guarantee of future success, and specific legal advice should be sought for particular matters through counsel of your choosing, based on such factors as you deem appropriate.

 

[1] Ekundayo George.  FINDING AND CATCHING WIND TO SAIL IN A DEAD CALM DOWNTURN (Part 1, 2011).  Posted September 3, 2011, on ogalaws.wordpress.com.  Online: >https://ogalaws.wordpress.com/issues-counseling/<

[2] Ekundayo George.  FINDING AND CATCHING WIND TO SAIL IN A DEAD CALM DOWNTURN (Part 2, 2013).  Posted January 3, 2013, on ogalaws.wordpress.com.  Online: >https://ogalaws.wordpress.com/2013/01/03/finding-and-catching-wind-to-sail-in-a-dead-calm-downturn-part-2/<

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