Analysis & Opinions - Quartz

Bruce Schneier Says We Need to Embrace Inefficiency to Save Our Economy

| June 30, 2020

Note

It took a global pandemic and stay-at-home orders for 1.5 billion people worldwide, but something is finally occurring to us: The future we thought we expected may not be the one we get.

We know that things will change; how they’ll change is a mystery. To envision a future altered by coronavirus, Quartz asked dozens of experts for their best predictions on how the world will be different in five years.

Bruce Schneier's response is below.

For decades, we have prized efficiency in our economy. We strive for it. We reward it. In normal times, that's a good thing. Running just at the margins is efficient. A single just-in-time global supply chain is efficient. Consolidation is efficient. And that's all profitable. Inefficiency, on the other hand, is waste. Extra inventory is inefficient. Overcapacity is inefficient. Using many small suppliers is inefficient.

Inefficiency is unprofitable. But inefficiency is essential security, as the Covid-19 pandemic is teaching us. All of the overcapacity that has been squeezed out of our health care system; we now wish we had it. All of the redundancy in our food production that has been consolidated away; we want that, too. We need our old, local supply chains—not the single global ones that are so fragile in this crisis. And we want our local restaurants and businesses to survive, not just the national chains....

For more information on this publication: Belfer Communications Office
For Academic Citation: Schneier, Bruce.“Bruce Schneier Says We Need to Embrace Inefficiency to Save Our Economy.” Quartz, June 30, 2020.

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