Slippery Slope Transactions

As the world continues to grapple with the COVID-19 pandemic, many countries are eager to reopen their economies and return to some semblance of normalcy. However, the rush to reopen may be based on a flawed understanding of how our economy and society function, particularly with regards to what are known as “slippery slope transactions.”

Slippery slope transactions are those in which the average person does not really need a significant increase in effectiveness or performance for the product or service being sold. These transactions often rely on impulse buys or the manipulation of consumer behavior, rather than a genuine need or desire for the product. In the context of the COVID-19 pandemic, this can be seen in the rush to reopen businesses and public spaces, despite the continued risk of infection and transmission.

The costs of highjacking back the signal that once reliably correlated with impulse buys, particularly in terms of health and happiness, are likely to be significant. This means that even if people are willing to take the risk and return to pre-pandemic behaviors, there may be lasting consequences in terms of public health and wellbeing.

Moreover, the rush to reopen may also exacerbate existing inequalities and injustices in our society. Those who are most vulnerable to the effects of the pandemic, such as low-income and marginalized communities, are also the ones who are likely to bear the brunt of the costs of reopening too early. This includes not only the risks of infection and illness, but also the economic and social impacts of a potentially prolonged pandemic.

In short, the hurry to reopen may be driven by a flawed understanding of our economy and society, and the costs of highjacking back the signals of health and happiness may be too high to bear. As we continue to navigate the complexities of the COVID-19 pandemic, it is important that we approach the issue with mindfulness, compassion, and a commitment to the wellbeing of all members of our society. Only by working together can we hope to overcome this crisis and emerge stronger and more resilient on the other side.

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