It’s hard to be excited when talking about today’s coronavirus pandemic, when millions of people have been infected.
However, various research around the UK like GoDaddy shows the coronavirus pandemic has been a massive boon to entrepreneurship. And this could help our economy both recover and thrive for years to come.
But while jobs have suffered, new micro business startups have skyrocketed.
The government commendably offered a number of startups and etablished busiesses a lifeline at the peak of the crisis, but despite the slowly improving funding picture, we are now starting to see the pent-up effect of the pandemic on UK businesses.
Government support has artificially kept companies afloat and delayed the true impact. but with the second lockdown to non essential businesses we are only now starting to see more severe damage to UK businesses that could puts the survival of an entire bricks and mortar business generation of innovative companies at risk.
Will the Start Up Trends in 2020 continue through 2021?
A survey of 1,000 GoDaddy customers found 15 per cent of new UK entrepreneurs had made the leap due to job loss or furlough
UK workers have been turning to starting their own companies in unprecedented numbers as fears over job security have spurred a new wave of entrepreneurs.
The “State of the Nation” review, compiled by the group GoDaddy, showed there had been a 14 per cent increase in micro-businesses, start-ups with nine or fewer employees. They have experienced a 62 per cent increase in new UK customers and this is only one domain provider.
How many people actually have any desire at all to become the start ups of tomorrow?
There are, on average, 18,100 searches per month in Google UK for “how to start a business” based on data from kwfinder.com
This has surged in recent months with Google Trends predicting that January 2020 will demonstrate the highest number of searches since records began in 2004 for this query in the UK (by quite some way)
So what’s are we witnessing happening?
We are witnessing a few interesting events. “First, we are seeing unemployed workers starting their own businesses. Realising they need to be responsible for their own financial destinies, these micro entrepreneurs are opting out of the traditional workforce to start their own companies. Secondly, we are seeing virtual employees launching their own businesses.”
With 96 per cent of all UK enterprises identified as “micro-businesses” this sector could play a key role supporting an economic recovery.
With regards to the latter trend, Diane says “I think the mindset for many has become ‘if I’m going to ditch the office, why not ditch the boss too?” And many new work-from-home employees have now gained one to three hours per day as their commutes have been eliminated. Some have been using this time to develop their business plans and launch their own online companies.”
The GoDaddy Figures also revealed encouraging levels of confidence and resilience – 85 per cent were confident that their businesses would continue, with third of these expecting their businesses to thrive.
This was supported by 70 per cent who believed their businesses would recover fully within 12 months.
This was despite 38 per cent of the UK’s smallest businesses being forced to close on temporarily, and almost three-quarters having lost revenue (72 per cent), due to Covid-19 restrictions.
Micro-businesses also still planned to keep up business spending, with 29 per cent confirming that they would continue to invest in their ventures and one in 10 planning to invest more in the companies over the next three to five years
“Government initiatives alone are not sufficient to support startups most in need of funding and cashflow in the current economic climate. It’s possibly the growth of micro businesses that will provide the innovation and jobs that will drive the UK’s economic recovery, and they need urgent support.”
So How Can We Help and What is our Advice?
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About Diane Shawe
Diane Shawe is author of several books on Amazon and Google Books.
The traditional belief that we must prepare ourselves to be ‘employable’ is under threat. The counter argument encourages us to ‘gear up’ for earning our own money, rather than seeing income as someone else’s responsibility. Get your copy today. http://amzn.to/3945Njd
I have been in inundated with message’s through my phone and emails that for instance Covid-19 truthers believe that 5G technology is dialing up the disease. That they are (the government killing off small businesses) trying to control us.
I became curious to find out if other conspiracy theories existed for previous pandemics and who were more gullible to them. I discovered that more than a century ago, telegraph poles and other mysterious causes were blamed for influenza. And each gave rise to dubious cures.
I also discovered that Alex Knapton had researched and written an extensive and factual article on the topic recently and I invite you to read it.
Science I write about the future of science, technology, and culture. GETTY IMAGES
As the Covid-19 pandemic swept the globe in early 2020, a conspiracy theory about the disease went viral on social media: The genesis of the illness, proponents claim, was not the coronavirus SARS-CoV-2. Instead, this pandemic was actually caused by the introduction of 5G broadband, and radiation from cell towers equipped with the technology is the real culprit.
It doesn’t take Dr. Fauci to know that conspiracy theories have always been a predictable symptom of pandemics. More than a century ago, the truthers of the day tried to blame a deadly influenza outbreak on a similar technological innovation.
On January 31, 1890, the European edition of the New York Herald ran an item suggesting that the electric light was somehow responsible for a global influenza outbreak. After all, “the disease has raged chiefly in towns where the electric light is in common use,” the article noted, and went on to note that the disease “has everywhere attacked telegraph employees.
The illness in question was the first modern influenza pandemic, known as the Russian flu or “La Grippe.” The disease likely emerged somewhere in the Russian Empire in 1889 and quickly spread around the world in successive waves. It took only four months to hit every part of the globe, with the United States seeing its peak in January 1890. More than a million people (of the 1.5 billion on earth) were killed worldwide in that first wave.
The Russian flu was in part a consequence of a newly globalized world. Railroads and transoceanic steamships were perfect conduits for the disease, accelerating its growth across countries and continents. As with Covid-19, the earlier pandemic also caused a spread of misinformation, conspiracies and countless dubious therapies. Instead of the internet, these ideas were promulgated by newspaper and telegraph—but the impact was similar.
“People have an epistemic need to know the truth and they also have an existential need to feel safe,” says Dr. Karen Douglas, a researcher who studies the psychology of conspiracy theories. “In times of crisis, these needs are unmet so conspiracy theories can seem appealing.”
When reports of the Russian flu first emerged, medical science was in the middle of a major transition. The early 19th century was dominated by what’s known as “miasma theory”—the idea that diseases spread through the inhalation of “bad air” from rotting matter. By the mid-19th century, though, the germ theory of disease— what we now understand as the idea that illness is caused by microbes—became increasingly popular, though miasma proponents persisted even into the early 20th century.
Even with the advances in medicine by 1889, the causes of the Russian flu pandemic were still unknown. While scientists such as Edward Jenner and Louis Pasteur had already developed vaccines to protect against and prevent diseases, the discovery of the first virus was still three years away. And it wasn’t until the early 1900s that viruses capable of infecting humans would be discovered. That the Russian flu and the Spanish flu pandemic of 1918 were caused by influenza viruses wouldn’t be definitively determined until 1933.
This vital knowledge gap in 1889 meant that doctors and researchers were at a loss to explain the new illness spreading around the world. Contemporary newspaper accounts chronicled the many and varied theories that doctors at the time had about the outbreak. One account in The Boston Globe noted its similarities to dengue fever. An article in the New York Times NYTcompared it to the disease that felled President William Henry Harrison in 1841. Such uncertainty about the nature of influenza helped fuel conspiracy theories and wild speculation about its causes.
The proto-trutherism from the Russian flu has close parallels in today’s pandemic. Although scientists know quite a bit about the novel coronavirus causing Covid-19, that hasn’t stopped speculation about its origins. One prominent conspiracy theory is that the virus was deliberately bioengineered in a lab to cause the pandemic. Depending on which theory you believe, the culprits behind Covid-19 range from the Chinese government to the U.S. government to Microsoft MSFT cofounder Bill Gates. The coronavirus behind this pandemic almost certainly naturally evolved—there is already considerable genetic evidence pointing to it—but that doesn’t halt the rampant speculation.
“This is a classic example of a phenomenon in conspiracy theory research that people perceive patterns that are impossible, or at best very unlikely,” says Dr. Douglas. “People essentially ‘join the dots’ when connections shouldn’t be made. When there is so much information going around, and pieces of information often contradict each other, people are more likely to see these illusory patterns.”
While there weren’t any whispers about genetic engineering in the 1890s (after all, DNA itself wouldn’t be discovered for nearly 70 years), that didn’t stop more fantastical theories about the origin of the Russian flu from infecting the public. In addition to the idea that telegraph poles or electricity might be responsible for the spread of the disease, Dr. William Gentry of Chicago caught the attention of newspapers by claiming he had isolated the microbes that caused the pandemic.
The source of these microbes, Dr. Gentry claimed, was stardust passing through the Earth’s atmosphere at regular 16- to 17-year intervals. Other physicians soberly rejected Dr. Gentry’s idea—preferring instead to consider the role of volcanic dust, bird migrations or other equally misguided causes.
This lack of understanding about the new deadly strain of flu left doctors perplexed as to the best way to treat it. An 1889 article in The Lancet conceded that “our want of complete knowledge of the nature of the disease renders it difficult to suggest measures of prophylaxis other than the uniform observance of general hygienic rules.” (That’s another sobering parallel to today’s pandemic—as of now, the only approved therapy for Covid-19 is remdesivir, which has been granted an emergency use authorization by the FDA thanks to clinical trial findings showing it can reduce hospital stays.)
In the absence of science-based treatments for the Russian flu, many dubious therapies flourished—taking advantage of people scared of a disease for which no known treatment existed. This, too, has parallels in today’s pandemic. The FDA has sent multiple warnings out to a variety of companies pushing specious cures, ranging from herbal teas to colloidal silver solutions to ingesting detergent.
Newspaper advertisements from the 19th century similarly tout a number of “cures” for the Russian flu. Castor oil was a treatment pushed by at least one newspaper, and other protocols included a bronchial inhaler and an electric battery (which promised to improve eyesight, to boot.) Even doctors promoted the idea that drinking brandy and eating oysters was the key to staving off infection.
The most famous remedy for the Russian Flu, however, was the carbolic smoke ball. These were manufactured in London and widely advertised. The balls released a “smoke” of finely ground phenol powder (an ingredient commonly used in soaps at the time) that would be inhaled through the nostrils. The company that manufactured this treatment promised that it would prevent customers from catching the Russian flu. And if the product failed, the company promised to recoup its customers £100— or about $13,000 today. In December 1891, Mrs. Elizabeth Carlill purchased one of those products and used it on multiple occasions. Then she succumbed to the epidemic.
Because the carbolic smoke balls failed to work, Carlill and her husband filed a claim with the Carbolic Smoke Ball Company, but it was ignored. In 1892, the couple took their case to court. In the case of Carlill v. Carbolic Smoke Ball Company, the court found that that Mrs. Carlill was entitled to the money and that the Carbolic Smoke Ball Company was in breach of contract for failing to pay her upon submitting the claim. The ruling was a vindication for Mrs. Carlill and the case itself is still cited as precedent throughout common law jurisdictions, including the United States, and is frequently taught in law school classes to this day.
In another parallel with the Covid-19 pandemic, there was also a class of drugs that existed on the border of sound science and wishful thinking. During the 1889 pandemic, quinine, an antimalarial drug that is the antecedent of chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine, was promoted by newspapers and doctors as a treatment for the Russian flu. Though many members of the medical establishment appear to have opposed the use of quinine as a treatment for the disease, these warnings went unheeded.
In December 1889, a Boston newspaper chronicled people taking quinine to combat the disease. That same month, an investigative article in the Kansas City Star bemoaned price gouging for quinine pills and noted that demand for them was keeping medicine out of the hands of people suffering from malaria. This has its own parallel today, where there have been multiple reports that excess demand of hydroxychloroquine may cause harm for those suffering from rheumatoid arthritis, for which that medication is often prescribed as a treatment.
While studies are still being conducted about the efficacy of these Covid-19 treatments, there is little doubt that these drugs can be highly toxic and several clinical studies bear this out. In one tragic case of desperation, a man in Phoenix died (and his wife was hospitalized) after ingesting a chloroquine derivative intended for use as a fish tank cleaner to prevent the illness.
That tragedy also has an unfortunate parallel in the Russian flu. Newspapers in January 1891 reported at least two instances in which families suffering from the Russian flu mistakenly took the poison strychnine, thinking they were ingesting quinine. Several of them died as a consequence.
An unhealthy dose of misinformation, conspiracy theories and the embrace of dubious treatments is quite common during epidemics and pandemics, says Dr. Douglas, who adds that the psychology around them is intertwined. “Research suggests that people who believe in conspiracy theories are more likely to turn to alternative remedies and distrust mainstream medicine.”
More alarming, the spread of misinformation and the lack of trust in scientific evidence has the potential to cause real harm. Turning to untested treatments can lead people away from getting the care they need, exposing them to greater risk. And while some alternatives, such as drinking herbal teas, are relatively harmless, others are not. Colloidal silver, for example, which the FDA has warned against, can cause permanent skin discoloration and make it difficult for your body to absorb medicines, including antibiotics.
Occasionally, the spread of conspiracy theories can cause actual harm as well. In the United Kingdom, where the idea that 5G causes Covid-19 has taken a firm hold in a significant segment of the population, there have been dozens of attacks on telecom towers. While no one has actually been killed yet, it’s not for lack of trying—the UK conspiracy theorists are hiding razor blades in anti-5G posters on telephone poles and threatening harm to people who work on those cell towers.
Even as companies are racing to develop a vaccine for Covid-19, conspiracy theorists may prevent people from taking them. Anti-vaxxer activists have pounced on Covid-19, protesting against vaccine development efforts and teaming with protesters fed up with stay-at-home orders. “Experimental research also shows that exposure to conspiracy theories increases vaccine hesitancy,” says Dr. Douglas. And polling bears that out: In a recent poll, 1 in 5 Americans said they would not take a vaccine for the coronavirus if it became available.
Perhaps the most insidious conspiracy theory about Covid-19 is one that seems more innocuous—the simple downplaying of the harms of the disease. You don’t have to go deep into Facebook or Twitter to find speculation that Covid-19 fears are overblown. Similarly, there are numerous opinion pieces and TV segments devoted to the idea that the economic damage from stay-at-home orders causes more harm than the disease itself.
“This is very common because it allows people to pretend that nothing is wrong and they can get on with their lives,” Dr. Douglas says. “This is an example of motivated reasoning. People believe what they want to believe.”
Once again, there is a historic precedent in the Russian flu pandemic. In an article about the illness in a December edition of The New York Times, it was reported that while the disease was spreading, it was mostly harmless. “There is nothing fatal about the universal cold,” wrote the author.
By time the epidemic subsided a few months later, the Russian flu had claimed the lives of more than 2,500 New Yorkers, making it the hardest hit city in the United States.
8 minutes and 46 seconds struck a match globally and for most people after being in lockdown for 2 months, a time to slow down, digest, rest and reflect, this 8 minutes and 46 seconds removed the pink tinted glasses around the world about race relations, justice and inequality.
Firstly I needed to look up and define the different faces of stigma.
a) Public stigma is the reaction that the general population has to people with mental illness.
b) Self-stigma is the prejudice which people with mental illness turn against themselves.
c) Both public and self-stigma may be understood in terms of three components: stereotypes, prejudice, and discrimination
An example of stigma is the spot on an otherwise blemish-free potato. So when a person maintains they have not experienced racism, or they have black friends or I just don’t get it, they are in some way claiming that in accordance to their blemish free experience it does not exist. Probably not a fabulous example, but we can all improvise.
I have been impressed and recently stimulated by George Baldwin a author who used his distinct perspective and lyrical writing to shed light on issues of race, homosexuality, and religion in a way that placed him ahead of his time when it came to social commentary. One of his poignant quotes ‘times’ as follows:
“What is it you want me to reconcile myself to? I was born here almost sixty years ago. I’m not going to live another sixty years. You always told me it takes time. It has taken my father’s time, my mother’s time. My uncle’s time. My brother’s and sister’s time. My niece’s and my nephew’s time.
How much time do you want for your…’progress’?”
So I want to try and reframe the argument for racism by describing it as Social Oppression. Maybe this way more individuals might be able to see, feel and put into context the often intangible experiences of racism which is alien to some.
Social oppressionis a concept that describes the relationship between two categories of people in which one benefits from the systematic abuse and exploitation of the other. Because social oppression is something that occurs between categories of people, it should not be confused with the oppressive behaviour of individuals. In cases of social oppression, all members of the dominant and subordinate groups are involved, regardless of individual attitudes or behaviour.
The outcome of social oppression is that groups in society are sorted into different positions within the social hierarchies of race, class, gender, sexuality, and ability. Those in the controlling, or dominant group, benefit from the oppression of other groups through heightened privileges relative to others, greater access to rights and resources, a better quality of life, and overall greater life chances. Those who experience the brunt of oppression have fewer rights, less access to resources, less political power, lower economic potential, worse health and higher mortality rates, and lower overall life chances.
Groups that experience oppression within the United States and other Countries include racial and ethnic minorities, women, poor LGBT people, and the lower classes and the poor. Groups that benefit from oppression in the U.S. include white people (and sometimes light-skinned racial and ethnic minorities), men, heterosexual people, and the middle and upper classes.
One thing we should be able to agree on
All humans belong to the same species (Homo sapiens) and sub-species (Homo sapiens sapiens), but small genetic variations trigger varying physical appearances.
Another prospective for instance – in the sea and rivers around the world it is filled with thousands of different fish’s but they are all still fishes because primarily they can only survive in water. Just imagine a group of fishes deciding that another group of fishes did not deserve or fit the criteria to exist in water? They devised strategies to segregate, disenfranchise, starve, degrade and kill, what do you think would happen?
Though humans often are subdivided into races, the actual morphological variations don’t indicate major differences in DNA.
The DNA of two humans chosen at random generally varies by less than 0.1%. Because racial genetic differences aren’t strong, some scientists describe all humans as belonging to a single race: the human race.
Race vs. Ethnicity
Examples of ethnicity include being labelled as Irish, Jewish, or Cambodian, regardless of race. Ethnicity is considered an anthropological term because it is based on learned behaviours, not biological factors. Many people have mixed cultural backgrounds and can share in more than one ethnicity.
Race and ethnicity can overlap. For example, a Japanese-American would probably consider herself a member of the Japanese or Asian race, but, if she doesn’t engage in any practices or customs of her ancestors, she might not identify with the ethnicity, instead considering herself an American.
Another way to look at the difference is to consider people who share the same ethnicity. Two people might identify their ethnicity as American, yet one is black and the other white. A person born of Asian descent growing up in Britain might identify racially as Asian and ethnically as British.
Race Trumps Ethnicity
New York University sociology professor Dalton Conley spoke to PBS about the difference between race and ethnicity for the program “Race: The Power of an Illusion”: “The fundamental difference is that race is socially imposed and hierarchical. There is an inequality built into the system. Furthermore, you have no control over your race; it’s how you’re perceived by others.”
Conley, like other sociologists, argues that ethnicity is more fluid and crosses racial lines:
“I have a friend who was born in Korea to Korean parents, but as an infant, she was adopted by an Italian family in Italy. Ethnically, she feels Italian: She eats Italian food, she speaks Italian, she knows Italian history and culture. She knows nothing about Korean history and culture. But when she comes to the United States, she’s treated racially as Asian.”
Differences between race and ethnicity:
Race is biological, while ethnicity is cultural.
Ethnicity can be displayed or hidden, while race generally cannot be.
Ethnicity can be adopted, ignored, or broadened, while racial characteristics cannot.
Ethnicity has subcategories, while races no longer do.
Both have been used to subjugate or persecute people.
Some sociologists believe that racial divisions are based more on sociological concepts than biological principles.
All groups make up a society, social oppression disenfranchised the interconnect structure.
A lone brick cannot build a house, collective brick can, but it has to be based on a strong foundation.
So what needs to be put right
To start with to put in place procedures and policies with zero tolerance to being misinterpreted to correct the collective failure of any institution or organisation to provide an appropriate and professional service to people because of their colour, culture, or ethnic origin.
We have seen the rise of diversity employees and training, but this is often window dressing.
When institutions and organisations prepare there risk assessment, there SWOT analysis there ISO 9001 the findings are then written into the DNA of the company or organisation to ensure there survival.
Educational institutions are important because they need to equally inform their students about the truth of history so that it does not keep repeating the warped narrowing that perpetuates ignorance, victimisation, intolerance and oppressive entitlement behaviours.
I finish with scripture
Suppose a man comes into your meeting wearing a gold ring and fine clothes, and a poor man in shabby clothes also comes in. If you show special attention to the man wearing fine clothes and say, ‘Here’s a good seat for you,’ but say to the poor man, ‘You stand there’ or ‘Sit on the floor by my feet,’ have you not discriminated among yourselves and becomes judges with evil thoughts? Listen, my dear brothers: Has not God chosen those who are poor in the eyes of the world to be rich in faith and to inherit the kingdom He promised those who love Him? But you have insulted the poor. Is it not the rich who are exploiting you? Are they not the ones who are dragging you into court?” James 2:2-6