A few thoughts about being a small business owner as the H1N1 Virus--a.k.a. swine flu--dominates our consciousness: Just a year ago, economists at the St. Louis Federal Reserve published a report on the economic effects of the Influenza Pandemic of 1918. It’s shocking to read the statistics from 1918, but to review: among the 40 million people who died worldwide as a result of the pandemic (!) were nearly 1% of the U.S. population (!!), a figure that would be the equivalent of three million people today (!!!).
- Sales of box springs and mattresses soared, since bed rest was the major prescription of the day, along with drug store sales and health care services.
- In certain locations and industries, massive labor shortages developed as all able-bodied men fell ill and many died.
In contrast, I remember reporting to my Wall Street finance job in the early morning of Friday, September 14, 2001, while the burning stench and acrid toxins from the smoldering WTC Tower filled our nostrils. Of course the subway didn’t run below Houston Street, about a mile from our office building, so we walked through a rain storm past military checkpoints to a pointless day of following the boss’s orders. We knew it was neither safe nor healthy nor profitable to be there--there were no customers to do business with. But, you know, when you work for Big Co., you do what they told ya. I started my plan to found Cedarcrest shortly after.
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