"Overnight, The World Became The Twilight Zone" - Exodus From Cities Sparks Mountain-Dweller Greatest Fear

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"Overnight, The World Became The Twilight Zone" - Exodus From Cities Sparks Mountain-Dweller Greatest Fear

Social distancing is transforming society as we know it. City dwellers are packing up their bags and are heading for the mountains amid the virus crisis.  

"Overnight, the world took a sharp turn into the Twilight Zone," Gina Grande told the Los Angeles Times. "I had to get out of there. So, I made a beeline to my boss' office and said, 'Th

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is is awkward, but can I please telecommute from Southern California?'" 

Grande, terrified of the fast-spreading COVID-19 outbreak in San Francisco, which is where she works and lives, left the metro area for her second home on the outskirts of Joshua Tree National Park, a desert area located in southern California. 

As the pandemic sweeps across California's largest cities, residents are fleeing their urban settings to isolated communities in the Mojave Desert or the rugged Sierra Nevada. The hope is that a remote area can reduce their transmission risk. 

But for some, social distancing measures enforced by the government have not just limited their mobility to and from work and or even their ability to go outside, residents in Los Angeles last week were restricted from leaving the city to vacation homes. 

In Mammoth Lakes, a town in California's Sierra Nevada mountains, banned non-residents because infection risk in the small community would quickly overwhelm their hospital system. 

The flight from cities to rural communities during the outbreak, ignited by fear, could be the next hottest trend for real estate that revives dying suburbs. Families, who've been subjected to chaos at Costco stores of panic hoarding or forced quarantine in their tiny 550 square-foot studios, want the freedom of rural communities and the security of land that could power them through any crisis. 

In Joshua Tree, vacation rental companies have said concerned families from large metro areas are renting short-term rentals for weeks and or months at a time following the virus outbreak. 

"We just confirmed two rentals for long-term stays over three weeks," said Josh Sonntag, who operates several rental units in the area. "In both cases, social distancing and the ability to work remotely was important."

Bryan Wynwood, the owner of Joshua Tree Modern Real Estate, said, "Every call I get is related to the coronavirus. Some of them are from city dwellers worried about being stuck in the center of a metropolis that loses control of its basic public services."

Sam Steinman, 28, owns several short-term rentals in Joshua Tree, said he'd noticed the desperation in city dwellers' voices who are willing to pay double for his properties to escape the outbreak in large cities. 

"I've seen this kind of fear and desperation before in Israel during rocket attacks," Steinman said. "A friend recently asked if I had a gun he could borrow. I said absolutely not."

And maybe, just maybe, COVID-19 will have a long-lasting impact on choices made by city dwellers, who have just realized their entire lives can come crashing down in a public health crisis - though, some are making a mad dash to remote areas where life goes on as usual. 

A noticeable trend is developing: A revival of dying suburbs could be on the horizon as cities are just too dangerous when everything goes to sh*t. 

If you’re looking to flee a metro area, not just because of a virus crisis, but also because housing prices in cities are due for a major correction, here are some affordable suburbs in America that you might find interesting.

Tyler Durden

Wed, 03/25/2020 - 20:10

The Twilight Of The Global Order

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Authored by Ana Palacio via Project Syndicate,

We live in an era of hyperbole, in which gripping accounts of monumental triumphs and devastating disasters take precedence over realistic discussions of incremental progress and gradual erosion. But in international relations, as in anything, crises and breakthroughs are only part of the story; if we fail also to notice less sensational trends, we may well find ourselves in serious trouble – potentially after it is too late to escape.

The recent G7 Summit

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in Biarritz, France, is a case in point. Despite some positive developments – French President Emmanuel Macron, for example, was praised for keeping his American counterpart, Donald Trump, in check – little was achieved. And, beyond the question of substantive results, the summit’s structure portends a progressive erosion of international cooperation – a slow, steady chipping away at the global order.

It is somewhat ironic that the G7 presages the future, because it is in many ways a relic of the past. Formed in the 1970s, at the height of the Cold War, it was supposed to serve as a forum for the major developed economies: Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom, and the United States.

After the fall of the Soviet Union, the G7 continued to shape global governance on issues ranging from debt relief to peace operations and global health. In 1997, the G7 became the G8, with the addition of Russia. Still, the body epitomized an era of Western preeminence in an institutionalized liberal world order in full bloom.

That era is long gone. The 2008 financial crisis hobbled the body’s core members, which, together with the rise of the emerging economies, especially China, meant that the group no longer possessed the critical mass required to guide world affairs.

The larger and more diverse G20, formed in 1999, thus gradually overtook the G8, formally replacing the latter as the world’s permanent international economic forum a decade later. In an increasingly complex and divided global environment, the G20’s flexible policymaking style – including a preference for non-binding commitments – was regarded as more viable than the hard-law methods of older multilateral institutions.

The G8 drifted along as a mere caucus. When Russia’s G8 membership was suspended in 2014 – a response to its invasion of Ukraine and annexation of Crimea – it became even less weighty, though more cohesive, with its members sharing a more consistent worldview. (Some, including Trump, now call for Russia’s reintroduction to the group.)

But even that slight advantage was demolished with Trump’s election in 2016. His administration began attacking allies and rejecting shared rules, norms, and values. The situation reached a nadir at the 2018 G7 Summit in Quebec, where a petulant Trump criticized his host, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, and publicly disavowed the summit’s final communiqué as soon as it was issued.

Against that backdrop, this year’s summit in Biarritz elicited great trepidation. With little hope for consensus on any consequential issue, the meeting’s French hosts focused on keeping up appearances, choosing expediency over impact. Goals were kept vague. In fact, Macron announced before the event that there would be no final statement, declaring that “nobody reads communiqués.”

But that decision represented a major loss. Final communiqués are policy documents, providing important signals about significant compromises to the international community. The 2018 declaration, which Trump rejected, was 4,000 words long, identifying a set of shared priorities and common approaches to addressing them.

The Biarritz summit, by contrast, ended with a 250-word statement that was so vague and anodyne as to be all but meaningless. On Iran, for example, G7 leaders could agree only that they “fully share two objectives: to ensure that Iran never acquires nuclear weapons and to foster peace and stability in the region.” On Hong Kong, they reaffirmed “the existence and importance of the Sino-British Joint Declaration of 1984 on Hong Kong” and called hollowly “for violence to be avoided.” On Ukraine, France and Germany promised to organize a summit “to achieve tangible results.”

To be sure, some positive steps were taken in Biarritz. Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif’s surprise appearance created a potential opening for future US-Iran talks. Pressure was placed on Brazil to respond to the fires that are decimating the Amazon. And the US and France broke an impasse over a French tax on tech giants. But any high-level international gathering produces these kinds of limited actions, merely by facilitating interaction among world leaders.

Many have recognized the shortcomings of the latest G7 summit. But, drawn to calamity as we so often are, assessments often center on the body’s possible collapse next year, when the G7 summit will be hosted in the US by Trump, who will go nowhere near the lengths to which Macron went to hold the last one together. (On the contrary, Trump’s interest in the summit seems to revolve around his desire to hold it at his struggling golf resort in Doral, Florida.)

But this perspective fails to recognize the full implications of the Biarritz summit: it signals a broader shift in international governance away from concrete policy cooperation toward vague statements and ad hoc solutions. To some extent, the G20 pioneered this approach, but at least it had vision and a set direction. That can no longer be expected.

Unless leaders take stock of the current trend, the conclusion of the Biarritz summit will be a marker of the world order’s future – ending not with a bang, but with a whimper.


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