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'Your wealth or your 401(k) isn’t going to protect you': NYU's Galloway

Julia La Roche
Correspondent

Scott Galloway, professor of marketing at NYU Stern School of Business, believes we will emerge from COVID-19 pandemic to a “much different” world.

In an interview with Yahoo Finance, Galloway explained that one of the advantages of the human species is its ability to adapt, with the critical question being, “What will we learn?”

“[I’m] hopeful that corona might end up serving, if you will, as a bit of a vaccination itself. And, that is, if you had the virology of corona and the mortality of Ebola, you could have the end of our species. And, this might be an opportunity for us to really battle test our systems, immunize our beliefs, our capital allocation, and our industries such that if and when this happens again — because it’s not if, it’s when — that we’re better prepared for it,” Galloway said.

For starters, the NYU professor expects the U.S. will probably “rethink our priorities in capital allocation.” He pointed out that throughout history, pathogens have resulted in more death of people than violence or war combined. Yet, the budget for the Department of Defense is north of $680 billion, while the CDC’s is only around $12 billion.

A COVID-19 testing tent is setup on a sidewalk in the Brooklyn borough of New York, Friday, March 27, 2020. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)

What’s more, he expects Americans will wake up to the fact that defunding government in critical areas such as climate change or pathogens will have consequences that wealth won’t be able to shield.

“It’s become evident that the virus doesn’t care about your political ideology, or your wealth, or your status. In America, I think we’ve taken cold comfort in believing that we’re all going to be rich and that none of us are ever going to get sick,” he said, later adding, “Your wealth or your 401(k) isn’t going to protect you.”

In terms of the future of business, Galloway believes that new sectors and companies will emerge, from distributed health and telehealthcare to the growth in online education that will disrupt the limited number of enrollment spots on university campuses.

Most importantly, he hopes that people will walk away, recognizing “the greatness in the agency of others.”

“I’d like to think a lot of what we’re taking from this is that viruses have no respect for borders, and what can we learn from our allies, how can we join hands and fight this collectively? Such that again, we realize a comity of man here. And that this supersedes a lot of things we were concerned out before this,” he said.

Julia La Roche is a Correspondent at Yahoo Finance. Follow her on Twitter