Pandemic is the Biggest Threat to Markets in the Next Decade - FTX CEO

Sam Bankman-Fried. Source: a video screenshot, Forbes / YouTube

 

Sam Bankman-Fried (SBF), founder and CEO of major crypto exchange FTX, argues that the world didn't learn many lessons from the COVID-19 outbreak, and new possible pandemics are the biggest issue that could potentially threaten the markets in the next 5 to 10 years.

SBF has recently been consulted by the mainstream on a number of relevant issues - including those not directly crypto-related, but rather affecting the economy at large. This arguably provides legitimacy not only to him as a crypto and finance figure, but to his companies as well, placing them on 'the respectable firms' list.  

The billionaire made the above-stated comments in an interview with Bloomberg, where he was asked about the next big risk that could threaten the world in the coming years.

"One thing that has seemed particularly important to me is how we handle future pandemics," SBF said, noting that the world was not ready when COVID-19 hit.

He said there was no coordination among countries in terms of what the response should be. Therefore, he expressed concern that there could be a "repeat of what happened" if another pandemic hits, killing many people while also bringing the economy to a halt amid the chaos and lockdowns.

"The biggest problem is that there weren’t that many lessons we really learned as a society," the billionaire said. "We are in much the same place we were beforehand. There’s almost no discourse about a future pandemic and almost no momentum."

The COVID-19 outbreak sent shock waves across global markets. Not only did it lead to supply chain bottlenecks, but it also resulted in a massive increase in monetary supply as countries attempted to nullify the impacts of the devastating economic hit with relief packages.

SBF noted that all of the measures "never really averted" economic impact from the pandemic, which is evident from soaring inflation, a slumping economy, and slumping markets - all of which "trace back to COVID or our responses to it to try to mitigate the short-term economic impact."

"One of the fortunate things is that this is bipartisan: No one wants pandemics," he added. "This isn’t one party against another, in the way that some debates over some specific mitigation techniques ended up being."

Meanwhile, Abby Joseph Cohen, former Goldman Sachs strategist, argued that the biggest issue that could threaten the US in the coming years is a lack of labor force. Cohen said that the US has been very dependent on immigration. And as of now, there is a massive labor shortage at all ends.

"I spent a lot of time looking at the other end," he said. "Do we have enough new scientists? Do we have enough new engineers? Do we have enough new doctors? And the answer is: No, we don’t."

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(Updated at 11:02 UTC to clarify that pandemics are considered to be the biggest threat.)