To get through the current crisis, nations – like businesses – will have to completely recalibrate their organization. Businesses know this better than nations, because they are aware of the precarity of their situation; they constantly ask themselves the question, even if they don’t refer to it as such, of whether their “businesss model” (as defined by Anglo-Saxon universities) is still valid; that is if they can continue to produce and sell in an equalized, balanced way. And yet today, even if many continue to hope that everything will quickly return to the former economy, they are starting to realize, in numerous sectors, (and first of all in the first ones to be affected: banks, distribution, the automobile industry, air transport) that their “business model” doesn’t work anymore. Customers are no longer there to purchase; banks are no longer there to lend. And this calls for lasting reorganization.

First the quantitative reorganization: in order to survive for several years on much lower earnings, they will have to reduce their spending on investments, their stocks, their product lines; they will have to spread out the delays of payments to their suppliers; they will have to transform the largest portion possible of fixed costs into variable costs. In other words, standardizing precarity and aggravating the crisis.

Next the qualitative reorganization: consumers will seek to consume more and more carefully: ostentation is out of place and we are entering for the foreseeable future into an economy of sales in which each business will have the biggest trouble in maintaining the uniqueness of brands faced with their generic counterparts.

Governments, confronted with the same problems, are not acting as quickly. Because they don’t have the same demands to survive; because they are sometimes more threatened by voters in acting than in not acting; because they believe they still have time; because they are overwhelmed with very complex decision-making mechanisms and opposing lobbies. So, in the absence of action, they talk. They announce enormous recovery projects which are insanely difficult to pay out: while the first priority is growth in the capital stock of banks, improvement of business treasuries, growth in demand and reduction of debts and therefore deficits, nothing serious is being done in any country.

Inversely, central banks are not talking, due to the rigidity of their doctrines and the individuality of their goals, but they are acting: they are providing immense sums to the economy, even allowing businesses, in contempt of all orthodoxy, to obtain money directly in exchange for business papers, using names as discreet and obscure as possible in them (the last qualifier to appear in the memos of central bank leadership being “quantitative easing,” which is, in a word, printing money).

But this cannot suffice: a business cannot survive by internal reforms alone nor by resorting to paper currency alone. It cannot in reality deposit its clients’ liquid money to central banks if it doesn’t have any. If the market, once again, turns out to be faster and more adaptable than democracy, we will go straight to hyperinflation (over 20% per year), the most extreme kind of breach, which will make debts disappear to the detriment of lenders. Already, many businesses are learning to swim. While many democracies will sink.