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Is the Coronavirus Crisis Bringing Us Together? Not According to This Study

Last Updated September 23, 2020 1:49 PM
Aaron Weaver
Last Updated September 23, 2020 1:49 PM
  • We have traditionally thought that crises bring humans together.
  • New data reveals that the coronavirus might actually be making us more selfish.
  • As people throw money at gun stores and video games, they’re pulling it away from people in need.

While most people believe that human beings come together during a crisis, our money tells a different story.

The New York Times just released a report detailing how our spending habits have changed during the coronavirus pandemic.  The results are mostly predictable, but upon deeper investigation, there’s a disturbing message. We might be more selfish than we think.

The New York Times Coronavirus Spending Report

The NYT spending report is fascinating, albeit mostly expected. Groceries saw the most significant increase in spending, while travel saw the steepest decline.

Spending Habits
Source: The New York Times 

The good news is that after the country had its major stockpiling freakout, grocery shopping has leveled off. As you might expect, online grocery shopping has skyrocketed this year.

Online Shopping
Source: The New York Times 

But the real surprise is not how we buy groceries, but how we relate to others.

We Would Much Rather Play Video Games Than Help Out During This Pandemic

Sadly, one of the categories we’re spending far less money on during the coronavirus crisis is “charitable giving.”

Coronavirus Spending
Source: The New York Times 

At first, you might think, ‘duh–people have less money, they’re not going to spend it on non-essential items.’ But, as we become less charitable, we rise in other ‘non-essential’ areas.

We’ve started spending a whole lot more money on video games, for example.

Coronavirus Spending
Source: The New York Times 

Video game companies are thriving.  Nintendo’s (OTCMKTS:NTDOY) stock has been steadily rising. It’s suddenly not too far from its high for the past year.

Nintendo is having a great month. | Source: Google 

The same goes for popular gaming companies like Activision Blizzard,  Electronic Arts, and Ubisoft. It’s not necessarily that we don’t have money to spend; it’s that we want to spend it on ourselves.

How many Americans turned away from people in need to use their extra cash on a firearm? Gun sales have skyrocketed  since the coronavirus started spreading in the U.S.

Gun Sales
Source: The New York Times 

People all over the world have engaged in selfish behavior that’s helped this virus spread. Spring breakers ignored distancing rules so they could keep the party going. Let’s not even talk the people getting in fistfights over toilet paper. 

We Are Not Acting As We Thought We Might

Scientific American thinks that the stress of a disaster brings us closer together.  

They state:

Acute stress may actually lead to greater cooperative, social, and friendly behavior.

It seems as though we’ve passed the “acute stress” stage of this pandemic. Have we already gotten used to the massive reality shift this pandemic has created? Are we already ‘back to normal,’ at least in an emotional sense?

We’re putting money back into the stock market at record rates. The video game industry is booming. And yet, as billions of people were struggling to survive before the virus hit, we don’t seem to be very interested in helping them out.

It’s easy, and correct, to criticize our hapless leaders, but are we any better if we’re just at home, mashing buttons with our thumbs?

If you want to buck the trend, here’s a list of charities that are focusing on coronavirus response.  And if anyone needs a little self-(ish)-motivation, it’s now much easier to get a tax write-off for your donation. 

Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect the views of CCN.com.