BY OLIVIA CAMERON- Friends of Boca Grande is hosting their first program of an unpredictable season with Boca Grande resident and Wall Street investment banker Jim Runde’s talk, entitled “The Economic Report: Coping with the Pandemic,” on Wednesday, Oct. 21.
John Kissinger, former commercial banker in corporate finance, will introduce Runde as the featured speaker. The two are active members of the Boca Grande community.
“To give a synopsis of the talk, I will be providing context and perspective on the pandemic,” Runde explained. The topics will include public health, economics, the international dimension and the effect on politics.
From the human toll to the economy’s trauma, Runde will review the correlation between the beginning of the viral spread and the way it will affect the near future. “With all the information and data circulating, the situation is like a fire hose. I will use my research to provide an understandable context and turn information into insight,” said Runde.
Runde will discuss what he calls the three L’s: Lives, Livelihood and Lockdowns. In his talk, he will also address the international dimension of the pandemic and the pressure it has put on supply chains and third-world countries.
“The pandemic is pervasive,” said Runde. “As people are trickling back to Boca Grande, voting will be at the top of everyone’s minds. The election has been directly affected, and although I will not get political or medical, I will talk about why that is.”
Runde will also address a series of other questions on citizens’ minds, including why the stimulus is needed, why the recent data have shown better Covid-19 outcomes and how the priority of issues to voters has altered. Runde is also prepared to discuss the double-edged sword known as the K-shaped recovery.
Besides the foundational topics, the digital divide has been accentuated by the pandemic. The overall reliance on technology has become exponential. People have experienced sudden changes in their careers and education, whereby working or learning from home has become their only option, whether they have access to the broadband or not.
“At least 30 million people are on the wrong side of the digital divide,” said Runde. Leaving the broadband situation unresolved is untenable, because the pandemic has shown high-speed internet access to be as important as water or electricity.
Of course, the talk will shed light on the race to uncover a vaccine and how it correlates to the recovery of the economy.
But this program is not in lieu of the annual economic summit. The economics group of Boca Grande plans to hold that comprehensive review in the spring.
As the livestream guinea pig, Runde will kick off the season with an interactive event. The program will begin at 4:30 p.m. at $35 for general admission and $150 for sponsors.
To purchase event tickets, call the Friends of Boca Grande office at (941) 964-0827. For more information, visit friendsofbocagrande.org.