Even though the vaccines have the potential to reduce the Covid-19 pandemic to manageable levels, the scars will be felt for years to come.
Beyond the tragedy of the loss of human life, deepening inequality is perhaps the worst consequence of the pandemic. Governments around the world will seek to take steps to reduce it, fearing civil unrest.
This “like-no-other” Covid-19 pandemic is clearly a dangerously unique event, with ongoing severe economic and social consequences all around the globe. Nassim Taleb has famously described the Black Swan and more recently, BIS researchers pointed to the Green Swan in reference to the impact of climate change.
But the Covid-19 Swan is quite a combination of colours. It is an ongoing emergency situation, with fear often overcoming hope while anxiety heightens amid a decline in living standards.
Before the new coronavirus pandemic, one of the main ways in which the UK’s Conservative Party boosted consumer confidence was pushing house prices up with the aid of various taxpayer-funded schemes such as Help to Buy.
But as the damage done by Covid-19 to the economy heaps pressure on the public purse, should the taxpayer still generously fund schemes that mainly serve to boost house prices and the fortunes of a few big companies and their already well-off clients?
If Brexit does happen on March 29 this year, it will happen under the strangest possible presidency of the European Union: the Romanian presidency. While the role of president of the EU is all about openness, transparency and a love of democracy, the Romanian government seems to increase its preference for the opposites of these features.
Central banks are still worried about the danger of deflation, even though they have timidly started to lift interest rates. How else would they explain real negative rates almost everywhere in the developed economies?
If you’re like me, you’ve certainly wondered why economic growth has been so sluggish after the worst post-war recession — the Great Recession, or Great Financial Crisis as some have callednthe 2007-2009 crisis. Normally, the economy should have surged, after such a deep slump.
Instead, we’re proud of economic growth figures around 2% in Britain and the US and cheer when the eurozone posts a meager GDP advance of above 1% almost a decade after the crisis.
As executive compensation continues to increase, more evidence emerges of the link between compensation and risky behaviour that could, in the most extreme cases, lead to the collapse of the firm and why not, the global economy.
And yet some CEOs’ bonuses are being subsidised by public money, especially in the UK where the taxpayer generously tops up salaries that are too low for employees to be able to live on.