A century ago, the roaring ’20s were a time of hedonistic excess. After the horror of World War I, people wanted to rebuild, but also to forget. Wealth increased, and so did prices.
While we like to think we are smarter, or at least more knowledgeable than 100 years ago, there are worrying similarities between the two periods. If anything, the excesses this time around are much greater.
The euro has lost a lot of ground versus other major currencies as the European Central Bank (ECB) is taking a very dovish stance even compared to the usually dovish Bank of England.
As expected, a German has the difficult task of being a lone hawk amid doves: Isabel Schnabel, member of the ECB’s Governing Board, recently warned that the central bank has consistently been wrong in its inflation forecasts.
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.
The UK government awarded hard-working medical staff a
meagre 1% pay rise in the most recent budget, all the while splashing out on
yet another indirect subsidy for house prices: the mortgage guarantee.
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.