The world is almost certainly ensnared in a devastating recession delivered by the coronavirus pandemic.
Now, fears are growing that the downturn could be far more punishing and long lasting than initially feared — potentially enduring into next year, and even beyond — as governments intensify restrictions on business to halt the spread of the pandemic, and as fear of the virus changes the very concept of public space, impeding consumer-led economic growth.
Harvard economist Kenneth Rogoff has painted a dire picture of the global economy.Credit:Christopher Pearce
So long as human interaction remains dangerous, business cannot responsibly return to normal. And what was normal before may not be anymore. People may be less inclined to jam into crowded restaurants and concert halls even after the virus is contained.
The abrupt halt of commercial activity threatens to impose economic pain so profound and enduring in every region of the world at once that recovery could take years. The losses to companies, many already saturated with debt, risk triggering a financial crisis of cataclysmic proportions.
"This is already shaping up as the deepest dive on record for the global economy for over 100 years," said Kenneth S. Rogoff, a Harvard University economist.
"Everything depends on how long it lasts, but if this goes on for a long time, it's certainly going to be the mother of all financial crises."
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