The Telegraph, April 3rd, John Longworth
My wife calls the remarkable event we are experiencing right now “the Corona Correction”. Throughout history there have been points in time when a correction has occurred. Often, in modern history, this has been by war but in previous times and occasionally since, it has been by pestilence as with the Spanish Flu episode.
Sometimes they go together. These times are a great leveller. No body is exempt from the risk of war or pestilence and both have a capacity to destroy wealth. The wealthiest in Japan lost 98 per cent of their wealth by the end of the war. Without corrections, things become skewed and social pressure builds. But as with life itself, it is what we do with it when it comes that counts.
I wrote before coronavirus took hold that we were entering a post-crash, post-Brexit phase of history, analogous to the 1930s, during which economic stimulus would be the order of the day. I now believe that the “Corona Correction” will catapult us into the equivalent of the post-war 1940s.
Of course historic parallels never quite work as circumstances are always different, but they serve as a symbol of the times in which we live. Hopefully, coronavirus a has distinct differences from a world war. It will not have left the world with the physical destruction of war. It will not be as prolonged and with action and good fortune, it will not produce the casualties. However, “it will be over by Christmas” is a hackneyed phrase and has too often been found to be untrue in war and in pandemics. Past episodes have had more deadly second peaks and third peaks beyond that. The ability to avoid a very prolonged saga and thus a great impact on the economy, very much depends on the establishment of herd immunity and on testing for this so that things can return to normal. It also requires politicians to take hard decisions.
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