“Those who do not study history are condemned to repeat it.” And the rest of us are condemned to repeat George Santayana.
Will the Coronavirus Recession of 2020 be V-shaped? Or U-shaped? If we fail to heed the lessons of history it is likely to be W-shaped, with incipient recovery followed by successive relapses into sickness and recession.
As has been widely noted, we would have been better prepared to cope with the Covid-19 pandemic in the first place if everyone had paid more attention to the past history of epidemics. Be that as it may, the world is now deep into the pandemic and its economic consequences, the most severe such events since the interwar period, 1918-1939. As decision-makers in every country contemplate their next steps, they would do well to ponder the precedents of that interwar period.