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Coronavirus – The Catalyst For System Failure?

Coronavirus – The Catalyst For System Failure?

Overview 

Today’s global economic system is more intertwined than at any point in history. For the past 30 years in particular, globalization and the Theory of Comparative Advantage have been alive and well. Technological advancements and transportation improvements have truly ‘shrunk the world’, allowing more countries to participate and benefit from international trade.

The globalized world economy has become a vast network of complex supply chains, interconnectedness and co-dependence. The benefits have been wide-spread and done more to lift the human condition, and more people out of poverty, than any development in history. However, this increase in economic complexity has magnified global vulnerabilities, opening up the risk of rapid and large-scale failure and contagion: a period of anti-globalization. COVID-19 is the catalyst that is triggering a supply-side crisis; one that is further exacerbated by a simultaneous demand-side shock.

Consensus View 

The consensus view seems to be that the COVID-19 will die out with warmer weather; after all this is what typically happens with the common flu. In terms of markets, most believe that governments and central banks will come to the rescue with proactive stimulus which will be exceptionally good for markets, because the economy is viewed to be on solid footing already.  The stimulus will come to be viewed as an over-reaction that merely serves to provide more economic fuel, particularly once the Coronavirus sputters away. This scenario is logical and possible, but not a view that I share.

US Coronavirus Response

The US has a relatively low number of confirmed cases, but it is in direct proportion to the low number people tested. There is a shortage of testing kits and slow distribution to provide more. This is likely intentional. Trump is on Twitter bragging about the low number of positive cases in the United States as being a result of his administration’s actions.

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