The ‘black swan’ Covid catastrophe shows us just how fragile our world is | Larry Elliott

It is clear now that there is a big downside to an economic model that pays little heed to sustainability

There are three characteristics of a “black swan” event: rarity, extreme impact and retrospective predictability. With the benefit of hindsight it is always easy to spot the warning signs of a looming catastrophe, but few see them at the time.

The financial crisis of 2008 was an example of a black swan, and Covid-19 is an even better one. Around this time of the year, economists tend to make predictions of what the next 12 months have in store. Some like to think outside the box and come up with whacky forecasts of unlikely events that will perhaps come to pass.

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