The coronavirus epidemic is an economic calamity of historical proportions. The stock-market collapse Monday rivaled the worst days of the 2008 financial crisis. Oil prices dropped faster than at any time since the Persian Gulf War in 1991. The yield on U.S. bonds approached zero percent, the lowest ever.
It needn't have happened, not at this scale. History shows that a concerted show of force from the world's leading governments could have stopped the panic. But no such demonstration came, suggesting the world's inward turn over the past half-decade is making the coronavirus crisis worse. As COVID-19 spread, politicians mostly hunkered down to protect their own turf, and evidence of racism seeped into the narrative. Traders lost hope and punched their sell buttons.
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