Hong Kong: The IMF calls it the Great Lockdown. Morgan Stanley says it’s the Great Covid-19 Recession, or GCR for short. Ed Yardeni, who coined the term “bond vigilantes” back in the 1980s, has named this the Great Virus Crisis.
There’s even a suggestion to call it a Pandession.
As economists around the world search for the right terminology to describe the biggest economic crisis since the Great Depression, it could take years to settle on a name, if history is any guide.
While many in the U.S. now refer to the 2007-2009 slump as the Great Recession, that term is far from universal. In Anglo financial centers like Sydney and London, the term GFC — short for Global Financial Crisis — is more common. Others call it the North Atlantic Financial Crisis, since that’s where it hit hardest.
As for the origins of the ‘Great Depression,’ it’s a term that was used by various U.S. presidents and others such as British economist Lionel Robbins, who published a book in 1934 titled “The Great Depression.”
The Great Lockdown has the backing of the world’s premier economic body. At its spring meetings in April — held virtually this year — the International Monetary Fund used that phrase to summarize how the world economy had been upended.
But there are rivals. Yardeni, president and chief investment strategist of Yardeni Research Inc., floated the Great Virus Crisis in an interview with Bloomberg News in March, and has been plugging it in his research notes since.
We are deeply grateful to our readers & viewers for their time, trust and subscriptions.
Quality journalism is expensive and needs readers to pay for it. Your support will define our work and ThePrint’s future.
“A well-coined phrase conveys a lot of information once it becomes universally accepted,” Yardeni said in an interview, adding that he still gets calls asking about “bond vigilantes” decades after he first used the term.
“When you go on Wikipedia and look for Great Virus Crisis, if it’s there then I guess it made the hit parade,” he said. “Or else we’ll find something else, Great Lockdown or whatever.”
For Morgan Stanley, its use of Great Covid-19 Recession reflects its expectations for the deepest peacetime contraction in global growth since the Great Depression, according to Chief Economist Chetan Ahya.
“We also note that this recession was not initially triggered by a financial shock, but rather an exogenous shock driven by Covid-19,” he said.
What’s in a Name?
Then there’s Pandession, as suggested by economist David McWilliams, who previously worked for the Central Bank of Ireland and lenders including BNP Paribas.
“A Pandession is a new word because it is a new thing,” McWilliams wrote in a blog post. “Language is vitally important when confronted with something novel. If you don’t have the language, you can’t visualize, conceive of or think your way out of it.”
Other names in the mix include Global Coronavirus Recession, or GCR, from Oxford Economics, or the Corona Crisis, as touted by various analysts. Economists with Bloomberg Economics have used phrases such as the Global Hard Stop or the Virus Recession.
There’s also a chance the current downturn could affect how economic historians refer to the 2007-09 crisis. After all, the Great War became known as World War I once the even more destructive World War II came along.
Because history takes time to settle, it may be too early to agree on a descriptive name just yet, said Michael Every, head of Asia financial markets research at Rabobank.
“It’s not binary,” Every said. “The Great Lockdown is likely to be the opening salvo of something else.” – Bloomberg
News media is in a crisis & only you can fix it
You are reading this because you value good, intelligent and objective journalism. We thank you for your time and your trust.
You also know that the news media is facing an unprecedented crisis. It is likely that you are also hearing of the brutal layoffs and pay-cuts hitting the industry. There are many reasons why the media’s economics is broken. But a big one is that good people are not yet paying enough for good journalism.
We have a newsroom filled with talented young reporters. We also have the country’s most robust editing and fact-checking team, finest news photographers and video professionals. We are building India’s most ambitious and energetic news platform. And we aren’t even three yet.
At ThePrint, we invest in quality journalists. We pay them fairly and on time even in this difficult period. As you may have noticed, we do not flinch from spending whatever it takes to make sure our reporters reach where the story is. Our stellar coronavirus coverage is a good example. You can check some of it here.
This comes with a sizable cost. For us to continue bringing quality journalism, we need readers like you to pay for it. Because the advertising market is broken too.
If you think we deserve your support, do join us in this endeavour to strengthen fair, free, courageous, and questioning journalism, please click on the link below. Your support will define our journalism, and ThePrint’s future. It will take just a few seconds of your time.