The New York Times featured an ominous front-page image of Wuhan’s field hospital beds in early February 2020. Since then, the incomprehensibly inept response to the pandemic by governments around the world has caused appalling death and suffering. The virus itself is not only to blame, clearly this is a matter one cannot dismiss, not in the slightest. There are no words for the virus’ ascension and scale of human tragedy. What has befallen many could not be more dramatic. Bless their souls. Coherent and comprehensive plans are needed in such situations. A state of preparedness must be in-place. Furthermore, data, reporting and communication systems are properly functioning only when they overcome the horrible scourge of disinformation and bad politics. If nothing else is learned from this, it should be that policy needs to get this right, without compromise. Meanwhile, what is yet to come from market dislocation and the inevitable tide of economic consequences triggered by this event is an epic mess. While there are many questions presented by the inherently imperfect policy making process, there is no configuration or volume of policy that can fix what has been broken. The obscurity of productivity growth and persistent offsetting deflationary forces will be an on-going backdrop to the real salvage work of viable enterprises and investments. The walking dead among corporations should be put to rest. Policy should strike at this balance for the sake of efficient capital redistribution and equitable prosperity of future generations. At ground level, the people who are in the business of intervening in the recovery of capital and resolving special situations will be busy. We are rolling up our sleeves once again for a historic period of intensive asset management and workout. The principle hopes for the New Year are compassion for those at risk, that vaccines work in a way that prevents transmission by those vaccinated and vaccination deployment is comprehensively swift and well-coordinated, globally.

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