Economic shocks like the coronavirus pandemic of 2020 only arrive once every few generations, and they bring about permanent and far-reaching change.
Measured by output, the world economy is well on the way to recovery from a slump the likes of which barely any of its 7.7 billion people have seen in their lifetimes. Vaccines should accelerate the rebound in 2021. But other legacies of Covid-19 will shape global growth for years to come.
Some are already discernible. The takeover of factory and service jobs by robots will advance, while white-collar workers get to stay home more. There’ll be more inequality between and within countries. Governments will play a larger role in the lives of citizens, spending—and owing—more money. What follows is an overview of some of the transformations under way.