May 2020

Will reopening of the economy proceed smoothly or is there worse to come? No one really knows the answer. Such is the uncertainty of the times. As the number of new cases decreases, people are hopeful that life soon can return to the old normal. Yet, amidst this hope is deep anxiety about what may lie ahead. Despite expert counsel to the contrary, the risk of reopening might not be great. But without adequate safeguards in place, reopening could lead to catastrophe. In his latest letter, Maryland Smith’s Bill Longbrake says experience has taught him to think about and plan responses to many possible outcomes, particularly those with potentially ugly consequences. He describes nine potential “tail risks,” any one of which could have significant economic, social and political consequences.

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