Roaring ‘20s? For some it will be ‘Grapes of Wrath,’ high analyst warns


LR: Dorris Bowden, Jane Darwell and Henry Fonda on the set of the film The Grapes of Wrath by John Ford based on John Steinbeck’s novel.

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The expected economic upturn after the coronavirus pandemic has been compared by some to the “Roaring ’20s”, but a senior policy analyst has stressed that not everyone will benefit from the recovery.

Tina Fordham, director of global policy at consultancy Avonhurst, told CNBC on Friday that she doesn’t disagree with economists’ “very popular characterization” of the expected post-pandemic recovery as “roaring 20s”.

But Fordham, who used to be Citi’s chief global policy analyst, suggested that some might benefit from this boom – much like in F. Scott Fitzgerald’s novel “The Great Gatsby” – others might experience something similar to John Steinbeck’s Depression. Epoch novel “The Grapes of Wrath”.

“Many people will have been injured by the pandemic and may not be able to recover as quickly as the markets … ‘grapes of anger’,” Fordham told Street Signs Europe.

The 1920s came to be known as the “Roaring ’20s” after economies boomed after World War I and the 1918 pandemic influenza.

“Socio-Economic Hangover”

Fordham also discussed Avonhurst’s “VAX Populi” research, which examines the main risks to the world’s 27 largest economies and their post-coronavirus resilience.

“One of the biggest assumptions in our premise for VAX Populi is that we should be prepared for the post-pandemic socio-economic hangover to affect elections over the next 5 to 10 years, 1 to 2 election cycles,” said Fordham.

She stressed that this would soon be tested as the upcoming local elections in the UK and France would “raise the temperature of incumbent governments”.

The general election in Germany in September would be the “big one” for the start of the “European super cycle”. Fordham said that the German Green Party, which recently ran ahead of Chancellor Angela Merkel’s Conservative Party, would mean a “significant change” for the country if it took over the chancellery.

In 2022, Fordham said investors would be watching France’s national elections for signs of political hangover from the pandemic. French President Emmanuel Macron and the country in general have not done well on the VAX Populi, she said, warning of a “real possibility that the far-right party could gain ground as a result of this crisis.”