Thinkpad: 2020 Time Out

December 20, 2020 0 By boss

Happy Sunday.

Many of you have already activated your ‘out-of-office’ messages. Others will be counting down to when they can. It’s time to call time-out on 2020.

But before we do, how can we not look back on the year that was? As you do, “who’d have thought!” would be a sentiment that applies across the board. Of course, no one predicted the onset of the pandemic and even when it became the new reality, few managed to foresee how it will play out.

Here’s a “who’d have thought” list from Thinkpad and some interesting reads on these topics.

  • Who’d have thought that once-aspirational financial capitals will feel suddenly feel imperiled? You were lucky this year if you could escape these cities, yet keep your jobs and incomes.

  • Who’d have thought the office will prove to be a frill more than a necessity? Work-from-home worked well for a reasonable number of professions, leaving the structure of the post-pandemic workplace up-in-the-air.

  • Who’d have thought that global central banks who appeared to have maxed out their options with the Global Financial crisis will find new ways to support Covid-ravaged economies? The world’s four largest central banks have bought $5.6 trillion in bonds this year and supplemented quantitative easing with credit easing.

  • Who’d have thought that amid a health crisis and economic destruction, capital markets will soar? The debate over a V-, U- or L-shaped recovery will make way for a K-shaped recovery, where the fortunes of the haves and have-nots diverged further.

  • Who’d have thought that 2020 will be the year when technology became the one thing that literally kept everyone going? But that it will also be the year policymakers double down on attempt to check the power of Big Tech.

  • Who’d have thought that 2020 will be the year when Bitcoin will compete with gold as a “safe haven”? It also ended up being the year when crypto joined the grown ups at the payments table.

  • And who’d have thought that sweat pants (and maybe shorts) would be peak fashion?

What’s on your “who’d have thought” list for the year?

More specifically to India, many of us commentators got a lot wrong on the economic outcome of the Covid-19 crisis. Inflation didn’t fall, the government didn’t open the spending taps and the central bank didn’t rev up the printing presses. Well, at least not directly. We wrote about the pandemic and its many surprises here.

And in case you are keen to understand what the economic invoice of the Covid-crisis is looking like and who is bearing the cost, you can catch this conversation with Neelkanth Mishra of Credit Suisse and read key takeaways here.

But if you simply tired of reading and listening this year and just want to scroll through on your phone, then this was a year when pictures spoke loudly. From Bloomberg to National Geographic and Reuters all have their picks of the photographs that defined 2020. And there were many.

Thinkpad is putting its out-of-office sign up for the next two weekends. We’ll be back in the new year. Wishing you all an easy, relaxed year end.

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