The newest update to the Brookings-Financial Times Tracking Indexes for the Global Economic Recovery (TIGER) shows that, with the coronavirus pandemic, the world is now facing the most serious challenge since World War II ended.
The update notes that the world is now seeing shortages in economic activity, financial markets and private sector confidence as the virus has attacked public health and economic stability.
And, the update says, the worst is likely still to come.
The difference, according to the TIGER index, is that the entire world has been affected. Unlike in the 2008-09 collapse, in which China, India and a few other economies remained relatively stable, COVID-19 has proven to be an equalizer, bringing every economy in the world to a halt and causing huge structural issues.
That includes commodity exporters such as oil, which has seen prices drastically fall as demand spirals down.
In China, where the virus first saw its debilitating effects unfolding at the beginning of the year, the economy is slowly rebuilding itself. But China's economy, with its government able to more directly support struggling industries, was better equipped to resist any kind of downturn in the first place. However, things may not be all the way normal yet — unemployment, demand for products, and a possible second wave of infections could pose more issues.
While the U.S. government has taken measures to stop some of the damage with a $2 trillion stimulus package, more will soon be needed as the crisis drags along, particularly for lower-income households and small businesses which will still be expected to pay rent even despite the mass shortages.
Japan and Europe had already been facing issues with economics prior to the pandemic, and other growing economies around the world may be in for a truly tumultuous ride over the coming months due to over-congested living spaces and inefficient healthcare systems.
Ultimately, the main commonality in the world economies' weaknesses is the lack of unity. The lack of a common strategy against the pandemic has ended up weakening businesses and consumers, and more cooperation between leaders will be needed going forward.