Tim Harford Columnist

In the middle of a crisis it is not always easy to work out what has changed forever and what will soon fade into history. Has the coronavirus pandemic ushered in the end of the office, the end of the city, the end of air travel, the end of retail and the end of theatre? Or has it merely ruined a lovely spring?

Stretch a rubber band and you can expect it to snap back when released. Stretch a sheet of plastic wrapping and it will stay stretched. In economics we borrow the term “hysteresis” to refer to systems that, like the plastic wrap, do not automatically return to the status quo...

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