THE PANDEMIC caused a fearsome economic slump, but now a weird, exhilarating boom is in full swing. The oil price has soared, while restaurants and haulage firms are having to fight and flatter to recruit staff. As listed firms signal that profits will hit an all-time high this year, stockmarkets are on a tear. An index produced by JPMorgan Chase and IHS Markit suggests that global growth is at its highest since the exuberant days of 2006.

Any escape from covid-19 is a cause for celebration. But today’s booming economy is also a source of anxiety, because three fault lines lie beneath the surface. Together, they will determine who prospers, and whether the most unusual recovery in living memory can be sustained.

The first fault line divides the jabs from the jab-nots. Only those countries getting vaccinations into arms will be able to tame covid-19. That is the condition for shops, bars and offices to reopen…

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