Keynes and Knight famously simultaneously in 1921 identified the concept of fundamental uncertainty as a situation not understandable by using a probability distribution, an idea popularized by Nassim Taleb just as the 2008 crash happened as a “black swan.” Taleb defined white swans as situations describable by Gaussian normal distributions. For situations not full uncertainty or white swans Taleb coined the idea of “grey swans,” situations exhibiting “fat tails” and more generally lots of extreme outcomes, but yet possibly describable by probability distributions allowing more readily extreme outcomes.
I think this is what we are dealing with, although I claim no special expertise here. Indeed, for me the issue is whether or not this current pandemic actually a black swan of fundamental uncertainty rather than “just” a very grey swan. The reason it is the latter, despite the highly unusual outcomes on both health and economic outcomes, is that large numbers of experts have been warning for several years that we were facing with high probability a serious pandemic. The current administration has in fact been officially faced scenarios not all that different from what has happened. Among those is a largely ignored study in the president’s own Economic Report for last year, where economists at the largely ignored CEA made such a study. But, heck, who in this administration reads the Economic Report of the President, hahhahah!?