Exactly ten years ago this week, all of our lives changed. On Tuesday, our attention - rightly so - was focused on what happened seventeen years ago this week on 9/11. But just seven years later, on September 15th, Lehman Brothers collapsed kicking off the 2008 financial crisis. New York City, again, was ground zero for another tragedy. The shock wave reverberated all across the globe.
The question today, after a decade of trying to fix the economy, is… could this happen again? Well it depends on who you talk to. Some people say that the record amounts of global and corporate debt will trigger the next crash. Some say that a global currency crisis is about to explode, and that will be the cause. Others fear protectionism and tariffs. To be honest, all of these things could trigger the next crash. Each scenario has the potential to make what happened in 2008 seem like a slight bump in the road. Imagine if all of these scenarios happened at the same time. What if all of the dominoes fall in sequence? It would be a catastrophe beyond anything the world has ever experienced.
But there is a new scenario that experts are even more worried about, and it's something I didn't even realize was being seriously considered. Yesterday, the Depository Trust & Clearing Corporation, who provide clearing and settlement for financial markets here in the U.S., released a report outlining their number one fear and cause for the next big financial crisis: Cyber warfare.
And they aren't the only ones worried. A few months ago, the government published a similar report drawing the same conclusions. These findings came from the Financial Stability Oversight Council, chaired by the Secretary of the Treasury.
This isn't some kooky hair brained conspiracy theory. Both the government and private business thinks that a cyber attack will be the root cause of a global crash. This is huge. How is this information not being reported on all over the country this week?
The reports detail how a nation state cyber attack will begin by targeting what's called a "systemically important financial institution." These are banks like Bank of America, JP Morgan, or the bank formerly known as Lehman Brothers. But they can also be giant hedge funds or insurance companies… like AIG. The Lehman Brothers collapse was the first shot of the 2008 crash, and experts are now saying that something similar will happen during the next one… the big one.
This isn't some kooky hair brained conspiracy theory.
A hostile country like China, Russia, or even North Korea, would trigger a run on one or multiple systemically important institutions. From there, the global system would begin to unravel just as it did before. But this time, it would happen as global and corporate debt are at record levels, as a global currency crisis is brewing and with a trade war escalating between the two largest economies in the world.
Technology is changing the world like never before. Some of it will be amazing and spectacular, but some of it will be horrifying and destructive.