Monday, March 18, 2013
Small Pebbles Rolling Down the Hill
Major events and often touched off by relatively minor incidents. It's like when a few small loose pebbles set off an avalanche. The unstable conditions may exist for some time before otherwise insignificant sets things in motion.
WWI's trigger event was started by the assassination of a duke in a little place called Sarajevo. By itself, the assassination should not have triggered a world war. Conditions in Europe had been building towards war and all it took was a band of Serbian assassins to get the pebbles moving.
I think I just saw some loose pebbles start down the mountain. Cyprus's government, in a surprise move, has taken action to levy a “tax” of 9.9% on bank deposits. Essentially, they quietly want to steal almost a tenth of everyone's savings. People are angry. ATMs have been cleaned out. Electronic transfers are suspended. The tax (or robbery) was part of a Eurozone government bailout plan.
One could argue that this is just a tiny event in a small insignificant country. I think it has the potential to start an avalanche. The goings on in Cyprus is very visible to Europeans. Anyone living in the Eurozone may think it might be a darn good idea to get their money out of the bank while they still can. Should that idea catch hold with a sizable number of depositors, bank runs across Europe will be the result.
The financial chaos would inflame the whole world. All the big bank are tied together. They are all pebbles on the same mountain. Once things get rolling, all will be swept away.
Maybe this is nothing more than a few loose pebbles knocking around and won't amount to anything. On the other hand there is the potential for something much bigger. Don't say I didn't warn you.