What would happen in the event of a financial Ice Age? I don’t mean with this a literal Ice Age. No worries, it will come finally, as it has been happening the last thousands of years. I don’t mean anything else than a massive event where our bank accounts are frozen in a worldwide extension.
Just imagine a scenario where your ability to make (and receive!) payments is suddenly halted. Not because there is no power. Not because a nuke exploded. Not because of an EMP attack. Not even a deadly virus spreading (again).
Your cards become little plastic thingies in your wallet overnight, and our money, even when it is in the account and visible, we can’t use it. It has become a frozen asset inside an unbreakable glass exhibitor. And I include myself because I own a bank account up there, albeit being a non-resident.
The modern Ice Age
A global-scale bank account freezing is a hypothetical scenario that would have significant consequences for all of us. Individuals, big and small businesses, autonomous workers, farmers, NGOs, and all sorts of institutions and governments all around the world. While such an event is unlikely, it is paramount to understand the potential implications of such an occurrence. Because the odds of such terrible events are there.
In recent years no one could believe that an emergency state would be declared because of the migrants getting into the US through the southern border. Look what has been happening in the recent months. So, I would say, as a foreigner, as a bystander, as a simple outsider and external observer…yes, it can happen. Without any previous warning.
What can cause this?
The freezing of bank accounts can occur for several reasons other than a global conflict. This includes legal or regulatory action, fraud investigations, or security breaches. In a global-scale instance, there could be plenty of factors leading to such an event, including a major cyber-attack on a large banking system. Which, if you ask me, is the most likely identifiable threat. And yes, I’m sure it has happened before, but it was covered up to avoid panic. Because if panic levels climb up beyond a threshold, the catastrophic events following could be much worse than the consequences of the banking system going to a halt.
The bank run, or the funds freezing could be the result as well of a coordinated effort by governments to combat money laundering or terrorism financing, or a financial crisis that necessitates extreme measures to stabilize the global economy.
Logically, the first and immediate impact of a global-scale bank account freezing would be a disruption to daily life for individuals
and businesses that rely on their bank accounts for transactions and financial management. Many people use their bank accounts to pay bills, receive salaries and make purchases, and a sudden freeze could leave them unable to access their funds or conduct necessary transactions. The consequences of impeding access to these activities for just two weeks or one month would be unthinkable in most of the cities of the developed world.
Who would be impacted by this?
Businesses, particularly small and medium-sized enterprises, would be particularly vulnerable to the effects of a bank account freeze. They may not have the financial resources to weather a prolonged disruption to their cash flow and could be forced to close or lay off employees. Large corporations could be severely impacted, as they may have significant amounts of cash reserves tied up in bank accounts that would be inaccessible during a freeze. Frankly, it should be here where we should evaluate how vulnerable we are to a situation like this.
The freezing of bank accounts could also have a significant impact on the global financial system. Banks rely on the trust of their
customers to function, and a widespread loss of faith in the safety and security of bank accounts could lead to a run on banks and a
broader financial crisis. This could be particularly damaging in countries with weak or unstable financial systems, where a loss of
confidence in the banking system could have dire consequences for the entire economy.
Governments would also be affected by a global-scale bank account freeze. They rely on tax revenues and other forms of income to fund public services and infrastructure projects, and a freeze on bank accounts could significantly disrupt their ability to collect revenue. This could lead to austerity measures, reduced public services, and potentially unparalleled social unrest.
Everyone downstream would be affected. Something similar happened here, as our main income (oil industry) is destroyed, and whatever little money gets into the country is immediately deviated to foreign accounts of the mobsters, in Spain, Andorra, and other countries sponsoring the looting. As a result, nobody wants to make business with the government, not even local authorities.
What are the odds of it really happening?
It is important to note that a global-scale bank account freezing would be an extreme and unlikely scenario. However, a global pandemic was an “unlikely scenario” for most people back in, say, 2005, right? The world banking system would never intentionally take action to generate such a situation. However, some hypothetical scenarios could lead to a global-scale bank account freeze.
One potential scenario is a major cyberattack on the banking system. As more financial transactions move online, the risk of cyberattacks on banks and financial institutions has increased. Compromising the security of customer accounts would be a motif to the widespread freezing of bank accounts to prevent further damage. To prevent such a scenario, banks and financial institutions need to invest in robust cybersecurity measures to protect against cyberattacks and strengthen their risk management protocols.
Here’s what the government might do.
Another scenario that could lead to a global-scale bank account freeze is a coordinated effort by governments to combat money laundering or terrorism financing. As odd as this could sound.
Governments around the world have become increasingly concerned about the use of the global financial system for illicit activities, and there have been efforts to tighten the regulatory framework for banks and financial institutions. In extreme cases, governments could take coordinated action to freeze bank accounts suspected of being used for money laundering or terrorism financing. However, such actions would need to be carefully targeted and balanced against the need to maintain the integrity of the financial system and protect the rights of innocent customers.
A financial crisis could also lead to a global-scale bank account freeze. In the wake of the 2008 financial crisis, many governments took extreme measures to stabilize the financial system, including freezing bank accounts and imposing capital controls to prevent a run on banks. While such measures were necessary to prevent a collapse of the financial system, they also had significant economic and social costs. To prevent a future financial crisis, governments and financial regulators need to strengthen their risk management not only at the financial level but in the cybersecurity area, oversight banks and financial institutions, and take steps to ensure that the financial system is more resilient to systemic shocks.
There are several policies that governments and financial institutions can implement to mitigate the risks of a banking system collapse. Some examples are:
- Adequate capitalization requirements: Governments can require banks to maintain adequate levels of capital to absorb losses and maintain their solvency. This can help ensure that banks have sufficient resources to weather economic shocks and unexpected losses.
- Strong regulatory oversight: Governments can establish and enforce strong regulatory standards for banks and other financial institutions. This can include requirements for risk management, internal controls, and transparency. Regulatory oversight can help identify and mitigate potential risks to the banking system before they become systemic.
- Deposit insurance: Governments can establish deposit insurance programs to protect depositors in the event of a bank failure. Deposit insurance can help prevent bank runs and maintain public confidence in the banking system.
- Liquidity support: Central banks can provide liquidity support to banks during periods of financial stress. This can help ensure that banks have access to the funding they need to meet their obligations and maintain their solvency. If this liquidity is enough for customers to keep up with their duties, so much better.
- Crisis management and resolution frameworks: Governments and financial institutions can establish crisis management and resolution frameworks to manage bank failures and other financial crises. This can include plans for the orderly resolution of failed banks, mechanisms for coordinating with other regulators and stakeholders, and provisions for recapitalizing or restructuring troubled banks.
- Stress testing: Governments and financial institutions can conduct stress tests to assess the resilience of the banking system to various economic and financial shocks. Stress testing can help identify potential vulnerabilities and inform policy responses to mitigate risks.
These are just a few examples of policies that can be implemented to mitigate the risks of a banking system collapse. In practice, a comprehensive approach to risk management may involve a combination of these and other measures, tailored to the specific circumstances of each country and banking system.
What can we do?
In summary, while a global-scale bank account freezing is an extreme and unlikely scenario, there are potential scenarios that could lead to such an event. To prevent such a scenario, banks and financial institutions need to invest in robust cybersecurity measures, governments need to balance the need to combat illicit activities with the need to maintain the integrity of the financial system, and financial regulators need to strengthen their oversight of the financial system to prevent future crises.
Cash is king, then? It seems it is. Especially after all the push for digital currency. If this initiative proliferates, just by ticking a box in a database, ANYONE could be blocked from “The System”. It can be done right now, but in a world without cash, anyone subject to this treatment would be left stranded on site. The concrete bases for a totalitarian world regime are slowly being poured as we are here sitting down…
Can you see this happening? Is all of your money in the bank? What do you think we can do to prepare for this? My course of action will be to make an extra effort to improve my place, pray to the Lord, and keep my chickens dry!
Stay safe, and keep tuned!
Jose is an upper middle class professional. He is a former worker of the oil state company with a Bachelor’s degree from one of the best national Universities. He has an old but in good shape SUV, a good 150 square meters house in a nice neighborhood, in a small but (formerly) prosperous city with two middle size malls. Jose is a prepper and shares his eyewitness accounts and survival stories from the collapse of his beloved Venezuela. Jose and his younger kid are currently back in Venezuela, after the intention of setting up a new life in another country didn’t go well. The SARSCOV2 re-shaped the labor market and South American economy so he decided to give it a try to homestead in the mountains, and make a living as best as possible. But this time in his own land, and surrounded by family, friends and acquaintances, with all the gear and equipment collected, as the initial plan was.