If you were raised in a Christian tradition, which has often had an ambivalent relationship with money, you would have learned that money, on the day of judgment, is worthless.

Personal virtue is noted as worth something which will get you through the pearly gates, but money itself accounts for nothing.

As to when the day of judgment would be never exactly made clear, but anyone watching the global financial crash of 2008 must have had thought that this might be it. Realizing that one’s hard earned money could evaporate in a bank run, felt like some kind of monetary Armageddon was nigh.

If around 2008 you had asked the biggest bank in the UK (as I did) whether their business accounts were ever guaranteed to any extent against such a run, they simply wouldn’t answer the question.

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Like a somewhat mystical priest, the response came back in a gnomic but optimistic piece of evasion. “It would be highly unlikely such a run would ever happen to such a well funded bank”, was the reply. They didn’t want to leave you with a document that constituted a legally binding promise, and they didn’t want to scare you either.

Behind the 2008 crash was a piece of persuasive, but faulty thinking. If you spread risk effectively enough, you can make a collateralized debt obligation. (Basically a pile of risky investments made less risky.) That much was, and remains to be true, but only if you are considering an infinitely large economic environment. Given that all the markets in the world represent a finite system, as the spread of risk keeps expanding, that risk starts coming around in a circular fashion. Despite spreading the risk, that risk isn’t getting any more diluted.