As the tenth anniversary of the great financial crisis is rapidly upon us, thoughts naturally have turned to how and when the next meltdown will occur.
The seeds were sown in 2008-9 when central banks in the United States, Britain, Japan and later Europe adopted extreme monetary policies to stave off catastrophe.
No one predicted that those measures of super-low interest rates and quantitative easing would need to remain in place for so long.
Now that the punch bowl of easy money is gradually taken off the table, consequences are being felt around the globe.
Meltdown: In 2008-9 following the financial crisis, central banks in the United States, Britain, Japan and later Europe adopted extreme monetary policies to stave off catastrophe
The American economy and stock markets have been protected by the Trump tax cuts which have allowed corporate America to shrug off the monetary tightening.
The Federal Reserve is on course to push on towards a key rate of 2.5-3 per cent this year.
Predictably, the rise in American rates has strengthened the dollar (making life very difficult for oil importers) and has made the debt taken on by emerging markets in the free-for-all days very expensive.
The first shock waves have been felt in countries where the political risk has been highest, notably Venezuela and Turkey.
But the contagion worsens each day. The Argentine peso has been in freefall even though the reforming government of President Mauricio Macri has been forced to swallow its pride and go cap in hand to the IMF for a $50billion loan.
Under the weight of American economic sanctions Iran has fallen back into crisis.
The currency, the rial, has plummeted by two-thirds this year as the economy has cratered, banks have been weakened by capital flight and citizen demand for US dollars has soared.
It was hoped the departure of Jacob Zuma, lifting the cloud of corruption in South Africa, and his replacement by the reliable Cyril Ramaphosa would lead to an economic bounce.
But this week South Africa tumbled into recession, hitting the rand. In Asia, Indonesia’s central bank had to dig deep to steady the rupiah after it sunk to its lowest level in 20 months.
The IMF warns that 45 per cent of the poorest countries are at high risk of debt distress which can only be made worse by rising US rates and the strong dollar.
The impact on emerging market stocks has been profound with some $1trillion (£770billion) wiped out in value since the start of the year.
All of this is starting to feel a bit like 1996-97 when a crisis in the fast growing Asian economies came close to tipping Britain and the West into recession.
Bringing the drawbridge down on cheap and easy money was never going to be smooth.
Former governor of the Bank of England Mervyn King is right when he claims the Bank of England was not alone in missing the build-up to the great financial crisis.
Fed chairman Alan Greenspan thought risk had been so well distributed that the global economy would be a safer place.
Instead, the new-fangled financial instruments exploded like cluster bombs. The European Central Bank lost its senses and raised interest rates into the crisis.
The only siren voices to be heard were those of New York-based economist Nouriel Roubini and IMF guru Ken Rogoff who tried to shake central bankers out of their complacency.
It has been always assumed that King was a Brexiteer although his discretion meant he focused on the dysfunction of the euro area. But it is hard to argue with his conclusion that Britain’s politicians and civil servants botched the negotiations and preparations for Brexit.
Government may be unprepared but business has quietly been following the Scouts’ law. Aston Martin has, for instance, extended its engine supply chain to five days from three.
Banks have been making sure that they are far less dependent on short-term finance than in the build-up to the crisis. And so on.
None of this is with any thanks to government or Whitehall.
No one can accuse John ‘Studs’ Studzinski of letting the grass grow under his feet. He changes jobs often, moving seamlessly from Morgan Stanley, to HSBC and Blackstone and now to fund manager Pimco with $1.7trillion (£1.4billion) under management. It is sometimes difficult to recall who he is currently advising.
At the same time Studs works ‘tirelessly in support of humanitarian causes’. Remarkable.