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Ex-Lehman Brothers Banker: Europe Needs Its Own 'Lehman Moment'

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The Lehman collapse helped drive the world into recession in 2008.
The Lehman collapse helped drive the world into recession in 2008.

An ex-Lehman Brothers banker says that Europe needs a "Lehman moment" to shock the continent into drastic action.

The now-infamous investment bank, if you'll recall, collapsed four years ago, sending the global economy in a tailspin.

That's just the medicine Europe needs, writes Michael Tory, the former head of U.K. investment banking at Lehman, in an op-ed in Tuesday's Financial Times: "The European elites have got it entirely wrong and, rather than fearing and avoiding a 'Lehman moment,' Europe in fact needs one in order to move beyond this interminable state of crisis."

Europe's policymakers need Greece to leave the eurozone, Tory writes, in order to scare them into doing their jobs. Only then will they "unite immediately behind a comprehensive fix" to prevent a breakup of the eurozone.

Never mind that leaving the eurozone would deprive Greeks of more than half of their incomes because of the resulting devaluation of the new currency and financial contraction, according to a recent report by the National Bank of Greece.

Tory also glosses over the enormous costs that followed the Lehman bankruptcy, including the stock market crash that wiped out billions in investors' savings. That's not even mentioning the more than 23,000 people at Lehman Brothers that lost their jobs.

We're still digging out from the crash that the original Lehman moment initiated. There now are 11.6 million fewer jobs than there were before the recession, according to labor economist Mark Price. 1.8 million Americans were out of work for 99 weeks or longer as of May, effectively shunned from the workforce, according to the Labor Department.

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