Geopolitical turbulence is at its worst since the globe was on the cusp of entering World War II—and the instability is pushing us all closer to a recession, Wall Street heavyweights Larry Fink and Jamie Dimon have warned.
In an interview with British newspaper The Times over the weekend, BlackRock co-founder and CEO Larry Fink said geopolitical turbulence was “shaping all our lives,” as the Israel-Hamas and Russia-Ukraine wars rage on with no sign of a resolution.
“We are having rising fear throughout the world, and less hope,” said Fink, who also serves as BlackRock’s chairman.
This, he said, could ultimately translate into a weaker economy.
“Rising fear creates a withdrawal from consumption or spending more,” Fink told The Times. “So fear creates recessions in the long run, and if we continue to have rising fear, the probability of a European recession grows and the probability of a U.S. recession grows.”
BlackRock currently manages assets worth more than $9 trillion.
Fink, who founded investment bank BlackRock with seven partners in 1988 and has since amassed a personal fortune of more than $1 billion, has previously spoken out about the lack of “hope” in the economy.
At the end of September, the banking boss said he had never seen as much anxiety among consumers and businesses as he’s witnessing right now.
“The biggest issue for me—and I say this to every governmental leader I see worldwide—what the world is missing today is hope,” he said at the Berlin Global Dialogue forum. “I see more fear than any time in my business career.”
Also speaking to The Times this weekend, JPMorgan boss Dimon said that the situations in the Middle East and Ukraine were “quite scary and unpredictable.”
“In the U.S. we continue to have a strong economy,” he said. “We still have a lot of fiscal and monetary stimulus in the system. But these geopolitical matters are very serious—arguably the most serious since 1938.”
Dimon stressed that the tense geopolitical backdrop was reshaping the world—and its economy.
“What’s happening on the geopolitical front right now is the most important thing for the future of the world—freedom, democracy, food, energy, immigration,” he said.
It isn’t the first time in recent months Dimon has sounded the alarm about geopolitical risk—or its potential impact on the global economy.
In September, the Wall Street veteran warned that people should brace themselves for interest rates to rise as high as 7%—around the same time that he said heightened geopolitical tensions were “absolutely” the biggest economic threat in the world right now.
“We have dealt with inflation before, we dealt with deficits before, we have dealt with recessions before, and we haven’t really seen something like this pretty much since World War II,” Dimon told CNBC affiliate network CNBC TV-18 at the time.
“I think America takes [Russia’s invasion of Ukraine] very seriously, I’m not quite sure how the rest of the world does,” he added. “You have a European democratic nation invaded under the threat of nuclear blackmail. I think it’s been a good response, but it’s going to affect all of our relationships until somehow the war is resolved.”
Fink and Dimon aren’t alone in their warnings over the breakdown of geopolitical stability.
Last month, billionaire investor Ray Dalio—who has previously warned about risks being created by a breakdown of Sino-U.S. relations—put the odds of a “hot world war” at 50% thanks to “brutal” conflicts in Ukraine and Gaza.