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We were able to move very quickly on the Sunday night when it became clear that Lehman was going to fail in a disorderly fashion. And I remember calling my wife on the evening of that Wednesday and telling her to go to the ATM and take whatever cash, I think it was $500, she could up to the limit.In my mind there was some probability that the banks would not open the next day.

The only question in my mind is how big a crisis, how big a wake-up call do you need, for this realization to sink in. El-Erian: It's hard to figure out exactly what the Sputnik moment will be, but it will come from one of three areas. This notion that suddenly there is an instability and you get very large moves in financial markets that then threaten the economy. The most likely risk of a market accident comes from the delusion of liquidity — this notion that people believe that liquidity will be available to them when they want to reposition their portfolio, because the paradigm has changed. And it's pretty consistent whether it's the US or Europe.This is an implementation issue, which is in turn a political issue.So if you look historically, what tends to happen when you have an engineering solution but no political will is either the solution never gets implemented or, alternatively, something shocks the system to make the implementation occur. It's called that because of the historical precedent of the late ’50s, when the US woke up to the reality that the USSR had succeeded in sending a satellite into space.Moshinsky: You’ve said we’re approaching a T-junction for the global economy, where a sudden financial crisis prompts governments to come together and kick-start growth. El-Erian: The last few years have been defined by two major characteristics.One is that, while growth has been insufficient, it has been relatively stable.Then suddenly the political class responded to what they viewed as a national threat.

The US very quickly caught up with the Soviet Union and got ahead of them in the space race.

Then you got one of the very rare instances of global policy coordination, which culminated in the April 2009 G-20 meetings in London. How bad a market accident, how bad a political dysfunction, how bad an economic slowdown do you need as a wake-up call?

Moshinsky: And by "act" you mean something similar to that spirit of 2009? Moshinsky: Where were you the weekend Lehman Brothers went down?

I remember very clearly boxes of donuts and pizzas in there and three scenarios on the board.

Scenario one was the Bear Stearns scenario, which was that a bigger bank would take over Lehman and the system would reset on Monday morning without much destruction.

So the period up to 2007, 2008 was the unfortunate romance.