What The Zombie Apocalypse Will Do To Your Wallet

World War Z was number two at the box office this past weekend. The story of a zombie apocalypse may offer some lessons on what a real global health threat would do to the world financial system.


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Fans of World War Z — either the movie or the book that inspired it — already know what’s likely to happen to the world economy when the dead start rising. Everything goes to a barter system. Cash becomes worthless. Even gold or jewels are so much dead weight.

Elyssa Kirkham of says a virus that turns humanity into flesh eating ghouls isn’t the most plausible global health threat. But a real pandemic, such as a lethal and highly contagious strain of influenza, could bring the banking industry to its knees.

“A lot of bank workers would stay at home, either because they were afraid of getting ill, or because they were having to care for family members, or because they had already become ill and maybe were having to be quarantined. And with a lot of that, payment systems might be disrupted.”

Kirkham recommends any pandemic survival kit, zombie or otherwise, should include emergency cash and a life insurance policy.


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Andrew Schneider

Andrew Schneider

Politics and Government Reporter

Andrew heads Houston Public Media's coverage of national, state, and local elections. He also reports on major policy issues before the Texas Legislature and county and city governments across Greater Houston. Before taking up his current post, Andrew spent five years as Houston Public Media's business reporter, covering the oil...

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