The Market Crash of 2027, also known as Black Monday, the Panic, or the Wall Street Crash of 2027, began on October 24, 2027, and was the most devastating economic crash of the 21st Century, surpassing the Stock Market Crash of 2008 and the COVID-19 recession. The crash signaled the full extent of the Labor Shortage and the bursting of the early 21st Century Housing Market.
Since the 1980s the US economy was structured in a Supply Side or "Trickle Down" economic model where growth was achieved overwhelmingly through private investment by venture capitalists defined by largely deregulated markets, readily available credit, and social welfare was vested in equity heavy investments in the housing market. This system saw one of the largest economic expansions in American history, made all the more fruitful by the end of the first Cold War and the rise of the Internet. An over-inflated housing market supported by unregulated financial derivatives resulted in the Crash of 2008 and the subsequent Great Recession which lasted until 2009, but above-average unemployment lasted until 2016. The Crash of 08' resulted in financial reforms that were intended to prevent an over-reliance on cheap credit, and caused a sizable rise in the Personal Savings Rate around the time effective demand in the US began to decline.
Unemployment began to level out by the end of 2016, and salaries began to rise as a series of local reforms to minimum wage began to take hold and domestic production began to grow. European, Russian, and Chinese markets fell into recession/depression and came under heavy state control via austerity measures during this period while the economies of Japan, India, Turkey, and the US continued to grow, bolstered by cheap energy from the Natural Gas Boom and defense expenditures during the Little Cold War. The Late 2010s Recession saw a brief decline in the US appetite for manufactured goods that had far more adverse effects on exporters like China and India, however it did not reverse the trend toward full employment. By 2019 many economies had achieved full employment as the Baby Boom Generation began to retire in large numbers, placing high consumer demands on the economy with limited productivity. Homes and other sources of equity were being sold off to pay for retirement and health expenses, and companies were furiously competing for employees, offering high wages and benefit programs to attract workers. This resulted in a rise in inflation that would compound a drop-off in equity by the retirement of the Boomers.
While the Natural Gas Boom enabled low energy costs in the US and its major trading partners, demand for energy continued to outpace supply as retirees had a higher demand for energy to support their lives as they became infirm or sick. The hydrocarbon economy was largely on the way out before the crash, but demand for energy could not be adequately met with existing renewable sources or hydrocarbons. Additionally, as life expectancy continued to rise, retirees were still consuming at the rate of productive workers for more than a decade past their retirement. Social welfare systems and private retirement funds were simply unable to keep up with demand for so long. As more elderly people began to try and sell off their homes/equity to live off that saved income, the market for suburban housing had largely shrunk by the 2020s as Millenials and GenZs moved to more urban communities to reduce the cost of commuting and be close to their places of business. The remaining population of retirees were left with a Social Security program that was not able to pay for their comfort for such an extended period of time, resulting in higher taxes and governments borrowing to support social welfare programs, which at the turn of the millennium were supported by 40 workers per retiree, and were now down to 2 workers per retiree.
With the calving of the Greenland Ice Sheet, the economy saw a brief respite from what was now a growing problem as governments prepared for crisis management and mass evacuations. When the South Greenland Ice Sheet finally slid into the Atlantic in July of 2025 many countries in the North Atlantic had already evacuated weeks in advance to their interiors. There were some in Europe who hoped such a massive display of regional coordination might save the faltering confederacy while America enjoyed the last hurrah of its economic boom. When the bulk of the Flood waters receded millions returned to repair their homes and businesses, but were met with little to no payouts of insurance claims due to the drying up of capital as the Boomers continued to consume and sell off equity, and not enough laborers to aid in reconstruction. The stagnation of the labor shortage was now all but impossible to ignore, and inflation was reaching crisis levels. Taxes were lowered by the Harris administration to ease the reconstruction period and insurance agencies were forced to pay out claims they couldn't afford. It was believed that the crisis could be solved with the reopening of the New York Stock Exchange, which had been temporarily relocated to Chicago during the flooding of New York. The SEC suspended trading on Christmas 2026 until Monday January 4 of 2027 to give the NYSE time to prepare itself to return to full operating capacity. On January 4, 2027 the opening bell on Wall Street saw the Dow Jones drop over 2000 points as financial firms attempted to sell shares to pay off reconstruction and the loss of market capital.
The Crash of 2027 sent TECH sector stocks spiraling with the drying up of venture capital and consumer trust issues with non-native software following a rise in cyber-crime in the 2010s and 20s. The crash ultimately destroyed "startup culture" in the U.S. and abroad as economies restructured financial policies to restrict speculation and limit access to venture capital to prevent the kind of unchecked growth that had defined the previous cycle.
The crash followed a speculative boom that had taken hold in the late 2010s. During the later half of the 2010s, building construction, retail turnover, drones registered, and of course stock market values advanced from record to record. The combined net profits of the financial services sector showed an increase, in fact for the first six months of 2027, of 36.6% over 2026, itself a record half-year. Such figures set up a crescendo of stock-exchange speculation which had led hundreds of thousands of Americans to invest heavily in the stock market. A significant number of them were borrowing money to buy more stocks. By October 2027, brokers were routinely lending small investors more than two-thirds of the face value of the stocks they were buying.
The crash also concluded a difficult period in the US, where despite a full employment economy with high wages, high investment from wealthy, and high GDP growth, the country faced an evaporation of effective demand. Initially this phenomenon was characterized as income inequality between the very rich and the middle class; the result inherent systems in supply-side economics. Regardless before the crash America existed with a more bifurcated society. The decline of effective demand was initially believed to be a mass psychological holdover from the Great Recession, however modern economic historians believe the decline in demand was the result of a fundamental shift in the social order created by declining birth and marriage rates. Fewer people were forming families, and thus fewer people needed to make the expenses required to support families. Many people saw the Crash of 2027 as a punctuation to an existing, and long-running crisis, rather than the start of a new collapse, similar to the Panic of 1937 as an extension of the Great Depression.