$220 trillion is more than enough for the world to collapse in a daisy chained failure of bilateral netting (which not even all the central banks in the world can offset).
Time and again history has repeated itself unregulated derivatives are prone to catastrophic failure. And yet, nearly four years after the crash, and nearly two years since the passage of the Dodd-Frank law, the multitrillion-dollars derivatives market is still dominated by a handful of big banks, and regulation is a slow work in progress. Unregulated derivatives are still an economic threat. That’s because derivatives have become deeply embedded in the global economy. ( an article from Ny times quoted)
What is known is that the banks make billions of dollars a year on derivatives deals — lush profits that are surely higher than they would be if the market were transparent and competitive. Overcharging means that bankers are enriched with money that companies could otherwise invest in their businesses and that consumers could otherwise keep in their pockets.
Having traded derivatives professionally,for a very short-term . I’ll say this…they are a good idea gone terribly awry. The first derivatives. were invented” by the World bank and IBM. These two institutions exchanged floating rate debt for the other’s fixed rate debt. This swap fit the financial needs of each very well.