Once again, no one knows what’s going to happen – yet everyone knows it’s going to be bad. This from The Atlantic makes some good points amidst the “eurogeddon” worst-case scenario act – but this time from an American perspective, which is a handy alternate view, now that our American friends are starting to wake up to the problem and sound like they know a little of what they’re talking about:
“Last year, the European Union was America’s second largest export market. It wouldn’t necessarily be catastrophic if we sold them fewer goods. But consider this: the EU is also China’s biggest export customer. It’s one of Brazil’s top buyers as well. In turn, China is our fourth largest partner, Brazil is our eighth. If Europe stops buying as many Chinese flat screen TVs and Brazilian beef, those economies will have less to spend on American medical equipment and tractors. Not to sound too much like a T. Rowe Price commercial, but it’s all deeply connected.
“‘Whatever happens in Europe has truly systemic implications,’ when it comes to trade, said Domenico Lombardi, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institute. What we sell directly to Germany, Italy, Spain, and France is only part of that picture. The real worry is that a deep European recession would sink world trade across the board.
“…The U.S. economy might be able to sustain all of these body blows if our government had all of the possible tools at its disposal. But we don’t… Our defenses are down. Our economy already appears to be wobbly. It’s not hard to see how a Italian or Spanish exit would knock it over. At this point, our future depends on the ability of Europe’s leaders to get their house in order.”
And remember, this is an American analyst talking. If America has that much reason to be worried (with only 3 eurozone members among the US’s top 15 trading partners), then how much more does the UK (with 7 out of our top 10 trading partners being euro countries).
(Please also note a brilliant name hidden in the middle of that article – Jacob Funk Kierkegaard. I can’t wait for his next album – a glorious mix of New Orleans jazz and Scandinavian existentialist metaphysics)