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As investors had feared for months, the uncertainty broadened Tuesday from Greece’s fiscal troubles to those in other European countries and exacerbated concerns about the health of the global economy.
“If there was a doubt about it, there isn’t any more,” said Marc Chandler, the global head of currency strategy for Brown Brothers Harriman & Company.
“The European debt crisis is not simply a Greek phenomenon,” he said in a research note.
I had a conversation in Washington with a senior financial journalist, who remarked that most conversations he has these days with people in the money sector “have a ‘Last Days of the Republic’ air about them.” He added: “I don’t think we’re going to see the apocalypse here, but it’s going to get pretty bad.”
I also had a conversation in the past couple of days with a friend who is an emigre from the former Soviet Union, and who remarked that people in his adopted country, America, have no idea how quickly things can turn for the worse. “If you had said to the Russian people in 1908 that within 10 years, the tsar would be overthrown and an atheist government that would begin mass persecutions would be in power, they would have thought you were crazy,” he said. FYI.
Meanwhile, Ambrose Evans-Pritchard, who is no left-winger, writes in the rightist Telegraph newspaper that the economic crisis in Europe is discrediting the political center. It’s the Marxists that stand to benefit, he says, because “the Left is starting to offer the only coherent critique of what has gone wrong with monetary union.” This echoes something an international correspondent friend e-mailed recently, relaying worries from his Greek contacts that the ultra-austerity regime being forced on the nation is revivifying the extreme Left in that country. My Washington financial journalist contact told me yesterday that we should expect to see the rise of both the extreme Left and extreme Right in Europe in the days to come, as the economic situation there deteriorates.
Life is a cabaret, my friends.