September 26, 2012


It's time to break up the Euro (Shawn Tully, September 25, 2012, Fortune)

 Roger Bootle prides himself on being something of a modern-day Nostradamus -- with good reason. In 1999 the British economist predicted a bursting of the dotcom bubble, and in his 2003 book, Money for Nothing, he forecast a worldwide crash in housing that would prove dire for the financial system. A rigorous student of markets, Bootle, 60, is a onetime Oxford don and chief economist for HSBC (HBC) who now runs Capital Economics, a London consulting firm. Operating out of a 19th-century Victorian townhouse near Buckingham Palace, the bald, bespectacled son of a civil servant confidently advises major banks and hedge funds from New York to Beijing. But away from the office he isn't much of a risk-taker. Bootle likes to unwind at England's famous Ascot Racecourse, where he wagers no more than "five or 10 quid just so I have a horse to cheer home."

Today Bootle is betting his professional reputation on another bold contrarian call, one with long-term ramifications for the world economy and global stock markets: He strongly believes that at least a partial breakup of the eurozone is inevitable and that massive changes are coming for the euro, the currency now shared by 17 nations accounting for one-eighth of world GDP.

In July, Bootle and his team won the prestigious Wolfson Economics Prize for providing the best answer to the following question: "If member states leave the Economic and Monetary Union, what is the best way for the economic process to be managed?" In a 114-page report, "Leaving the Euro: A Practical Guide," Bootle delivered a blueprint for the steps a nation should take in exiting the common currency. He also went further, summoning a powerful argument for why an exodus of weak countries is the only solution for Europe's deep malaise.

Posted by at September 26, 2012 8:56 PM

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