Marc Faber, editor of "The Gloom, Boom & Doom Report," predicts that Britain's potential withdrawal from the European Union, also known as "Brexit,” would be bullish for global growth.
"I happen to think that a Brexit would be bullish for global economic growth," Faber told CNBC.
"It would give other countries incentive to leave the badly organized EU."
With growth looking shaky, worries that the Brexit vote could tip Europe back into recession have moved to the head of a list of concerns for investors which includes banks' problems with negative interest rates and dangerous imbalances in China.
A poll late on Friday gave Britain's "Leave" camp a 10-point lead. Other polls have been tighter, but money markets have now abandoned expectations, high just weeks ago, that the U.S. Federal Reserve could raise official borrowing costs on Wednesday, just 8 days before the U.K. vote. Instead, the worry is that the Fed could use language that quells expectations of a move this year at all.
Faber said small countries like Croatia, Estonia and Malta would also prosper as independent nations versus being a part of a larger system.
The EU has 28 members that operate within a single market with the goal of encouraging the free movement of goods and services. British Prime Minister David Cameron has expressed disdain for leaving the bloc, explaining in a piece for The Telegraph
that doing so would "be the gamble of the century."
Faber said the European Union is an "empire that is hugely bureaucratic."
He also dismissed fears that a Brexit would be a global economic disaster. "On the contrary, it would be the best thing for Britain that would ever happen!"
Faber defended his case by citing Switzerland, which is not a member of the EU nor the European Economic Area. "Switzerland is doing much better than any other country in Europe. So maybe Britain would do the same?" said Faber.
"The establishment has said that if a Brexit occurs, they lose the export market. That's not true. They can make bilateral agreements," he said.
After eight years of ultra-low rates and outright money-printing, investors wonder if central banks have much ammunition left should the uncertainty that a Brexit would bring for thousands of businesses weaken demand and investment further, Reuters
"We're in uncharted territory in front of the Brexit vote, and then there's also the Fed this week. So the wall of worry is quite high at the moment," said Zeg Choudhry, managing director at LONTRAD. "All the banks are a little bit lower, and they're the ones which are likely to get hit. For the next two weeks, you've got to be slightly mad if you've not got your money in defensive stocks."
Both Deutsche Bank and JP Morgan said they remained overweight U.K. equities into the vote.
"In the case of a 'Leave' vote in the UK referendum ... we expect UK equities to outperform the European market, given the likely GBP (British pound) depreciation in such a scenario as well as the market's defensive sector structure," Deutsche Bank strategists said in a note.
(Newsmax wire services contributed to this report).
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