It seems to me that the most overblown situation in the past one or two years of investing is the Greek debt crisis.
Greece has been an economic basket case for most of the past 150 years, going in and out of bankruptcy during that time and spending many years in default.
People tend to refer to the Greek debt crisis as the eurozone debt crisis, which isn’t really the truth. The Greeks have a unique situation.
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Culturally, the Greeks have a very expansive social welfare state that they refuse to pay for (for example, everyone collects checks from the government, but there is a slew of cheating on taxes).
And the Greeks in the late 1990s and early 2000s cheated on numbers so they could be accepted into the European Union.
However, when you look at Greece as a whole it is a very small economy. It is the 32nd largest economy in the world, according to the World Bank.
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Greece ranks behind economic giants such as Denmark and Iran. It represents about 3 percent of the eurozone and 0.75 percent of the global economy. I know the worry is that a default by Greece would cause a domino effect throughout the eurozone.
However, this is very unlikely. If you look at the credit markets, the TED spread, a gauge of tightness in the credit markets that spiked during the financial crisis of 2008, is trading near all-time lows. There is no fear of financial panic.
In addition, if push comes to shove, the Europeans can kick the Greeks out. Something the U.S. cannot do to some of its deadbeat states.
Greece is a socialist basket case. The global economy wasn’t built on its back and if it falls, it won’t take the global economy down with it.
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