Why the U.S. Should Care About Europe
The following commentary comes from an independent investor or market observer as part of TheStreet's guest contributor program, which is separate from the company's news coverage.
NEW YORK (ChrisMartenson.com) -- Around here, we like to track things from the outside in, as the initial movements at the periphery tend to give us an early warning of when things might go wrong at the center. It is always the marginal country, weakest stock in a sector, or fringe population that gives us the early warning that trouble is afoot. For example, rising food stamp utilization and poverty levels in the U.S. indicate that economic hardship is progressing from the lower socioeconomic levels up toward the center -- that is, from the outside in.
That exact pattern is now playing out in Europe, although arguably the earliest trouble was detected with the severe weakness seen in the eastern European countries nearly two years ago.
Because of this tendency for trouble to begin at the periphery before spreading to the center, we spend a disproportionate amount of our time watching junk bonds instead of Treasurys, looking at weak sectors instead of strong ones, and generally spending our time at the edges trying to scout out where there are early signs of trouble that can give us a sense of what's coming next. In this report, we explore the idea that Europe is the canary in the coal mine that tells us it is time to begin preparing for how the world might change if the contagion spreads all the way to U.S. Treasurys (which is mathematically inevitable, in our view). At the very core of the global nuclear money reactor are U.S. Treasurys and the dollar. If the dollar's role as the world's reserve currency wanes or even collapses, then the scope and pace of the likely disruptions will be enormous. Of course, we'll be glad to have as much forewarning as possible. Accordingly, it is my belief that if the contagion spreads from Greece to Portugal (or Italy or Spain), and then to the big banks of France and Germany in such a way that they fail, then rather than strengthening the dollar's role (as nearly everyone expects), we should reserve some concern for the idea that the contagion will instead jump the pond and chew its way through the U.S. financial superstructure.
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