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 ( TheStreet) -- In our view, stock returns are strongly positive in 2012 and the world overall grows, even though the eurozone is likely a weak spot and may even go into recession in aggregate. And we needn't look back that far to see a similar scenario historically. The early 1990s featured a global recession before the rest of the world recovered while Europe re-entered a recession tied to a pan-European monetary disarray. (Sound a bit familiar?) Our history lesson begins in 1979, when the EU's Exchange Rate Mechanism (ERM) -- the precursor to today's euro -- began. Through the ERM, each participating nation's currency (eight nations in all at the start, including West Germany, France, Italy and Denmark; the UK joined in 1990) was pegged to the European Currency Unit, a quasi-European currency.