If the United States falls back into recession, Europe will have pushed it there, says author and economist A. Gary Shilling.
Debt concerns in peripheral European countries like Greece and Italy are threatening to spread, sending shockwaves across the continent and to the U.S. stock markets on fears that financial institutions worldwide are vulnerable.
"The plunge is due partly to the uncertainty caused by European leaders, who seem determined to preserve an untenable status quo. These structural problems could make the eurozone's economic predicament even more challenging than America's," Shilling writes in a Christian Science Monitor column.
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To end the crisis, the eurozone can kick out the problem countries, which would damage banking sectors in the countries that remain, or bring all countries even closer together under tighter fiscal and monetary control from a more central authority, which would likely give France and Germany a greater say in other countries' affairs.
"The eurozone structure reminds me of the Articles of Confederation, which very loosely governed the original 13 U.S. colonies. Without central control, getting things done was very difficult. Finally, in 1789, the U.S. Constitution was ratified with a meaningful central government. Is Europe headed for a similar destiny?" Shilling asks.
"Perhaps, but the colonies had all belonged to England, had common language and customs, and felt pressure from ongoing threats from Europe. The eurozone will have to find its moment of truth in an internal debt threat that won't go away."
Europe has many investors worried, including legendary hedge fund manager George Soros.
"This crisis has the potential to be a lot worse than Lehman Brothers," Soros says, according to the New York Times.
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