By Arnold Kling
Paul Krugman writes a pre-mortem.
You still hear people talking about the global economic crisis of 2008 as if it were something made in America. But Europe deserves equal billing. This was, if you like, a North Atlantic crisis, with not much to choose between the messes of the Old World and the New. We had our subprime borrowers, who either chose to take on or were misled into taking on mortgages too big for their incomes; they had their peripheral economies, which similarly borrowed much more than they could really afford to pay back. In both cases, real estate bubbles temporarily masked the underlying unsustainability of the borrowing: as long as housing prices kept rising, borrowers could always pay back previous loans with more money borrowed against their properties. Sooner or later, however, the music would stop. Both sides of the Atlantic were accidents waiting to happen.
Read the whole thing. It appears to have come from Krugman in the mid-1990’s, not the evil twin columnist. In the end, he lays out four scenarios. I prefer “debt restructuring” to “revived Europeanism.” Otherwise, there is not much for me to disagree with here.