In an interview on BBC yesterday, International Monetary Fund (IMF) adviser Robert Shapiro said something quite alarming: without a plan to save the Euro, the global economy will collapse "in two to three weeks."
Speaking about European leaders, Shapiro said: "If they can not address [the financial crisis] in a credible way I believe within perhaps two to three weeks we will have a meltdown in sovereign debt which will produce a meltdown across the European banking system.
"We are not just talking about a relatively small Belgian bank, we are talking about the largest banks in the world, the largest banks in Germany, the largest banks in France, that will spread to the United Kingdom, it will spread everywhere because the global financial system is so interconnected. All those banks are counterparties to every significant bank in the United States, and in Britain, and in Japan, and around the world.
"This would be a crisis that would be in my view more serious than the crisis in 2008.... What we don't know the state of credit default swaps held by banks against sovereign debt and against European banks, nor do we know the state of CDS held by British banks, nor are we certain of how certain the exposure of British banks is to the Ireland sovereign debt problems."
The core of Europe's problems stems from a possible Greek debt default, which could cause a cascading wave of bank failures, leading experts to begin calling the problem a "contagion." The IMF has been warning European leaders that they must re-capitalize the continent's largest banks or face a crisis that may be even worse than the crash of 2008.
This video is from the BBC, broadcast Thursday, Oct. 6, 2011.
Photo: Greek workers on strike. AFP