In our helpless fascination with the oncoming train of the eurozone crisis we tend to think in dichotomies. If a collapse or breakup of the euro can be averted, we will all sigh a huge cry of relief and go back to our business, in a more responsible and fiscally sounder way, of course. If, on the other hand, the euro fails in spite of our best efforts, there will be crisis without end, pestilence, war, famine, and death.
There is no underestimating the ill effects of the latter possibility. As in any complex, dynamic situation, there are too many variables and interactions between them to reliably predict what would happen. Indeed, one of the implications of the catastrophe theory is that with the sudden loss of equilibrium in a catastrophic event, it is impossible to predict ex ante what is going to happen ex post. But we all have a strong sense it would not be pleasant and we would all rather not find out.