Gloomy but accurate (I believe) article from John Browne,some excerpts below
As the year draws to a close, understandable confusion reigns in the minds of many investors. While short-term indicators, such as consumer confidence, appear to beckon recovery, the longer-term strategic issues remain shrouded in the smoke and mirrors of central bank monetary manipulation. From the perspective of someone who has keenly observed global economics for more than a half century, I see little reason to believe that our economic morass will soon improve. Indeed, I do not believe we will see meaningful change until the Bretton Woods era of U.S. dollar dominated paper money finally comes to an end. In other words, our current experiment in unlimited monetary expansion will continue until it explodes.
American and European Union politicians have shown utter paralysis in tackling intractable economic problems. Unwilling to make the tough decisions they all know should be enacted to avoid a looming global economic disaster, they have endlessly kicked the can down the road, while assuming that the road will go on forever. With an estimated $6 trillion plus solvency shortfall of the Eurozone banks and $16 trillion in U.S. public debt, it will take leadership of far greater caliber to avert a disaster. Such leadership is nowhere to be seen.
Unless major structural changes in fiscal policies are combined with sustained economic improvements, there is a significant likelihood that the euro will disintegrate in the coming years. As the world's second currency, its demise would herald unprecedented bank runs and financial chaos. Following an initial rise, the U.S. dollar may face widespread pressure as investors realize that the dollar too is built on a foundation of sand. Although I continue to be amazed by the ability of bankers and politicians to delay this day of reckoning, I know instinctively that their power is finite.