The stage is set for the collapse of the world’s largest economy – the European Union. The trigger: Italy’s exit from the euro currency.
The Financial Times recently put it this way:
An Italian exit from the single currency would trigger the total collapse of the eurozone within a very short period. It would probably lead to the most violent economic shock in history, dwarfing the Lehman Brothers bankruptcy in 2008 and the 1929 Wall Street crash.
If the FT is even partially right, it means we’re looking at a possible stock market crash of historic proportions. It could devastate anyone with a brokerage account. But it could also present enormous opportunities to profit.
Here’s how it could happen…
What started out as a joke has become Italy’s most popular political party.
In 2007, Beppe Grillo, an Italian actor and comedian, launched Vaffanculo Day (“vaffanculo” is Italian for “f*** off”).
Grillo and his followers used V-Day to bluntly express their displeasure over Italian establishment politicians using imagery from the movie V for Vendetta.
V-Day helped organize Italians frustrated by their political system. It gave birth to the Five Star Movement, Italy’s new populist political party.
Grillo’s Five Star Movement—or M5S, as it’s known by its Italian acronym—is anti-globalist, anti-euro, and anti-establishment. It doesn’t neatly fall into the left/right political paradigm.
According to the latest polls, M5S is now the most popular party in Italy. It won mayoral elections in Rome and Turin earlier this year.
M5S is riding a wave of populist anger at entrenched political elites over economic stagnation. Italy has had virtually no productive growth since it joined the eurozone in 1999.
M5S blames Italy’s chronic lack of growth on the euro. A large plurality of Italians agrees.
M5S has promised to hold a vote to leave the euro and return to Italy’s old currency, the lira, as soon as they’re in power. Under these circumstances, it would probably pass.
Meanwhile, the current pro-EU Italian government of Matteo Renzi is holding a referendum on changing the Italian constitution later this year.
This referendum is on limiting the powers of the Italian senate, which is seen as a source of political gridlock. Opponents say it could open the door to another strongman like Benito Mussolini.
More importantly, it’s effectively a vote of confidence in the current pro-EU government. Voting against it is a way for the average Italian to give the finger to the EU bureaucrats in Brussels.
Renzi has promised to resign if it fails.
If the referendum fails, M5S—the anti-euro populist party—will almost certainly come to power… and a pathway to the dissolution of the euro will be opened.
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