The dissolution of the euro zone is inevitable according to British economist Roger Bootle. Hastening its split, rather than forestalling it, is the most prudent way of resolving the crisis.
Roger Bootle prides himself on being something of a modern-day Nostradamus -- with good reason. In 1999 the British economist predicted a bursting of the dotcom bubble, and in his 2003 book, Money for Nothing, he forecast a worldwide crash in housing that would prove dire for the financial system. A rigorous student of markets, Bootle, 60, is a onetime Oxford don and chief economist for HSBC (HBC) who now runs Capital Economics, a London consulting firm. Operating out of a 19th-century Victorian townhouse near Buckingham Palace, the bald, bespectacled son of a civil servant confidently advises major banks and hedge funds from New York to Beijing. But away from the office he isn't much of a risk-taker. Bootle likes to unwind at England's famous Ascot Racecourse, where he wagers no more than "five or 10 quid just so I have a horse to cheer home."
Today Bootle is betting his professional reputation on another bold contrarian call, one with long-term ramifications for the world economy and global stock markets: He strongly believes that at least a partial breakup of the eurozone is inevitable and that massive changes are coming for the euro, the currency now shared by 17 nations accounting for one-eighth of world GDP.