American investors are panicked about Europe, notes Mark Hulbert at MarketWatch. Yesterday, the Dow Jones plunged 213 points "as Greece's debt was freshly downgraded," and many observers are expecting more carnage ahead in the (highly plausible) event the country defaults on its bonds. But history shows us that perspective is likely too pessimistic:
"The difference between a tragedy and a comedy, I was taught in Classics 101, is that, in the latter, the hero wakes up in time.
"I take this to mean that it's premature to label the current fiscal crisis in Greece as a tragedy, as many commentators nevertheless are already doing...
"[An analysis shows that] the impact on the world economy of an outright Greek default would be fairly modest. That's because the damage to world trade inflicted by the Greek crisis has already happened -- and for the most part has been already priced into the level of the stock market...
"Greece's sovereign debt crisis is hardly unique. And the stock market on average has performed quite well in the wake of past such crises."
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