Longtime skeptic of Europe's common currency attracts admirers
British economist Bernard Connolly:
"The current policy of lending plus austerity will lead to social unrest," Mr. Connolly told investors and policy makers at a conference held this spring in Los Angeles by the Milken Institute, arguing the case that Greece, Italy, Portugal and Spain could not simply cut their way to recovery."And one should not forget that of the four countries we are talking about, all have had civil wars, fascist dictatorships and revolutions. That is history," he concluded, his voice rising above the chortles and gasps coming from the audience and the Europeans on his panel. "And that is the future if this malignant lunacy of monetary union is pursued and crushes these countries into the ground."
. . .Longer-term investors who listened to his decade-long recommendations to steer clear of the bonds of Greece, Italy, Portugal and Spain are congratulating themselves for not falling into the trap that bankrupted MF Global, the investment firm run until recently by Jon S. Corzine, the former Goldman Sachs executive and New Jersey governor.
. . .In 2008, Mark Carney, the governor of the Canadian central bank, cited the British-born Mr. Connolly, along with the far more prominent Nouriel Roubini of New York University and the Harvard economist Kenneth S. Rogoff, as having been among the few who foresaw the global financial crisis. Mervyn A. King, the governor of the Bank of England, has become more vocal about the euro zone's problems and is also a longtime follower.
. . .While other investors have also profited from following Mr. Connolly's advice, Mr. Aitken says that the analyst's true passion is to try to prevent the social and political train wreck he fears is just around the corner."He is anguished," said Mr. Aitken, who runs his own research service for investors, Aitken Advisors, from his home in London. "He sees where this is going and is warning against the human tragedy."