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Martin Hutchinson has a reputation for being bearish at exactly the right time. Slate magazine singled him out - above even famed economist Nouriel Roubini - as the financier who most accurately predicted how bad the 2009 bear market would turn out to be. In June 2008 - at a time when the Dow was above 12,000, and most folks were calling for it to go higher - Martin predicted the index could nosedive all the way to 7,800 (it actually spun down to 6,600). Before grabbing recognition for his gutsy timing, Martin worked nearly 30 years as an investment banker, with extensive experience in both New York and London. He's served as a senior vice president and head of derivatives for Creditanstalt-Bankverein, director of the Spanish private firm Gestion Integral de Negocios, and advisor to the Korean conglomerate Sunkyong Corp. But it was Martin's work in Bulgaria, Croatia, and Macedonia that solidified his reputation as a true "hands-on" expert on the developing economies. As the U.S. Treasury advisor to Croatia, he helped the country establish its own T-bill program in the 1990s, launch its first government bond issue, and start a forward currency market. Martin is the author of several books. He also served as the business and economics editor at United Press International during the early 2000s, where he jumpstarted the financial-news operation of that historic wire service. He earned his undergraduate degree in mathematics from Cambridge University, and an MBA from Harvard University. He lives outside of Poughkeepsie, N.Y, with his wife, Anna. Martin is our Global Investing Specialist. He serves as editor of the Permanent Wealth Investor, where he focuses on "Alpha Bulldog" stocks that pay high, reliable dividends. In his newest advisory, the Merchant Banker Alert, Martin uncovers the fastest-growing companies in the fastest-growing economies and brings those ideas back home to you.
The elections on May 6 only made the Eurozone's problems even worse. The French and the Greeks have rejected sensible policies in favor of self-delusion.
Those elections, and the failure of Greece to form a government, have actually moved the Eurozone crisis one step further – from potential tragedy into a complete farce.
As investors, we can only watch horrified, knowing that a really bad outcome would seriously damage our own wealth.
But at this point, a Greek exit – or "Grexit" as it has come to be known – from the Eurozone would be the best thing that could happen.
The Greek election produced a very confused result. But one thing was clear: the Greek electorate has decisively rejected the rescue plan the outgoing government had so painstakingly negotiated with the EU.
The previous ruling party's joint support declined to just 32% of the vote. That might be thought of as just retribution, since those parties produced Greece's appalling fiscal mess by lying for decades about the true position of Greece's public finances. (And let us not forget being abetted by Goldman Sachs in doing so).
However, the winners were not some new paragons of fiscal responsibility and free market government. They were anti-German Nazis (a peculiar combination when you think about it), communists and a truly unpleasant new leftist party, SYRIZA, led by the 37-year-old Alexis Tsipras.
SYRIZA's politics, in that one can fathom them, spell nothing but trouble.