…or is it?
Here are some interesting graphs published by Spiegel Online International that show some estimated effects of a departure from the eurozone by Greece, Greece plus Portugal, those two plus Spain, and those three plus Italy. Frankly I think the latter two departing is unlikely; they’re not is as poor shape, yet, as they’re made out to be.
This is chump change for the seven year period, even including Portugal: it compares to Germany’s 2012 GDP of €2.5 trillion ($3.2 trillion). Even losing all four would “only” hurt badly, not inflict debilitating damage—and only relatively briefly, at that. See a graph below for expansion on this point. Notice, also, that the red bars are losses in growth, not loss of growth.
Here’s that “graph below:”
Look at that. A burble in 2014 until we look at all four nations departing. Then Germany gets a sharp recession. However, notice that in the most likely scenarios—Greece only and Greece plus Portugal leave—growth goes back positive by 2015, and by 2017 if we throw Spain into the mix.
What do things look like for the rest of the EU, not just Germany, and for the US?
The UK and the US—not members of the eurozone, interestingly—hardly notice the losses. Germany feels the sting, but as can be seen from the earlier graphs, not so much compared to its overall economy.
In short, a departure of these nations from the eurozone will hurt the remaining, and other nations, a little. But against this must be balanced both the pain for those nations of continuing the present charade of bailouts and the benefits to Greece (and Portugal, Spain, and Italy) of stopping the bailouts, letting them go bankrupt, and letting them depart the eurozone. And the affected nations can, with this much warning, mitigate the effects by reducing their holdings of Greek (and Portuguese, Spanish, and Italian) sovereign debt.