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Europe: How Bad Will It Get?


November 2, 2011 12:45pm - 2:00pm

Room 290

    A Rock Center Lunch presentation with Robert Madsen (Center for International Studies Massachusetts Institute of Technology).

    About the event:  Some potential crises are so daunting in scale and implication that policy makers refuse to acknowledge them until it is too late to take effective preventative action. The euro zone troubles are a case in point. Europe has made belated progress by admitting that the problem is not sovereign liquidity but sovereign solvency and by conceding that, despite previous statements to the contrary, the continent's banking systems are imperiled. But the debate remains incomplete, overlooking the collateral issue of excessive private-sector indebtedness, the number of countries in danger, and the fiscal subsidies that would be needed to sustain the unified exchange rate even after the resolution of the debt debacle. The purpose of this presentation is to paint a more comprehensive picture of today's Europe. It will, in short, identify the cracks in the foundation of the common currency, quantify the cost of remedying those flaws, and then offer some simple scenarios for how the denouement is likely to occur. Consideration of European political realities unfortunately suggests that the worst scenario is also the most probable. The presentation will end by foreshadowing the economic and political consequences of these events for Europe, the United States and the world.

    About the speaker:


    Robert Madsen is a Senior Fellow at MIT’s Center for International Studies, where he works on East Asian and global politics and economics. He is also a member of the Executive Council at Unison Capital, one of Japan’s premier private equity groups; and a frequent consultant to one of the “supermajor” oil companies, which he helps with economic forecasting as well as such specific topics as the global financial imbalances, the 2008-2009 crisis, fiscal and monetary trends in the major economies, Chinese economics, relations between East Asia and the Middle East, and the future of the Eurozone. In recent years he was also Senior Economist and Advisor at Asia Alternatives, a fund-of-funds; and a retained consultant to a $14 billion macroeconomic hedge fund. Since 1997 Dr. Madsen has written the Economist Intelligence Unit’s (EIU) Japan Country Reports and contributed occasionally to that company’s analysis of China and broader East Asia. He consults regularly for a range of government agencies, including recently two economics ministries, a foreign ministry and a central bank. Before joining MIT in 2004, he was a Fellow at Stanford University’s Asia-Pacific Research Center, Asia Strategist at Soros Private Funds Management, and an advisor to the Robert M. Bass Group on its investments in Japanese real estate. Still earlier, he worked at McKinsey & Company as a management consultant, focusing on financial institutions and international commerce.

    Robert Madsen graduated summa cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa from Harvard University’s Department of East Asian Languages and Civilizations and then entered Oxford University as a Rhodes Scholar, where he studied under the faculty of International Relations and earned a master’s degree, with distinction, and a doctorate. He also holds a J.D., with distinction, from Stanford Law School and is a member of the California State Bar. Having spent over ten years abroad, he is fluent in Japanese and Mandarin Chinese.

    Registration Information: This event is open to the public, and registration is complimentary.  Click here to RSVP.


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