A Time for Calm/Panic [delete as applicable]
Should international investors worry less about the euro?
The voice for calm would say yes. True, financial markets have been spooked this week by aggressive German rhetoric - and action - against speculators. But it's hardly news that European governments want to rein in the financial system in key respects over the next few years. And, as yesterday's key US Senate vote confirmed, the Europeans aren't the only ones.
Look through the German rhetoric - the voice for calm would say - and you see the key player in the eurozone drama demonstrating that it is willing to put the future of the single currency before pretty much anything else.
The 440bn-euro special stabilisation mechanism for the euro has won support today in the German parliament.
Now assume that Eurozone finance ministers is able to give the markets enough details about that special vehicle for bailing out eurozone governments in the next week or two that investors can start to believe it really exists.
(OK, so the Eurogroup meeting to sign off on the details was cancelled today - because they, er, didn't have enough details to sign off. But assume they get their act together fairly soon.)
Assume - in other words - that the key pieces of the extraordinary support package for the euro agreed just under two weeks ago are soon in place. Then, in the short term at least, it's not clear why global investors need to worry a lot about the euro.
The Greek support programme means that the Greek government won't need to borrow money from the markets for well over two years. Markets can fret about them defaulting or restructuring their debt after that, but those doubts need not have much effect on Greece itself.
Likewise, if you were worried about Portuguese, Greek or Spanish debt sitting on bank balance sheets that they might find hard to sell - in theory, you don't have to worry about that any more. The banks have a buyer of last resort in the form of the ECB.
And if you're worried about other governments getting into trouble - well, there's a 750bn-euro support programme (the eurozone money plus the money from the EU and the IMF) as a third lind of defence.
With all these fortifications in place, it's difficult to see how you would get the kind of panic in the inter-bank markets which so rocked world markets in 2008 - and which we got another whiff of in the lead-up to those momentous negotiations earlier in the month.
Here endeth the lesson from the voice of calm. But, as I've been saying since the Greek crisis first began, all of this still leaves the central problem at the heart of the euro's troubles - which all of these frantic negotiations have not even started to resolve.
I write this from Brussels. Today's special taskforce meeting of European finance ministers is supposed to look at how governments could better co-ordinate their policies in the future - in effect, how the eurozone could behave more like a single currency area and less like a group of divergent states.
As we know, Germany is most focussed on the fiscal piece of this - tougher controls on national budgets. That is top of the agenda this afternoon. But I'm at a briefing by senior Commission staff involved with the meeting, and they say that "national competitiveness issues" - and "internal imbalances" - will also be discussed.
That's code for the fact that Germany and the Netherlands, in effect, have been playing China all these years while Portugal and the rest have played the role of the US. In other words: those North European powerhouses have been running up huge trade surpluses, while the Southern Europeans have run bigger and bigger trade deficits.
Whenever Germany tells you how much the Greeks are costing them, remember this: German exports to Greece have risen by 133% since the single currency started. Greek exports to Germany have risen by 13%. The resulting trade gap between the two countries is one reason why German banks are now sitting on so much Greek debt.
Portugal's current account gap was nearly 10% in 2009, only just below the Greek one. The Spanish current deficit was 5.3% of GDP.
These gaps have been hiding in plain view for years. But for all the talk about convergence, and "growth and stability", the Commission - and the leading eurozone governments - decided to turn a blind eye. The argument was that these deficits didn't matter - because they were caused by private-sector borrowing, not governments.
This is what Lord Lawson said in the late-1980s boom, when asked whether we should we be worried about Britain's gaping current account gap. It's also what Thailand said in the late 1990s. They were wrong. And so was the European Commission.
In the end, these imbalances always come home to roost - the private-sector bubble that was causing them bursts, and one way or another the borrowing is shifted onto the public sector. And governments have to do a lot of painful things to bring it down.
In Britain's case, and Thailand's, devaluation was the route back to competitiveness for the private-sector economy. As we know, that route is not open to the likes of Spain. And if Germany won't allow German inflation to rise above 2% (which it won't), these countries will need years of falling prices - and possibly shrinking nominal GDP - to climb their way out.
Germany is very much in favour of this kind of "convergence plan". It is not interested in making it easier - through higher German inflation, or higher German domestic demand, or higher German public borrowing.
So - with the best will in the world - this "better co-ordination process" being discussed today looks set to be an exercise in co-ordinated drudgery for large parts of the eurozone. And there will be another large part of the global economy looking to the rest of the world to provide its growth.
That is a pretty nightmarish scenario for the voice of panic to focus on.
The received wisdom, of the calming variety - says that even if it's bad, it's a slow-burn. There's no reason to panic today. But, looking at the market movements of the past few weeks, I'm not so sure.
Even if markets are not as efficient as the boom-time economic theorising proclaimed, they do have a way of turning bad news tomorrow into bad news today.
As we discovered yesterday, fears of a double-dip recession in the US have not entirely gone away, even if they are greatly reduced.
For many investors, the prospect of there being little or no European domestic demand to fuel US growth is not a pleasing one.
Slower future growth in the eurozone also means lower European stock prices today. And that is if the citizens of these countries actually allow the drudgery scenario to unfold. Investors might well start to wonder whether people will.
Remember that the grand stabilisation mechanism will offer no comfort to governments in search of an easier life. The whole idea of this mechanism, we are frequently and openly told, is that the conditions for getting the money will be so tough, no country will ever want to come to it for help.
It's true that Japan has gone through well over a decade of meagre, export-driven growth and falling prices - without riots, and without revolution. Maybe some version of that future is politically do-able for southern countries of the eurozone.
As I reported in early April, Ireland has taken its deflationary medicine surprisingly well. But I'm not sure that Spain and Portugal remind me of Japan.
I think I still believe in the voice of calm. But I find myself hoping that, this time, the markets are as short-termist as the critics suggest. If investors start to think too hard about the long-term picture for the eurozone, we could be in for some very bumpy times indeed.