The substantial new official resources of the IMF and ESM—and ECB liquidity—could then be used to ring-fence these countries, and banks elsewhere in the eurozone’s troubled periphery. Regardless of what Greece does, eurozone banks now need to be rapidly recapitalized, which requires a new EU-wide program of direct capital injections.
The experience of Iceland and many emerging markets over the past 20 years shows that nominal depreciation and orderly restructuring and reduction of foreign debts can restore debt sustainability, competitiveness, and growth. As in these cases, the collateral damage to Greece of a euro exit will be significant, but it can be contained.
Like a doomed marriage, it is better to have rules for the inevitable divorce that make separation less costly to both sides. Make no mistake: An orderly euro exit by Greece implies significant economic pain. But watching the slow, disorderly implosion of the Greek economy and society would be much worse.