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Contagion in Three Forms Now Has Grip on Europe: Simon Johnson

July 18 (Bloomberg) -- There are three types of contagion in a financial crisis, when the potential collapse of a firm, bank or country threatens to spiral out of control. The European Union today has all three.

The first type is purely psychological -- the panic of herd behavior. The second comes from thinking through the real effects that a collapse would have, as the potential spillovers dawn on people. The third, and most devastating, emerges when smart investors realize that their assumptions -- based on the pronouncements of policy makers -- are all wrong and need to be tossed overboard.