Despite the hints of Mr.Cameron Britain's not going broke it seems. Or at least not unless everyone else does, according to the much quoted and seemingly sensible Flip-Chart Fairy Tales. So that's alright then.
Except, of course, it isn't alright. Countries don't actually go broke in the same way as companies. They don't get put into receivership and then get closed down/broken up/sold off to the highest bidder. Even if the IMF suits did arrive to take over the direction of the Treasury their first thought wouldn't be "...let's see if we can interest the Germans in annexing Middlesbrough 'cos they've got a chemical industry as well" or " ..hmm, there's no alternative but to simply close down Rotherham because no one in their right mind would want them as a colony..." or " ..I think we should turn down this proposed management buy-out from Guildford because they're not offering enough money - we'd get a better price flogging the town to the Saudis..."
What we're really talking about is the degree to which the current financial and economic crisis will impact on the county's political and financial autonomy and on the living standards of our people. Whether or not the IMF will arrive - as in Iceland - is a matter that those of us who know the depth of our own economic ignorance are best advised to leave to the experts. (You know, those people who did so well in warning us all this was coming over the horizon...).
But one thing seems clear to me: the 'national business model' is broken. That is to say our heavy dependence on the financial sector is unlikely to be restored to its previous degree of viability. We - and the States - simply haven't saved or invested enough compared to the emerging economies, and particularly China, as John Ross relentlessly points out. So we're going to get poorer and have less national political autonomy. This is the big point. We've got to find a different balance of things to do as a nation - and probably pay ourselves less for doing it. (Well, I say 'ourselves', but I really mean pay the boss class less ......)
The question of how much poorer and how much less political autonomy is wrapped up in the technical language of economists that so few of us really grasp. Is it to be a crisis of 'early nineties' scale? Or are we talking of something akin to the the post 1976 crisis that led to - and was made worse by - Mrs.Thatcher? Or even the Big One - a Depression, 1930s style ? I don't know and, to be frank, I don't really believe anyone else does either.