Could Europe’s history of bloody conflict be what saves it?

Violence in the streets, hostility in parliaments, grim demands of austerity. Hmm … another day, another euro.

But hold the baguette! I reckon the union and the euro will survive this annus horribilis. We’ll probably see a few defaults as sovereign debt – what each country owes its creditors – is written down or off. (My money’s on Greece, Portugal and Spain, in that order. If Italy goes, all bets are off.)

While battered to within an inch of its life, the euro and the European Union (EU) will surprise us all and live on to smoke those super strong cigarettes and neck double espressos for breakfast.

The reason? The EU stands to lose much more from a break-up than it would gain. Originally a French/German idea, the EU was seen as a way to bind the region following the collapse of the USSR. 20th century Europe had torn itself to shreds twice and a union presented a historical opportunity to create a metaphorical scabbard for those sabres, while also opening up new markets for everyone.

A chaotic European collapse might generate waves of resentment and recrimination that could end in feuding economic blocs or, even worse, bloody conflict. And while they may complain the loudest, the BSD’s – Germany, France and the Netherlands – have done pretty well so far in terms of trade volumes. They know what side their croissant is buttered on.

Fate may be on the EU’s side. Data out of the U.S. is starting to paint a pretty picture of recovery. Sure it’s all finger-painted stick figures at this stage but employment is rising, inflation is stabilising, housing is bottoming and, thanks to the declining dollar, exports are up. Meanwhile, the latest NAB report on the Chinese economy points to a soft landing.

And although the year will be a shocker for Europe no matter what, we may not have to worry. If the Mayans are right, we’ll all be gone by December 21.

Further to my recent blog Cyber-structural unemployment, an artificial intelligence researcher in Singapore has developed a robot with a virtual mouth. The “Kissinger” is the size and shape of a cricket ball with touch-sensitive lips that can detect and copy how your partner kisses. An extra touch of intimacy to a long-distance relationship or or just plain weird?