The International Institute of Finance reckons that a disorderly default by Greece would cost a trillion euros. Golly, what a lot. It’s 1,000,000,000,000 of them, or 130 euros for every man, woman and child on the planet.

The IIF describes itself as “the world’s only global association of financial institutions,” and “is committed to being the most influential global association of financial institutions.” I’d say that if the first statement is true, the second doesn’t need much commitment, but never mind. The IIF spooked us this week with its apocalyptic vision of the consequences of a disorderly Greek default, with contagion of plague proportions, followed by famine, pestilence and bankruptcy of central banks. Well, perhaps not the famine and pestilence, or at least not immediately, but you get the picture. The IIF thinks default is a bad idea.

Of course it’s a bad idea. There are no good ideas left in this crisis, but it’s worth asking for whom is default a really bad idea? Surely not the global banks, asset managers and investors who make up the IIF’s membership and who own the Greek debt? Goodness, no. Default would be inflicting “significant further damage on an already beleaguered Greek economy, raising serious social costs.” Very moving, but a bit late.

The Greeks are already in a terrible state, as they labour under the new burdens heaped onto them by their German friends. The idea that with a bit more pain Greece can meet its obligations is little more than a cruel joke, and the conviction that they should endure a decade of austerity in some vague hope of becoming solvent is grotesque. Greece has already defaulted, whatever the technicians at the ISDA may say, and the new arrangements are merely a pretence for the convenience of the foreign bank creditors. Greece must default and devalue. It can be done. Here’s one way. There are others, but the longer the inevitable is put off, the more painful the process will be for creditors and lenders alike.