Despite the hyperventilating about the debt ceiling vote, most actual investors seem to have little fear. U.S. bond rates remain low, and generally, the global markets are much more concerned with an Italian or Spanish default than they are with an American one.
All the main factors point to an eventual resolution: Every previous debt ceiling crisis was resolved just in the nick of time; Wall Street — the main funders of the Republican Party — does not want to see a massive global economic crisis again; the Democratic voting base generally accepts compromise.
That said, there’s always a nonzero chance of a total catastrophe. If you took bets from people in positions of power across Europe in the spring of 1914 and asked them how likely a massive conflict between all the great powers of Europe would be, they would have all bet against it. The two largest trading partners on earth were the UK and Germany, and big wars between great powers just didn’t happen any more. And yet, the catastrophe still occurred. The systems of treaties, the underestimation of the costs of war, and the opportunism of each side all combined to bring about a disaster of horrific intensity.
I’m not saying the debt ceiling crisis will necessarily bring about economic collapse. But disasters do happen, and they do not discriminate between those who were really aiming for it or those who were just pretending.