The World as we know it has changed
by Edmund Conway
All eyes are on the financial system, and rightly so. If its collapse continues for much longer the very real risk is that the world faces an economic slump of the likes not seen since the 1930s, with all that entails: mass unemployment, economies shrinking for years rather than mere quarters, protectionism which provokes serious geopolitical turmoil – the possibilities are so horrific it is painful even to write them.
The last time there was a comparable period of economic and financial turmoil, coupled with record inequality both within and between nations was – well, that was the 1930s.
The Securities and Exchange Commission took the dramatic step early Friday of temporarily banning the routine practice of betting against company stocks.
The move, announced on the agency's Web site, may well be unprecedented and a reflection of regulators' concern about the widening scope of the financial crisis as entreaties come from all quarters to stem a swarm of short-selling.