Looking around me, and reading the daily news, I wonder if things felt like this in August of 1929 — everyone acting as though there weren’t something really nasty and plainly visible about to happen, unless people awoke and took more decisive action very soon.

The economy of Europe is heading over a cliff. Our economy is chained to it at the ankle, along with the rest of the globalized world. Italy and Greece have been put under trusteeship, and Italy now has an unelected government of bankers and corporate executives. Next, the hedge funds and bond traders will take down Spain, and maybe even France. The U.S. political class is so busy tearing each other’s hair out that nobody seems to notice that the country is slipping into a deeper phase of recession than the first round.

The Chinese economy is rapidly shedding momentum, with the softening of its export markets in the West, and the resultant weakening of its domestic market which feeds parasitically on that imbalanced trade. China is descending toward the growth threshold they need just to stay even in the face of their demographic pressures (in China, it takes about 5 or 6 per cent annual GDP growth to hold their own, because of the enormous workforce flooding from the impoverished countryside into the cities and requiring absorption every week).

None of the causes of the 2008 crash and recession have been fixed, and the systemic problems are worse than ever, especially the disparity of wealth and incomes that has made the economy unsustainable.