Encircling gloom

Encircling gloom

It was first described as the subprime crisis, then it became known as the credit crisis, and after that the financial crisis. Now it is time for a new nomenclature: the global economic crisis.

The bad news is no longer restricted to dealing rooms and stock tickers. The real economy of output and jobs is looking shaky in many parts of the world.

Japan has already been spooked by expectations of bad corporate results. Intel has also warned investors that weak demand for its computer chips will hurt earnings. The auto makers in Detroit, once much-admired examples of US industrial prowess, are in their death throes. There are reports that the export factories in China’s Pearl River delta have started firing workers.

The macro data, too, is glum. China has said its industrial output is growing at its slowest rate in seven years. Germany is officially in recession. The US and the UK are not far behind. World trade is expected to shrink for the first time in 27 years.

The lives and livelihoods of ordinary citizens are now at stake.