New lows in the stock market today... a record 1-day percentage fall in the FTSE 100. The BBC headline is instructive: "stocks slide despite reassurances."
Perhaps because the reassurances were coming from the likes of Angela Merkel, Alistair Darling, the government of Iceland, and of course the US Government.
We have got to the stage that William Burroughs in The Naked Lunch called 'that frozen moment when everyone sees what is on the end of every fork.' People have realised that b.s. is b.s. and there is no real reason to believe any economics minister in any government in the developed world.
Jon Snow on Channel 4 News looked to be really enjoying himself (and that's not meant as a negative remark at all - Jon is great.) Just being able to have a steady stream of interviewees in the report footage and in the studio saying, "we haven't a clue when it's going to end." Even the economic collapse of the mid-70s doesn't have anything on this.
More and more financial institutions - and other companies - are having to be rescued by national governments every day. The UK government is now seriously considering partial nationalisation of the entire UK banking system. It's intervention on a level that Tony Benn never got anywhere near in the 70s.
Is it frightening? Yes, certainly. But seeing the Reagan/Thatcher economic model that we've been following for the last 30 years unravelling so quickly and so completely is not an unpleasant experience. The only problem, of course, is what we replace it with. And that now becomes the really big issue for what now looks increasingly like it's going to be an incoming Obama adminstration in the US. (So far there's little evidence they've thought about this - which is very worrying. But that's an issue for another day).
In the EU, who the hell knows what's going to happen. The two different perspectives I've identified from media commentators are:
1. The crisis could fracture the Euro and maybe the EU itself (Larry Elliott says this for instance);
2. The crisis could lead to an expanded EU with greater powers (at the extreme, a federal Europe). For example, it looks like Iceland is now desperate to join... and if the pound collapses, the UK could be forced into the Euro.
So it's the big crash, folks. (Of course stocks may bounce tomorrow, but in the current climate that won't last for long. Casino capitalism is crumbling to dust, and this is the biggest opportunity for the left (and unfortunately for the extreme right) since the 1930s. The only problem is working out exactly what the f*** is going on enough to work out (in turn) what to do about it. Good luck, everybody.