Ken's Socialist Economic Bulletin argues:
".... the issue is whether this is going to be an economic recession (a cyclical downturn of moderate length followed by a recovery taking the economy to a higher level - as seen most recently in 1973, 1979, and 1991) or whether there is going to be a depression (an economic downturn which is not followed by recovery taking the economy to a higher level in a medium time frame - of the type seen most severely in the world economy after 1929, or, on a lesser scale, in Latin America in the 1980s).
Although the beginning of the financial crash is genuinely on a 1929 scale nevertheless the overall balance of probabilities is that this will be a very nasty recession and not a depression. ...
The world economy today is in a different state [from 1929]. The Asian economies are genuinely dynamic. Therefore recession followed by recovery is the most likely scenario.
There is, however, an important risk. The outcome of this financial crisis will see a major reduction of the weight of the US in the world economy and therefore in world politics. It is possible that the US, in an attempt to stave this off, will engage in irrational actions that can prevent world economic recovery."
Phew, well that's a relief then. I mean, no one would expect the United States to engage in irrational actions now would they? But, of course, it wouldn't necessarily seem irrational - rebuilding that country's infrastructure can only be done with a modicum of protection from cheap East Asian imports.