A Global Financial CrisisS

A few weeks ago, one could still hope that America's financial crisis might be contained. China's economy was robust and countries such as Germany and Japan hadn't experienced the real-estate bubble that blew up the financial system of the United States. If those countries held up, American exports might continue to compensate for the retrenchment of American consumers; and bargain-hunting foreign buyers would support the real-estate markets of cities such as New York and Miami. It was a comforting fantasy—and it's evaporated as the bank failures have spread. The currency of debt-happy Iceland was effectively devalued by half today; nobody wants to accept the krone; the cold little island is likely to be the first entire country to go bankrupt, a catastrophe which warrants a headline even starker than Morgunbladid's in this gallery of international papers. (One can now be terrified by the banner headlines of financial catastrophe in many languages.)