The global economy is in a faster decline than economists predicted only weeks ago, as the bursting of the biggest-ever real-estate bubble hits real economies in Europe and Asia, killing millions of jobs and shutting businesses, the Washington Post reports. Britain just posted its biggest quarterly slump since 1980, while Germany, China, and South Korea all reported surprisingly steep declines. The numbers call for more government aid and suggest we may not see a recovery before 2010.
Europe’s troubles are “as bad if not worse than those in the US,” the Post notes, and look worse in the last few days. In Britain, long-dominant retail chains are closing or shrinking dramatically; unemployment has reached some 2 million, the highest since 1997. Top European banks have posted huge losses in the past few days. Even China, in the past immune to world financial contagions, posted its slowest growth in 7 years, sparking fears for the economic health of its neighbors and trading partners.