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As I write, the New York stock exchange index fell to its lowest level in six years as the big financial institutions and investors in company stocks slipped into the depth of despond about the state of the world capitalist economy. And these investors have every reason to feel depressed.  The world economy, by most estimates from the major international institutions, will contract this year for the first time since the 1940s.  And by the world, they mean everywhere, not just in the advanced capitalist economies.