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The gravity of the present world economic crisis comes in part from the spectacular imbalances and crazy capital flows that occurred in the years of the boom that finally juddered to a halt last year. Martin Wolf, an eminent spokesperson for big capital, warns in the Financial Times (02.12.08), “The world has run out of willing and creditworthy private borrowers. The spectacular collapse of the western financial system is a symptom of this big fact... In the long run, the global economy will have to rebalance.” If it doesn’t work out, “The open world economy may even break down. As in the 1930s, this is now a real danger.”

He goes on, “In 2008, according to forecasts from the International Monetary Fund, the aggregate excess of savings over investment in surplus countries will be just over $2,000bn...In 2008 the big deficit countries are, in order, the US, Spain, the UK, France, Italy and Australia. The US is far and away the biggest borrower of them all. These six countries are expected to run almost 70 per cent of the world’s deficits.”