|Photo Credit: ILO|
An economic and financial crisis has engulfed the world. Banks have collapsed, stock prices have slumped and there has been an unprecedented decline in economic activity. The crisis began in 2007, in the wake of financial and real estate speculation in the United States, but it came after a long period of international financial instability, trade imbalances and several local or regional crises. By late 2008, the crisis had spread to many countries. Governments responded with massive emergency measures, but the crisis continued to spread and large numbers of workers have been laid off all over the world. Many see the crisis as an opportunity for renewed regulation and democratic re-structuring of the global economy. But solutions are complicated by the depth of the crisis, by the lack of strong global institutions, and by overlapping crises in the environment, natural resources and global trade.