This is understandable. By some estimates, the total loss incurred by the global banking sector is over $4 trillion, inter-bank lending is sluggish and all this is affecting the real economy. Incomes are declining in virtually all industrialised nations. Unemployment in the United States is at a record high, and all over the world, India included, unemployment is on the rise.
What is alarming is how little we understand about this phenomenon. This was nowhere more evident than in the high-powered Governors' Seminar at the Bali conference. The speakers so often took cover behind medical terminology—the crisis was like a new "virus", it was spreading from one nation to another like an "infection"—that, at one point, Nik Gowing of the BBC, who was chairing the session, interrupted to clarify that in case some people in the audience had just woken up, there was no need for alarm for we had not switched to discussing the swine flu.