February 5th, 2009
05:00 PM ET

World economy in a "depression"?

From CNN's Jack Cafferty:

It took no time at all after British Prime Minister Gordon Brown suggested the world is in a "depression" for the entire country to get its knickers in a knot.

Mr. Brown’s spokesman said the prime minister had made a slip of the tongue when he used the word “depression.”

While facing questions from Parliament, Mister Brown told lawmakers: "We should agree, as a world, on a monetary and fiscal stimulus that will take the world out of depression.”

The opposition party jumped on it right away and said the prime minister should explain himself - that he needs to be careful with his language to make sure he doesn't undermine confidence. They asked if Mister Brown had information that everyone else didn't know about.

Mister Brown's spokesman quickly came out and said the prime minister had made a slip of the tongue when he used the word "depression”, that it was "not deliberate, and not what he thinks.”

Just a week earlier, Mister Brown admitted that Britain was facing a "deep" recession, and the country's treasury secretary has said that they are "facing some of the harshest economic conditions for decades, perhaps for a century.”

Whatever words they're using, things are getting ugly everywhere, including Britain. Statistics already show the country is facing its worst recession since 1980. Forecasters suggest that the British economy will likely contract more than any other leading industrialized country this year.

Here’s my question to you: Is the world economy in a "depression"?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?

C. from Georgia writes:
You know what would help? If the media would implement a moratorium on uttering the following terms for one week: Depression, Recession, Financial Crisis, Contraction, Layoffs. I think we'd see a major improvement in the stock market, people's tempers, and the GNP. We were supposed to see some hope and change. The media is doing its best to make us all crazy!

Jeff writes:
Of course we're in a depression. The price of oil has fallen 73%, home prices are down 30%, the world's stock markets are down 40%, and cars are selling for almost nothing. It's a downward deflationary spiral. Politicians just don't want to admit that. Except for Wall Street investment bankers, it's a depression.

Meg from Troy, Ohio writes:

Jack, I am certainly no economist, but it seems that there is trouble everywhere in the world. The US and Britain are just two examples of countries facing "deep" recession or depression. I think that it is just a matter of terms. We are in deep trouble. And the "we" is not just my fellow Americans. It's a world affair.

Denis from Pittsburgh writes:
Of course it is, Jack. No one has the guts to say that we are in for a long, long recovery. Politics always gets in the way of honesty.

JD from North Carolina writes:
I'd rather spend time discussing how to promote employment and domestic production instead of making sucker-bets on how bad it will be.

Joan from Minnesota writes:
When unemployment reaches 25%, then we have a "depression.” This fear-mongering has to stop!

Tiffany from Philadelphia writes:
I think the 2.6 million people who lost their jobs last year are definitely in one.

Filed under: Economy
soundoff (108 Responses)
  1. Frank from Peterborough

    If you can believe most of the news reports there are some countries probably in a depression but many are just in a period of slow down or recession.

    From what I can tell it is the more conservative leaning nations that are having deeper and larger economic problems with the more left leaning cultures being in much better economic shape.

    In Canada our Conservative government is going to give us a tax reduction which for myself will amount to about 250 dollars a year which if I get that amount or even lost that amount it would mean absolutely nothing to me one way or the other.

    I can see providing the lower income families or individuals some breaks as they have to try and survive but for most of us middle income people it is likely just money wasted.

    February 5, 2009 at 1:08 pm |
  2. Rita in Phoenix

    I just know bad.I don't know what the smart economists are calling it.

    February 5, 2009 at 1:11 pm |
  3. Chuck in Ohio

    Jack: Who cares about the world now? Trumbull County has lost 43.4% of manufacturing jobs since 2001,and 20% of all jobs in the same time frame. These numbers don't count the up coming 2400 at GM Lordstown and 800 at Severstal Warren Steel Mill.
    You think the world has it rough? One out of every five workers has lost their job here. What do you think our Senators are doing?

    February 5, 2009 at 1:13 pm |
  4. Kevin in Dallas, TX

    We're not in a depression. The jobs we're losing now were created as a result of people spending money they borrowed but could not repay. Now that people are having to live within their means, there's no place for jobs funded by other peoples' debt. I like to call this place "reality."

    February 5, 2009 at 1:16 pm |
  5. Conor in Chicago

    Not yet, but it will be. And the world will blame America, and rightfully so.

    February 5, 2009 at 1:21 pm |
  6. Sandy

    If it is not there, it's close. I see more and more homeless people walk past my business everyday and the lines at the soup kitchens are longer and longer. Whether the economy is recessed or depressed...the people of the world are worried and they are coping with depression – financial and emotional.

    Texarkana, Arkansas

    February 5, 2009 at 1:23 pm |
  7. Max from Grand Forks, ND

    Yes we are in a world depression. Here is one way to help people in the U.S. – an alternative to the stimulus plan (how many of these can we actually afford anymore??). Let's signifcantly reduce the interest rates on all mortgages, car loans, credit cards and student loans. That would put money in people's pockets much quicker than any stimulus bill, and the people or institutions holding those loans (whoever they are nowadays?) wouldn't have to write them off. And the best part? Our grandkids wouldn't have to foot the bill.

    February 5, 2009 at 1:25 pm |
  8. B-Koi Vancouver Island, BC

    If it looks like a duck..............

    February 5, 2009 at 1:27 pm |
  9. Ralph, Corpus Christi

    Sadly so.
    Ralph-Corpus Christi, Texas

    February 5, 2009 at 1:37 pm |
  10. Jimmy from NC

    Jack, we only have the news outlets to see what is going on globally. But if the US is any indication we are getting really close to a depression. We can only hope politicians will put aside their political difference and alliance to their PAC's and do something with this stimulous package before we sink into a depression.

    February 5, 2009 at 1:37 pm |
  11. Allen L Wenger

    Yes, I have been using the term depression instead of recession for 2 or 3 months now and fewer people are disagreeing with me every day. What percentage of the population needs to be unemployed before we are officially in a depression? or does it depend on how many are actually still looking for work?

    Mountain Home ID

    February 5, 2009 at 1:38 pm |
  12. odessa

    maybe, the world economy is suffering depression due to loss of jobs, no healthcare coverage for people and companies are being greedy..i think that is going to take time for the whole world to get back on its feet again..nobody works magic or wonders..we must be very patient or all of us could lose our minds..

    February 5, 2009 at 1:52 pm |
  13. Marieth, Chicago

    Thousands of major companies are laying off people. People are loosing their homes like never before (these are probably the same people who paid rent, and had never been evicted.) Entire industries are collapsing. That alone is depressing.

    February 5, 2009 at 1:54 pm |
  14. Diana Ewing NJ

    Well for sure, I am depressed, how about you..???

    February 5, 2009 at 2:16 pm |
  15. Ron San Diego

    Hi Jack:

    It's all a matter of opinion. I think is very subjective at this point in time. There are many nations where poverty is the mainstay. Yet the rulers and governments of those countries are rich. So if you look at it from that perspective, I think depression like conditions have even effected the US. And this is nothing new, it's been around a while. Although I am of the opinion that the US is digging itself into a deep and dangerous financial hole. Tipping it's hat to the rich and powerful. So we may or may not be there yet, however the national debt has never been as high as it is. In real terms, I doubt the debt will ever be re-paid.

    Ron San Diego.

    February 5, 2009 at 2:20 pm |
  16. Mike, Syracuse NY

    I imagine if you don't have a job it is.

    February 5, 2009 at 2:21 pm |
  17. Juan from Union city, NJ

    Well Jack put it this way, The European union is hurting financially, here in the U.S. we're struggling to find and keep jobs, the country of Iceland is almost bankrupt and in asia there over 15 million people out of work...you tell me if we're in a depression.

    February 5, 2009 at 2:31 pm |
  18. Tina

    Yes because we all have become too spoiled on our spending habits. Used to you get paid, put some in the bank and hit the shops and today you are lucky to have a job and you tuck your money under the mattress and only get to shop for groceries and nothing else.

    February 5, 2009 at 2:35 pm |
  19. Steve of Hohenwald TN.

    If i understand the definition correctly, a depression is just an extended recession. Yep, i would say we are in a depression allright!

    February 5, 2009 at 2:43 pm |
  20. Paul S. Columbia, SC

    Underneath the veiled depression whispers, I suspect the big shots of the world have ripped off their country and countrymen as well. Welcome to the club. This is no free for all; it's just free for them.

    February 5, 2009 at 2:46 pm |
  21. JD in NH

    Whatever you want to call it – recession, depression, tomato, tomahto – the problem is still the same. It's a waste of breath to argue over the name of this horrible mess so many are suffering through.

    February 5, 2009 at 2:51 pm |
  22. Diane, Barneveld, NY

    I'm too depressed to notice.

    February 5, 2009 at 2:52 pm |
  23. Jane in CA

    Yes. This contraction will probably last another 2-5 years, possibly a lot longer. If a majority of Americans were to go back to spending only money they already have, it would be decades before we get back to 2007 levels of consumption. Not that that is actually likely to happen. Few people today remember the depression from personal experience. Maybe our social "safety nets" will function well enough to keep most people fed and housed. I doubt that anything short of mass starvation could keep Americans from running up their plastic once the economy starts to turn around, which is why I think that we will start to grow in a couple of years.

    February 5, 2009 at 2:56 pm |
  24. Richard Green


    If the world is not already in a depression, it soon will be if the global financial giants do not write down their losses, insulate their successful divisions from their failing ones, and stop taking bailout money that would be better used to create jobs. Economists the world over have said that there isn't enough money to cover the trillions in losses these companies are keeping from the news. They are all bankrupt [inspite of the worldwide billions being poured into them]. They need to fail and allow an orderly bankruptcy process to occur. All of our money should be focused on jobs, not on helping millionaires and billionaires hold onto more of their money; because they sure as heck aren't loaning it to anyone. Confidence in the world economy will not return until jobs are created by gov'ts and money starts being spent instead of hoarded.

    Rich Green
    San Clemente, Cal.

    February 5, 2009 at 2:56 pm |
  25. John in Santa Barbara, CA

    Most of the world, for centuries has been in a depression, the rest of us are just catching up.

    February 5, 2009 at 3:01 pm |
  26. Nancy, Tennessee

    It is hard to believe that the world economy is in a depression. That would mean that our global trading policies have hurt everyone. If the all the world is suffering with the U.S., then Congress better come up with a miraculous stimulus package. I hope this is more of the same scare tactics and exaggeration of the truth. Where is superman when you need him?

    February 5, 2009 at 3:01 pm |
  27. Jim Handy

    Certainly. The world economy revolves around ours and if we are in trouble so are they.

    Inglewood, Ca

    February 5, 2009 at 3:12 pm |
  28. Bob D, Morrisown, NJ

    Since depression, unlike recession, is not formally defined, it's hard to tell. Certainly conditions are not as bad as they were in the early 30s when there was a world depression, whatever that means.

    Bandying about the word depression, and declaring that we are in one, when that fact is uncertain at best, is very counter productive. The hallmark of a depression is that investors don't invest, lenders don't lend causing buyers to not buy and workers to not work all based on fear that investments, loans and the like will be lost because we are in a depression. To paraphrase FDR, the thing to be feared the most is fear itself, and anything that adds to that fear promotes a self-fulfilling prophecy.

    February 5, 2009 at 3:13 pm |
  29. Joan Buck

    When unemployment reaches 25% then we have a "depression"...this fear mongering has to stop !
    Joan B

    February 5, 2009 at 3:17 pm |
  30. Jeff in Massachusetts

    Considering that America is (supposedly) the richest country in the world, and given the state of our economy, it is reasonable to believe that the world is in fact in a depression. Depression, however, is just a word. People on the unemployment line could care less what you call it. All they know is that they are scared by the threat of having to feed, house, clothe, and otherwise provide for their families. The loss of a half million jobs PER MONTH is most certainly a DEPRESSING reality that everyone in the world must deal with.
    Ashburnham, Massachusetts

    February 5, 2009 at 3:17 pm |
  31. Patricia S

    I don't know if the world economy is in a depression but I know that our household is. I lost my job over a year ago and today my husband lost his. Here we are close to 60, no jobs, no health insurance – nothing. We have already gone through my 401K and my husbands will only keep us afloat for 2-3 months tops.

    After working all of our lives we have nothing to show for it.
    Whether the wold is in an economic depression don't matter, I know that we are.
    Orem, Utah

    February 5, 2009 at 3:46 pm |
  32. Stacy from Leesburg, VA

    Jack, ask Iceland, I bet they can give you a quick answer to your query!

    February 5, 2009 at 4:06 pm |
  33. Diane Dagenais Turbide

    My main concern is the rapid pace of how big corporations are cutting jobs and people with greater financial means are not spending as they used to regardless of the tax breaks of the past!

    February 5, 2009 at 4:20 pm |
  34. James, Sun City CA

    Jack, I don't know if we are in a depression; it looks pretty bad to me. But why should we argue about it? Let's just call it the Great Recession!

    February 5, 2009 at 4:28 pm |
  35. Geraldine, Wasilla AK

    A depression will stink just as much by any other name. The world is knee deep in manure with quicksand underneath. Part of the reason we're here is that leaders have avoided truth-telling in the name of confidence - false confidence, which avoided taking progressively stronger measures to combat it. The economy has become a series of false-fronted buildings similar to a movie sound lot. The population explosion over the past 50 years has reduced the readily available resources and shored up the so-called value with faux monetary value. I think that a new word will have to be invented within two years to replace "depression."

    February 5, 2009 at 4:31 pm |
  36. Darren

    So goes the United States so goes the World.

    February 5, 2009 at 4:39 pm |
  37. Roland (St George, UT)

    Who cares whether you call it a recession or a depression? Whatever it is, it sucks!

    February 5, 2009 at 4:40 pm |
  38. Jan Lancaster, PA

    Probably ... think world leaders are afraid to use the "D" word at this juncture.

    Think they should let the big institutions fail. Give the tax monies back to the people and let ingenuity and initiative take over. Also, give funds back to the small farmers, not Agri-business, and let the communities sustain themselves. Initiate the green technologies, and alternative energy industries along with infra-structure, broad band and electrical grid development/upgrades. All of these should create jobs.

    February 5, 2009 at 4:42 pm |
  39. bobfromtempe

    "depression/recession/downturn", use whichever term you want mr cafferty, the root challenge is that there are way to many people on this earth hemorrhaging valuable resources.............until we, as a whole, stop exponentially growing population both globally and domestically and properly educate those that continue to inhabit our delicate resource pool, we may never be able to rebound........to make the "family values" crowd understand this: a family of 8 should sit down to a dinner of 2 pizzas, each member gets 2 slices and is happy; now picture those same 2 pizzas feeding 20 people instead of 8, not only are there no leftovers but the real moral is: "no one will be able to enjoy a full slice of the pie"........that's what the world has, looking forward!!

    February 5, 2009 at 4:48 pm |
  40. Jeff, in Georgia


    Remember the game Jenga? Where you pull pieces out until it falls? The world economy is like this, with pieces having been pulled out over the last 8 years. Everytime someone else pulls out another piece, we're closer and closer to toppling the world economy. Most countries base their economy on the US economy, and base their money on the value of the dollar. Pull out alot of pieces from the bottom, and the whole thing topples. Whether we are in a global depression is still yet to be determined, but when that Jenga tower falls, you bet we'll all know it, as the pieces hit us square in the face.

    Jeff, Atlanta GA.

    February 5, 2009 at 5:08 pm |
  41. Walied Khogali

    A deep recession is a DEPRESSION!

    The economy is worsening, we all know it, we feel it, what is wrong with admitting it?

    February 5, 2009 at 5:11 pm |
  42. Edgar

    Of course it is! The worse part is that most of the world leaders are in denial. Capitalism is on its last leg due to greed. What is the alternative???? All other systems have failed. Do we go back to hunting and gathering?

    February 5, 2009 at 5:12 pm |
  43. chris

    I completely think we are in a depression. The government has not been straightforward with the people in order to not "undermine" confidence.
    People need to pay attention or they are going to get crushed financially in this rotten economy.

    February 5, 2009 at 5:12 pm |
  44. Tacy in Albany, CA

    Absolutely, and you can thank overpopulation for this fact. Nations are so busy trying to "aid" and "save" eachother in the name of civility that they fail to care for their own people and the powers of natural selection are stymied, with great later consequence. This planet and the rules of biological life will catch up with humanity; mark my works, overpopulation can not increase. We need to stop worrying about others and start taking care of ourselves. Its time the human species remembers that each of us is individually responsible for our own survival, and we should expect our government, or other nations, to hold us up.

    February 5, 2009 at 5:12 pm |
  45. David Jones

    Listen to Brown and Obama.

    The cheerleader stage of trying to talk the global economy round is over. They know the reality is that after the biggest boom is history will result in the biggest bust. The twenty year party is over. Let's move on and prepare, but billions of dollars/pounds/euros should not be spent propping up failed business models, government's role should be to build the economy of the future, not extend the lifesupport system of the economics of the past.

    February 5, 2009 at 5:14 pm |
  46. Norman Hoffman

    All I know is the World is depressing me. Every country the politicians are living high on the hog, while the middle and poorer classes are losing their homes, jobs and going hungry. I have a solution, let everyone neglect to pay taxes. That way we would at least get consideration for a high paying job.

    Marietta, Ga

    February 5, 2009 at 5:14 pm |
  47. Sanjay, Clarendon Hills IL

    Sure, we're all in an economic depression. What scares me is that the US has taken decisive action compared to some of the other major economies.

    February 5, 2009 at 5:14 pm |
  48. Kendra W

    If the world economy is not in a depression it is certainly in a blue mood. I am not an economic expert by any means, but I feel that the global economy is going to be very very shaky for a while and that five years from now the economic landscape will look very different. Do I think we should cut ourselves off from the world, only buy USA products, and leave the rest of the world to fend for themselves? No. Absolutely not. We are in this together. Let's move towards progress and positive change–not fear.

    February 5, 2009 at 5:15 pm |
  49. Jason

    A worldwide depression, Jack? I do not think so. What we are seeing now is a worldwide consequence of years of a leading world nation that has been fueled on financial greed and capitalist ideals. Ultimately, the so called "American dream" has become the downfall of a society that prides itself in the a culture that eats itself from the inside. Hopefully, the world will not follow in our footsteps.

    February 5, 2009 at 5:16 pm |
  50. Ed of Saint Louis, MO

    It's nothing other than semantics. The biggest problem I see is that the "deep recession" is accelerating on an exponential curve. The bulk of last year's job losses occurred within the last few months of the year. The United States is already on track to lose one million jobs for 2009. The government reports unemployment of ~7%, but a more accurate number is probably 13-14%.

    The British complaints are exactly what's wrong with government: "'depression' undermines confidence." Um, in case no one has noticed, the general public doesn't care. The general public is scared witless and they're (we're) buckling down. No more HELOCs to buy more worthless junk or intangibles. No more maxing out credit cards for vacations. No more new cars every other year. People are losing their jobs and many who are still employed are preparing for the worst. Whatever you choose to call it, the effect is the same, and the choice of wording of government officials isn't going to change that. In fact, I rather wish government officials would simply tell it like it is rather than painting an overly rosy picture.

    February 5, 2009 at 5:16 pm |
  51. Rena D Seidl

    I would say it is. The entire world economy is all tied up together, so when our government was so stupid as to remove all regulations on these jackanapes on wall street, and they without a concious took our country down, the ripples went out all over and effected everyone. So to wall streets arrogant CEO's, congratulations, you not only took us down, you took down the whole world.

    February 5, 2009 at 5:16 pm |
  52. George

    all the data points to a depression.....

    February 5, 2009 at 5:16 pm |
  53. DeLonta

    FINALLY! Someone had the balls to tell the world the truth! Thank You Gordon Brown! We need more leaders like you!

    February 5, 2009 at 5:16 pm |
  54. Forrest in Lubbock, TX

    The mere fact that we have to ask is a good indication of the answer. This is still just a recession. If we hit a full blown depression, there will not be any question as to what state the world economy is in.

    (Added the city and state, sorry about that.)

    February 5, 2009 at 5:16 pm |
  55. Ron Hill

    Since stock markets and such are so prone to perceptions, if people keep saying so, we'll wind up in one. Change the perception to one of tough times, but we're working hard to rebound and therefore will. Banks, start making loans.

    Ron in Ohio

    February 5, 2009 at 5:16 pm |
  56. FS

    Not yet Jack, but we're getting there. It's true a lot of jobs being lost were funded by irresponsible management and debt, but now these people don't have jobs to sustain themselves in our economy. We need a stimulus plan that will really create jobs by tackling the sub-prime mess, provide for job retraining, investing in infrastructure on a massive scale i.e: new electrical grid,bridges,road work, green jobs etc, and get people going again, otherwise we will be in a Depression There should be no room for pork.

    Hoffman Estates, IL

    February 5, 2009 at 5:16 pm |
  57. Allan

    I don't know about the world economy, but it seems our world is heading to a global mental depression. Maybe the two are interrelated?

    February 5, 2009 at 5:17 pm |
  58. Marcus Toronto

    Jack,I thought Brown was being pretty restrained in the use of his
    vocabulary.What was probably in the back of his head was the
    word "collapse".

    February 5, 2009 at 5:17 pm |
  59. Jerry Bennett

    Recession, depression, regression, compression – whatever you call it the world is in some kind of "sion." Why make such a big deal out of a word. Just look to the guy next to you. Did he loose his job, home? Can he eat? The truth is, the rest of the world follows us. We're falling and the rest of the world is falling on us.

    February 5, 2009 at 5:17 pm |
  60. Dan in Hopkinton, Massachusetts

    You mean; the second Great Republican depression. The mess created is so big, it has yet to be defined. We are bad shape for the foreseeable future. Yes it's a depression.

    February 5, 2009 at 5:17 pm |
  61. Gregory K Young

    Jack I don't know about the rest of the world because I only live in the this country. But from what I am seeing now, if this country isn't in a depression its not far from it. I haven't lost my job yet but its still an uneasy feeling seeing the number of jobs being lost per month. And the cure for all of this is for me to spend more money? You're kidding right?

    February 5, 2009 at 5:17 pm |
  62. Michael Shaw

    I have no doubt that we are in the beginnings of a nice long depression. Jobs that were created by the over spending of people in the world and the fact that many of those jobs are now service industry jobs are going to keep us in the downward spiral that we now find ourselves in. Until we change how we do bussiness, we are going to find that the government will have same difficulties it faced during FDR's presidency during the last depression.

    February 5, 2009 at 5:18 pm |
  63. kawsu sanyang, Atlanta, GA

    In economics, a depression is a sustained, long downturn in one or more economies. It is more severe than a recession, which is seen as a normal downturn in the business cycle. A depression is characterized by abnormal increases in unemployment, restriction of credit, shrinking output and investment, numerous bankruptcies, reduced amounts of trade and commerce, as well as highly volatile relative currency value fluctuations.
    jack if these aforemention characterise the world economy, it is a truism to claim that we are in a global depression which to a greater extent was ignited by Wallstreet.
    kawsu sanyang
    Atlanta, GA

    February 5, 2009 at 5:18 pm |
  64. Ryan


    I don't really care about the semantics of whether we are in a recession or a depression. Here's what I know-
    I lost my job and can't find another, so I am depressed.
    I don't know how I am going to hold onto my home, so I am depressed.
    I will never be able to retire because I had to cash in what was left of my 401k, so I am depressed.
    I am watching every penny (and even measuring my cat's food) to keep from having to move back into my parents' home, so I am depressed.

    While the talking heads are splitting hairs over the words recession and depression, I am starting to wonder how many hairs need to be split before one moves from depression to suicidal.

    February 5, 2009 at 5:18 pm |
  65. dave in Baltimore

    We are most definitely in a global DEPRESSION.

    Just ask factory workers in China who have been sent home to rural China.

    One of the many problems is that the people trying tomake Trillion-dollar economic decisions have no practical background in the private sector.

    Obama and Dodd and Pelosi are just like John Thain and George Bush:

    they just don't get it.

    Back to basics.

    If you cannot afford it, you do not get it.

    Bad banks don't get billions: they get closed.

    When automakers lose money on every car that comes off the productionline, are we to think they're going to make it up on volume ?????

    Firms that don't work have to go. And that applies to governments and nonprofits, too.

    February 5, 2009 at 5:18 pm |
  66. Kevin

    In the medical field, we have this thing called isolation, so when one individual comes down with infectious disease, there is a barrier to assure others don't catch it. Our economy has been globalized, put on a deliberate path that produces the exact opposite result. Downturns and recessions in one automatically infect others. This is progress? If our economists had ever went into medicine, we would have been wiped out by disease long before now.

    February 5, 2009 at 5:18 pm |
  67. Tara

    Not yet........but.... give it 3-6 months! This has been a tapeworm economy for decades and these huge bailouts and corporate handouts will only ultimately benefit the few at the top, while feeding off the many at the bottom.

    February 5, 2009 at 5:18 pm |
  68. Alton

    Yes, if not very very close! With riots this week in Iceland, Greese, Russia, and France, on top of Icelands economy failing right along with their government, yes. Why do you think our own government needs to spend 750 Billion along with bailouts for banks not in that figure and another 900+billion now? Economist are telling them we are worse off now than in the 30's and it is gettting worse every day. Just because there are no visiable bread lines does not mean we are not there. Remember, food stamps and unemployement was there in 1929.

    February 5, 2009 at 5:18 pm |
  69. sharons

    As scarey as thing seem, we are NOT in a depression, yet. The Great Depression involved 1 in 4 people being out of work or 25% of the population be unemployed. When we get close to 15% unemployment then we can worry. Right now, it's still salvageable. If we get money flowing to create and/or restore jobs.

    February 5, 2009 at 5:19 pm |
  70. diana chaney

    of course we are in a depression-it's a "downturn" if you still have a job but can't take a vacation-a "recession" if you have lost your job but still have a home- a depression if there is no job, no home and no hope of finding a job- and that is where the world is today

    February 5, 2009 at 5:19 pm |
  71. Oscar

    Yes, a world depression with one cause; over-population.

    February 5, 2009 at 5:20 pm |
  72. Carlos

    In 1985 there were 13 billionaires in the US. Today there are more than a thousand. Their entire fortune is worth around $27 trillion.49,000 americans own at least $50 million. I wonder what their answer would be. There is no depression, only the rich getting richer.

    February 5, 2009 at 5:21 pm |
  73. helen vedner

    we are not yet in a world depression but its getting there if we do not do anything.being a us citizen here for 20 years born in great britain.i still use the saying used growing up in the uk."when the usa sneezes the world catches a cold"
    more true today than ever before.its no good going back and blaming anyone though george bush should have alot to answer for this!
    head up his you no where no clue with the real world around him.
    on the other hand this has been coming for years the uk as guilty as the usa selling our soul to the devil thinking made in china meant nothing except cheaper prices!john q public never saw it coming.we have to act quickly be asseritive if anyone can help get us out of this its barak obama but he cannot do it alone.it stime for people to do there part. helen il

    February 5, 2009 at 5:21 pm |
  74. Steve Brant

    We are in a global depression, but it's not the result of a business "cycle" like what we've had before. It's the result of a business "break" that's actually a "reality break", caused by the culmination of developmental forces set in motion when the cold war ended.

    We now live in an interdependent world that faces challenges that can only be solved by all nations working together. Our interdependence is both cultural and economic. Yet our economic system was designed at a time when the world consisted on **independent** nations, not **interdependent** ones. And it was designed when the problems we faced (at least were conscious of) we within individuals national boundaries.

    This mismatch – between a world that is interdependent and moving towards sustainability as its resource use philosophy and an economic system based on independence and a "never ending growth and consumption" resource use philosophy – is what has driven the world into the ditch.

    You cannot have this kind of reality / economic system mismatch and survive. It's like driving a car when you're no longer on land but, instead, suddenly driving on the water. You start to sink really fast, because what you need is a boat not a car.

    This depression will end when the world's leaders recognize the challenge we face is a ** Design Mismatch Challenge **. When we redesign our economic system around collaboration and sustainability principles, we will have a global economic system that – finally – works for everyone... one that supports us in achieving the global prosperity we all say we want.

    February 5, 2009 at 5:21 pm |
  75. Sadanand Pathre

    If these senators who think they know better and take time to perfect the package, we will certainly slip into depression. Some senators want to take time out to decide on the packege, I say to them, "do not wait, you take time out and time will take you out for good" Time is timeless, but your existance is not.

    February 5, 2009 at 5:22 pm |
  76. allen cohen

    Jack, Gordon Brown was on point when he slipped up by saying the world was in a depression. What is going on is world wide. The British Parliment is playing politics. They need to find there own solution before it's to late.

    February 5, 2009 at 5:22 pm |
  77. Roger Beck

    The worldwide economy has become so interconnected that a worldwide depression is very likely if this country does not act very soon. It used to be said that when the United States sneezed, Europe got a cold; now China, Japan and even Russia are all showing signs of imminent collapse. Meanwhile, our Congress dilly-dallys over partisan issues. This is so disgusting!

    February 5, 2009 at 5:22 pm |
  78. Jay Morris

    To answer, you've got to define "depression" versus recession versus general economic downturn. If you're talking about 1929, then no. Our government and others let the world wide banking system fail, i.e. no FDIC. Whatever little people had they lost even if not the stock market. So far, we've take some pretty dramatic steps to keep that from happening.

    February 5, 2009 at 5:22 pm |
  79. Chris - Savannah GA

    Most Americans these days don't know what a real depression and poverty is. Fear-mongering has caused many americans to tighten their belt, based on fear! I know many americans are out of work and suffering, but this is nothing compared to what people experienced in the 30's.

    February 5, 2009 at 5:24 pm |
  80. MSchott

    Yes, Jack, the world economy probaly is in a depression.

    Our federal government finally admitted to us, recently, that we have been in a recession for 2 years. All of us in the trenches had known it for months.

    18 months from now they will surprise us with the fact that we had been in a depression for 2 years. Again, we all knew it.

    P.M, Gordon Brown sounds to me like the only politician being honest which may be why he is getting a beat- down.

    We aren't going to be alarmed or shocked by the truth. We need to hear and to face up to it so that we can form an effective plan to change things.

    February 5, 2009 at 5:24 pm |
  81. Ralph Spyer

    The truth is brought by a lame messenger

    February 5, 2009 at 5:24 pm |
  82. Vivian


    Yes, the entire world is an a state of recession. The U.S. is not the only country that is in the process of finding a solution to economic problems. The stimulus package may never be perfect because you can't satisfy everyone but I believe we all know that we'd (Congress) better do something real soon. The finger pointing is making us all sick.

    Cedar Hill, Texas

    February 5, 2009 at 5:24 pm |
  83. james sloan

    Dear Jack, as a resident of Thailand, and afrequient traveler, I can say the world is definitely in a depression. In Thailand there are jobs that pay about 400 dollars a month that have laid off because of no contracts with none in sight. People that I know personally are now living totally off the land that had jobs. This is in more than one country, and Islands like Guam, Saipan, And the Phillipines. JIm Sloan Bangkok

    February 5, 2009 at 5:26 pm |
  84. Patrick B


    Lull, Downturn, Recession, Deep Recession, Depression. They've avoided using each of these terms before having to embrace the truth.
    No matter, we need help and we need help now. Even the smaller contested parts of the Stim plan will save jobs. McCain is complaining about $180k cameras to watch lobsters, yeah, so. I'm sure the maker of the camera, the installer of the camera, the maker of the boat to get it there, the researcher that will monitor it, etc, etc will appreciate the work.
    It's so frustrating, we're not stupid, we know what they're doing. Stop playing politics and please do something!

    Send HELP!

    February 5, 2009 at 5:26 pm |
  85. Dr. Gorton I

    The world is in a depression, not a recession as many think.

    Those who believe we are in a recession are looking through rose colored glasses. They are afraid of the D word

    February 5, 2009 at 5:26 pm |
  86. Ann in Nebraska

    The economy needs a swift learned kick in the britches and then probably some more attention after expert thought and study of the results of these kicks. Instead, the Small Minds of the Congress are "playing their fiddles while Rome burns". God Bless America...


    February 5, 2009 at 5:27 pm |
  87. Burt, Denver CO

    The economy is all about confidence, and buyers all over the world have none. What have our "leaders" done to instill any? Perhaps we are in a depression, but it's nothing compared to where it's going. It's getting to the point where we'd be better off investing in Zimbabwe. Nowhere to go but up.

    February 5, 2009 at 5:27 pm |
  88. Sophie Turgeon from Saint John, New Brunswick

    The entire wolrd is suffering from an economic crisis, some call it recession. The extent of the problem is so huge, we need to call it by what it really is: a depression.
    Some countries are struggling more than others, but all suffer. The entire world is so dependant on the US that because of this one idiot you called a president (Bush) for the past eight years, we are in a downwhirl path to one of the worst economic situation the world has seen. PM Brown is right: it will take more than one country having a bail out to get us out of this! The problem is universal, the solution needs to be universal!

    February 5, 2009 at 5:27 pm |
  89. Rich

    While the world economy may not be at a Depression level at this time, we are headed that way, and to us working folks it is obvious that we are experiencing what I call "The Great Repression". The Federal Government, banks, large corporations, and many in the media have REPRESSED the truth about what the economic situation actually is, and where things are going. They are attempting to repress what the banks are doing, or not doing. They have repressed their own ethics and morals in many cases, as regards to lobbyist influence, senior staff pay, perks, benefits, where the bailout money has been spent (or hoarded instead of making loans, as in the case of many national banks) and reporting what they are doing with all the trillions of taxpayer dollars. It is time for a second American Revolution to shut down poorly-managed banks and other corporations, restructure the banking system, and finally to do something about the housing problems. No loans, no home purchases.

    February 5, 2009 at 5:27 pm |
  90. Jason

    A worldwide depression, Jack? I do not think so. What we are seeing now is a worldwide consequence of years of a leading world nation that has been fueled on financial greed and capitalist ideals. Ultimately, the so called “American dream” has become the downfall of our society that prides itself in a culture that eats itself from the inside. Hopefully, the world will not follow in our footsteps.

    Vermillion, SD

    February 5, 2009 at 5:27 pm |
  91. Diane Dagenais Turbide

    Dear Jack,

    I think what we are going through is not just a recession or a depression. It seems to me that we are going through a beginning of a revolution because of the huge gaps that existed between people, huge gaps that are taken place now between people with work versus high unemployment, people with the means that are not spending and people having lost which now have very low patience for pity talks. What we are going through feels different to me. It seems like the global differences between rich and poor countries is now being felt inside our own respective country at different level.

    February 5, 2009 at 5:28 pm |
  92. Al

    YES, we are in a modern day depression! Although it may not be as bad as it was back in the 30's and 40's, we are still in a depression. And I am depressed!! I own a small real-estate firm that at one point had 2 dozen agents. I earned $206,000 in 2006. I am embarrased to say what I made last year!

    All of my agents left to find "regular jobs" when the housing market came to a screeching halt. My office was evicted, my Jaguar "R" Type got repo'd and I am holding on by the skin of my teeth to keep my house!

    So to answer your question, YES, I am very depressed! Tell Obama to hurry up and pass that foreclosure moratorium so I can regroup and get my finances in order! Its hard to get on your feet when every time you turn around, you have to pay out a chunk of money that you saved to feed the wife and kids!

    Atlanta, GA

    February 5, 2009 at 5:30 pm |
  93. Matthew Robinson, Asheville, NC

    The world economy is suffering because of practices such as feeding disproportionate amounts of food to cattle in order to harvest considerably less amounts of meat. This causes starvation and poverty, and gives the people affected no chance to make a positive impact on the economy. I refuse to believe over-population is a problem, when vast wastes of real estate, resources, and food are as expected in certain parts of the world as poverty is in others.

    February 5, 2009 at 5:30 pm |
  94. Ed

    The world economy is in trouble, the richest 1% have created a vaccume with legislation promotions through lobbiest. Now they as a voccume are filling up as we empty! One mans profit is another mans loss, The history of the richest 1%'s consistant increase has come to a boil. Ed, Mass

    February 5, 2009 at 5:31 pm |
  95. Lloyd 'Tyke' Riddick

    Yes,perhaps if it gets bad enough governments will get so desperate instead of manufacturing weapons they will turn them into plowshares.

    February 5, 2009 at 5:32 pm |
  96. Frost

    yes, and we are all in this .. time to band together with all who wants to come out of this. We have things they need, they have things we need. This is one time we can not afford to even try to stand on our own, nor can they. Put politics and religion aside and get busy making everyone better off. Or we all die.

    February 5, 2009 at 5:33 pm |
  97. Mona Minneapolis

    It will only be considered a depression when if affects the rich. THEN, we'll be in a depression.

    February 5, 2009 at 5:33 pm |
  98. Jason - Medina, Ohio

    Depression or Recession, it doesn't matter what you really call it. The truth of the matter is that our world is in a big hurt right now and we have not heard any real good ideas on to how to fix the problem. I'm sorry to say we are not going to be able to buy our way out of this mess. We can prop up our broken banks as much as we would like, but if at the end of the day no one wants to borrow any money, what do you do? The last 8 years we let pandora out of it's box. Good luck putting it back in!!

    February 5, 2009 at 5:33 pm |
  99. N.S , Huntsville Al

    Jack; of course we are in a depression. They all know but they want to lie and say were in a recession. Whats the difference? WERE BROKE

    February 5, 2009 at 5:36 pm |
  100. david in raleigh, nc

    I wish these politicians would stop saying how bad the economy is. The recession is 90% mental with people being afraid to spend.

    February 5, 2009 at 5:41 pm |
  101. Ramona Las Vegas, Nv

    I don't know about other countries but , I do know about England, I lived ther for 5yrs. They were doing the same things as Americans, over-spending and buy houses they could not afford. GREED IS A TERRIBLE THING. Americans lets help our President to continue to fight for us and get things done with the Dems and the Reps and STOP fighting like little KIDS.

    February 5, 2009 at 5:43 pm |
  102. Tulsa

    Per Wickipedia:
    A Depression is considered a rare but extreme form of recession, a depression is characterized by abnormal increases in uemployment, restriction of credit, shrinking output and investment, numerous bankruptcies, reduced amounts of trade and commerce, as well as highly volatile relative currency value fluctuations, mostly devaluations. Price deflation or hyperinflation are also common elements of a depression.
    And from memory lane: The Great Depression began during the Wall Street Crash of 1929, and the crisis quickly spread to most national economies. High deflation caused a further deepening of the depression. A long-term effect of the Great Depression has been the departure of every major currency from the Gold Standard.

    Comments based on the above:
    1) Looks like we have ALL the symptoms again except possibly for price deflation – companies are holding their line *(e.g. car prices) – a good strategy or head in sand approach? And if the latter – is this simply another lesson we are about to learn?
    2) Curious about the Gold Standard we seem to have returned to – a lesson not learned?
    3) Based on the Great Depression, we cannot make statements like "Great Brittain's economy is going to be hardest hit" etc. etc. – As Pogo would say, "I recognizes the victim; and it is us!!"

    February 5, 2009 at 5:46 pm |
  103. ronnie

    No, the world is not in a depression, the leaders of the world have been caught with their finger in the cookie jar, they have sucked all the wealth out of the jar, they just need to put it back in, get control of their selfs, quit being greedy and let the people get back to work, after all working people are what made them leaders in the frist place, CEO's,Big Oil, Big Insurance Company's, Big Health, Big Drugs, Big Automobiles, Big Wars, Little Wars, Big Goverment, Big Homes, Wall Street, you get the idea.

    February 5, 2009 at 5:48 pm |
  104. Vikram Patel

    The definition of depression changes with time. The symptoms of 1930's depression (which was mainly restricted to U.S.) are not applicable in the global economy of the 21st century. If unemployment and demand for products decline in one country, it is recession. If the same happens world over, it is global depression.

    February 5, 2009 at 5:51 pm |
  105. Terry Baker

    ... don't think so. it's not like there's no money to spend. Clearly even if money's not flowing throuhout different economies, there's still plenty of money being sat on. Flights are still overbooked, parties are still being attended, venture capitalistm and philanthropy are still thriving.

    February 5, 2009 at 5:54 pm |
  106. Maxwell Edison

    All this talk about global economies and if banks of the world lend or don't lend money. I could care less, My biggest worry is how i'll get to the food bank to feed my grandson.

    February 5, 2009 at 6:00 pm |
  107. Leo in Oakland

    By the time people started talking about a recession we were already deep into one so now that people are starting to talk about depression, we are already deep into one....

    February 5, 2009 at 6:00 pm |
  108. emmanuel

    Denmark is already in depressioon,britain would follow and US to round up,how about that Jack

    February 5, 2009 at 6:01 pm |