Pope to issue encyclical on economics

As Wall Street continues to plumb new depths in the 21st century – markets today closed at new multi-year lows, lower than at any time since the mid-1990s – and as global trade flows contract sharply, fears are growing worldwide that the entire financial “architecture” of the post-war period, now seemingly fibrillating, could enter a period of “cardiac arrest” – complete financial collapse – and a global depression of uncertain duration ensue. (The chart of the Dow Jones Industrial average below, which represents only one country and one group of stocks in the global economy, is given only as an example of the trend. It shows the last five years of prices. The breakdown, with increasing volume of shares traded – shown in billions of shares traded at the bottom – can be seen from October 2007, when the Dow was over 14,000. However, the seeds of the breakdown were sown many years earlier. The Dow closed today, March 2, 2009 at 6,763.)