There were two disasters in the past few days that produced images that both shocked and saddened. In both, a cataclysmic event swept down on people, washing away their homes, destroying their property, changing their lives forever. One was an act of God. The other was of our own creation.
Contrariwise, this morning we awake to find that an equally terrible storm has swept away 25,000 jobs at Lehman Brothers (LEH) and will certainly threaten the lives and homes of 60,000 others at Merrill Lynch (MER). Our feelings are somewhat more mixed here, although certainly not for the people.
"We are facing one of the most difficult times in international financial markets," Australia Treasurer Wayne Swan told Parliament on Tuesday. "We don’t face the same problems being experienced in the United States," he added. "But nevertheless, events on international markets are having an impact on confidence around the world."