When a government has to step in to nationalise one ailing bank, it's big news. When a government steps in to nationalise two ailing banks, it's even bigger news. But when a government tries to splash out $700bn to 'effectively nationalise' a whole array of toxic mortgages and securities, capitalism's cornerstones of weak regulation and a self-equilibrating market start looking a little shaky.
Given this is precisely what the US government had in mind under the failed Troubled Asset Relief Programme (TARP), where do we go from here? Germany's finance minister has already called the end of Anglo-Saxon capitalism and the death of the US's superpower status. Free market principles look as passé as Marxian ideology in the late 1990s.
Can capitalism bounce back? Or have recent events buried it for good? Your comments are welcomed below.