Recession Greatest Hits
Every recession tells its own story - in the '90s, it all began with a housing bust; in the '70s, it was the rocketing price of oil. In the 1930s you had a global stock market crash and a lot of runs on banks.
This one has shades of all three - you could call it a Recession Greatest Hits. As in the past, the sheer pace of the decline has taken everyone by surprise. In fact, as this chart from Fathom Financial Consulting shows, the decline in the first six months is actually very similar to the average of past recessions.
Now that it's hit, there aren't many predicting a speedy end. Growth in the new year is about as optimistic as it gets. It could be two or three years before the economy gets back to where it was - and the 2012 economy could look rather different from the one we had before.
What will that post-recession economy look like? Chris Giles had a good stab at the answer in this morning's FT.
There'll be a smaller financial system, for sure. And lower house prices. Maybe even a return to selling stuff to the rest of the world.
Martin Weale, the director of the National Institute of Economic and Social Research, said today that he thought the fall in the exchange rate could pave the way for a British manufacturing "renaissance". Well, it could happen.
The 2012 economy should also be more frugal. We and the government will have to be more sensible with our cash. You can expect it to be a safer economy, less prone to excess. Just don't expect it to be quite as fun.