The impact of the financial crisis that started with defa ults in the subprime mortgage market in the United States, leading to the bankruptcy of the U.S. investment bank Lehman Brothers, has now spread to encompass the whole world.
The present crisis inevitably provokes associations with the nightmare of the 1930s, when a severe economic depression created the conditions for the global conflagration of World War II. The situation remains fluid and unpredictable, and there are growing signs that the financial crisis is undermining the real economy, bringing about a global recession and driving up unemployment.
The main cause of the crisis can be traced to the rampant do minance of speculative financial assets, whose scale is said to be four times the cumulative value of actual goods and services. The origin of the crisis is found in the fact that the financial markets, whose true function should be to support and lubricate other economic activities, have thrust themselves to center stage, with market players becoming the "stars" single-mindedly pursuing earnings and profit, often with no thought for the impact on others.
(Excerpt taken from Peace Proposal 2009 by Daisaku Ikeda)