It looks as though the bear market has begun, though of course, events are liable to make fools of all of us. A recent peak was in October last year and if we take a recession as lasting typically 30 months, we should be grounding by around April 2010.
I've done my best to add my voice to the growing chorus of somethingmustbedonners, and tried to warn investors as I did in the late Nineties - not that I'm wise, but I seek out the wise. This won't put off the day traders, who rush in where angels fear to tread and will try to make fortunes on the rattlesnake-fast turns of bear market rallies; some will get it right, and fair play to you, as they say.
For the rest of us, I don't think I can better the common sense, brevity and clarity of this in the comments section from Jim in San Marcos, answering an investor's query as to what to do:
The basic premise is to pay off your debts and have some spare cash in the bank. There will be layoffs.
Buying a big item right now could tie you to a commitment that could be more than you anticipated. I know of one person already that was surprised by a layoff. They didn't see it coming.
If it gets worse, a lot of people will be selling big ticket items to raise cash. There should be some pretty good deals out there.
Money isn't everything, and there are bigger issues facing us: the growing military as well as economic power of Russia and China; our failure to nurture and educate our young, which points up the selfishness of our adults; the threat to democracy that is big government combined with big business, and the growing divide between an increasingly internationalist managerial class and a resentful, paralysed underclass whose numbers grow while our economies shrink and twist. And perhaps it is not entirely paranoid to suggest that there are many (often well-meaning, by their lights) proto-revolutionaries hacking away at the cultural and social ties that bind us, still dreaming that Bakunin was right when he said that the urge to destroy is also the urge to create.
I now have to take some time out to set my own affairs in order - too many commitments, personal and professional. Good luck to you all, and thanks for reading and commenting.