People laboring under the mistaken assumption that this is the worst of it now are living in a dreamworld.
The entire planet has been Bernie Madoff'ed. The operating capital of most of the world's private enterprise is tied up in derivatives.
Just as shortfalls caused American investors to draw on the "fund" Madoff was "managing" for them, revealing the magnitude of his scam, the shortfalls now in national budgets are causing the very wealthy to draw on "derivatives" to get some real cash in hand instead of words on a piece of paper. Worldwide, investors are inquiring if they can "cash in" some "derivatives" profits.
There is nothing there to cash in.
Whereas Madoff's ripoff was measured in billions of dollars, the "derivatives market" consists of quadrillions of dollars which exist on paper but otherwise exist nowhere else.
Imagine what is going to happen during the next six months when accounts are called on these funds. It is going to be apocalyptic, nothing less.