After nearly five fat years, the global economy is headed for trouble. This will come as a surprise to policy makers and investors, alike-most of who were counting on boom times to continue.
At work is yet another post-bubble adjustment in the world's largest economy - this time, the bursting of America's massive property bubble. The subprime fiasco is the tip of a much larger iceberg - an asset-dependent American consumer who has gone on the biggest spending binge in the modern history of the global economy. Seven years ago, the bursting of the dot-com bubble triggered a collapse in business capital spending that took the US and global economy into a mild recession. This time, post-bubble adjustments seem likely to hit US consumption, which at 72% of GDP, is more than five times the share the capital spending sector was seven years ago. This is a much bigger problem - one that could have grave consequences for the US and the rest of the world. -Stephen S. Roach Chairman of Morgan Stanley Asia