Markets across the world have fallen dramatically as government bailouts and interventions fail to quiet consumer and investor fears.
|Around the world, investors and average consumers wonder whether their economies are facing a recession - or worse [GALLO/GETTY]
Judging by market performance in the US, Europe, Asia and the Middle East, there is a growing lack of confidence that the $700bn bailout passed in the US on Friday will prove to be sufficient.
At the same time, European leaders are under pressure to assist troubled financial institutions in what some analysts have called the worst day in market history.
As the global financial downturn now enters its third week, Al Jazeera readers have been commenting on who is to blame, what governments should do, and how the financial crisis can be resolved.
To blame Wall Street for the credit problems facing the world today is to point your finger in the wrong direction. The blame is solely on the mortgage lender that approved the loan and the borrower that accepted it.
If you are not paying your mortgage, then you are partly to blame.
It is too easy to blame Wall Street for the troubles we are facing as the US government has been doing. The only reason the government blames Wall Street is because it cannot blame the voters that keep them elected. Period.
Noelene, Fiji - via email
I just want to know what will happen to these executives. So they have to sit in front of a hearing.
Great. But what will happen to them next?
What about accountability and restitution?
What can be done specifically and legally to get that money repaid into the coffers of the US taxpayers?
I think that is what is done with druglords: Their assets are taken away. So I would like to see this happen in the case of corporate drug lords.
But the only difference here is that the drug the executives were selling was 'sub-prime'.
Macclancy, Kildare, Ireland - via Your Views
The banking crisis is not a crisis, it is a collapse in the making. So why waste our resources trying to stave off the inevitable?
It is time for new thinking, and new ideas. Now, now more than ever, we need leaders who will take their nations' fiscal policies from the greedy bankers, as this greed has been ineffective in governance.
There have been too many deviants meddling in matters of nation states, to the detriment of the peoples of those states.
We now need people who will speak on behalf of those who seem to have no voice. We now need people to speak on behalf of the defenceless women and children of this un-just society.
What we do not need are pop stars, political or otherwise, in pursuit of their own vanity and greedy wealth.
Enough of pious speech, do or say something useful or constructive. Man in his glory is no longer an island, and neither is his country.
Jessica, US - via Your Views
We as Americans are being asked to put our trust back into a government that has failed us from the start.
Why should we so readily accept a plan in which we are the last ones thought about?
This is a rescue plan for Wall Street, but what about us?
What about the homeowners at risk, and the students who need educational loans? If this plan goes into affect, we need a voice and we need to be sure that this affects the economy in a positive way, or else we have been deceived again.
Zeyd, South Africa - via email
The real question is if the financial crisis was as bad as the 1930's depression would they tell us or would they pretend that all was okay in order to gain market confidence?
We really do not know how big the crisis is and all matters are not displayed openly to allow us to asess the issue.
In addition, we generally cannot trust these people, they start wars based on lies, they steal lands based on lies.
Of course the Bush administration knew and lied about the state of the economy.
They have lied about everything since the Supreme Court over-ruled the American people and coronated him in 2000.
The media probably also knew about the economy but were not allowed to report it by their corporate owners.
Charles Murton, Durban, South Africa - via Your Views
Watching yet another threat of global meltdown is similar to a game of Monopoly except you cannot just close this game and start another tomorrow.
Political manipulation by those unqualified and inexperienced started in 1946 and notwithstanding a number of close interim encounters has somehow managed to get steadily worse, the plight of financial institutions and banks allowed to impoverish the taxpayer and deplete their pensions for the sake of enormous enrichment in the form of unrealistic salaries, commissions and fees rewarding themselves with massive bonuses and stock options whilst governments fail to control or regulate their country's diminishing credibility is plain for all to see.
Dismantle these toxic banks and institutions entirely, prosecute the offenders and recover their illegal gains, regulate those stable banks but do not stifle the recovery process, let individual markets and territories settle to their own market forces.
Allow a free market to develop and stabilise on a sound financial platform. Re-introduce the Gold Standard giving our useless paper money some substance and intrinsic value.
Make banks worthy institutions again, create some market credibility and take a positive direction to avoid the virus spread of immunity leading to yet another global catastrophe in the future. No amount of innovative accounting can resolve this turmoil, you cannot buy yourself out of debt with money you have not got and/or cannot repay.
Each nation must work separately and resolve its own financial crisis - globalisation does not work.
Encourage the public to save by guaranteeing 100 per cent against loss, abolish taxation on the interest earned on their savings and reward them by granting tax abatements against certificates of savings issued by the banks and institutions holding such deposits.
Let the public determine how to rebuild their economies.
Sohail Gill, Pakistan - via email
Speculative business - like stocks and commodities - basically depends upon the credibility and strength of the market situation. This is similar to a gambler who would never risk money on a racing horse without first checking the age, power and even the breed of the animal.
Regaining confidence is the key now and what the stake-holders are keeping their eyes on.
It will take some time to improve because chaotic instability will push investors to liquidate their holding positions to cut continuing losses.
Phil DuChard, New Zealand - via email
A piece of graffiti I saw in 1985 said: "Prices rise and profits hop - pay stays low so buying stops. Goods won't sell so workers sacked - don't look now depression is back."
Unite to protect wages and conditions.
These bailouts will take some time to fix anything. The markets are volatile right now, but they will be expanding again. It appears all bad, but maybe it is not. Oil at $90 a barrel? Cheap stocks? Sounds good to me.
I guess the Arabs have it right. They don't live on credit like everyone else. Looks like they will be the only ones left standing. The stock markets are nothing short of legalised gambling, with companies fiddling with numbers for the gain of a few.