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I've lost track of the number of people who have asked me about the threat of a "double-dip" recession, and to be honest the phrase has started to lose all meaning! It is like "credit crunch" … everyone just kept saying it until it became part of the vernacular.

However as I look at the numbers, I can't help feeling I'll be hearing the phrase a lot more.

This is not a drill, people … the double-dip recession is a very real threat.

The economies of the US, China, and Japan – undoubtedly the world's powerhouses – all contracted in the second quarter of this year.  If they do it again in the third, then we are into recession territory.  Again. 

Which means we are into austerity vs stimulus territory. Again.

Which means we are into job loss and business slowdown territory. Again.

Stop me if you've heard this one.

Sorry to be all "doom and gloom" but it's hard to believe after the worst recession since the Great Depression that we are still not out of the woods yet.

It raises the point, of course, as to whether we ever actually got out of the woods … or if the scraps of positive economic data over the first half of this year combined to give us a false sense of security.

Either way, these are testing times. Again.

Full analysis of all this on Counting the Cost this week, of course, along with a special look at the world of sports betting. 

As a cricket fan, I was upset (but not entirely shocked) when word of Pakistan's apparent indiscretions surfaced. What it opened our eyes to again was not just the potential greed and dishonesty of players, but the world of those who drive that greed – the underground betting world. 

We'll try to explain all that to you, and why this is about so much more than dropping into your local bookie.

And don't forget to get in touch with your thoughts via twitter!

Counting the Cost can be seen each week at the following times GMT: Friday: 1430, 2030; Saturday: 0430, 1230, 1900; Sunday: 0130, 1630; Monday: 0830; Tuesday: 0600.

Source: Al Jazeera