Australia has reached levels last seen in 25 years; own own bourse sank by the largest margin in 9 years. It's been called a bloodbath, linked to the USA sneezing. This is an understatement. The US is not sneezing, it has pneumonia. And Old Uncle Sam is not what he used to be.
Writers like Jim Kunstler rightly point out that the subprime crisis doesn't represent a temporary skid in housing construction in America; it represents the end of suburbia as a whole. It is a permanent shift. Suburbia always was the greatest misallocation of resources ever made, an investment with no future. We made the mistake of building homes and cities for ourselves that had to be plugged into an endless nougat shell of oil (under the Earth's crust). But as we're beginning to realise, oil is quite special, and only occurs in special places because of special geological circumstances.
Meanwhile, people will probably not figure this out as systems begin to break down. Instead, people will do what they do best: turn to the God of blame, and vent their anger. Words like 'convenience' and 'growth', 'expansion' are unlikely to be nandied about as they have been.