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A world of trouble

An economic crisis spreads from the U.S. to all corners.

A migrant worker carries his belongings at a railway station in Nanjing, Jiangsu province Nov. 6, 2008. He is returning home after failing to find a job in Nanjing. The global economic slowdown is taking a toll on China and threatens to swell its ranks of the unemployed, undoing impressive income gains made in recent years. Hit especially hard are the rural migrants who have long streamed into cities to build office towers, clean streets and staff factories. (Sean Yong/Reuters)

BOSTON — The worst economic crisis since the Great Depression. A global financial system on the brink of disaster. A housing collapse. A credit crunch. Systemic risks, credit default swaps, collateralized debt obligations. A world on the edge.

The last few months have produced plenty of jargon, and even more hyperbole. That's because at times like these, ordinary words fail.

Just 15 days into 2009, the rapidly sinking global economy may end up being the biggest story of the year. It's already reaching from the towers of Manhattan to the slums of Mumbai.

GlobalPost correspondents have been following the story from all corners of the world, and the troubling signs are almost everywhere.

There's worry in China, where exports are falling at the fastest rate in a decade and factories are closing by the thousands. As Kathleen E. McLaughlin reports, U.S. businesses are not helping matters.

India, the world's other emerging economic giant, isn't immune to the crisis, either. That's especially true in its once-booming real estate market. Mark Scheffler shows how one celebrated development in Delhi has turned into a millionaire ghost town.

Poland was once thought immune to the global slowdown. No more, as Jan Cienski reports from Warsaw.

Farther east on Lev Tolstoy road in Bishkek, Kyrgzstan, David Stern has met migrant workers who are suddenly out of work, and in the cold.

There's trouble, too, in South Africa where tourism makes up 8 percent of that's country's economy. As Nicolas Bruillard reports, the tourists are now staying away.

This crisis is also showing up in other other places and in unexpected ways, like the gold markets of Yaowarat Street in Bangkok. It's also decimating global brands like Waterford Wedgwood crystal, and doing what might have once seemed impossible: silencing TV talking heads in Ireland.

Yes, words fail.

(For continous coverage of what's happening with the global economy, follow my Reporter's Notebook).

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/commerce/090114/world-trouble