We had hoped that this new decade would be full of flying cars and an internet that you move with your mind, like you see in sci-fi novels, or maybe even an oppressive government to rebel against, like you see in dystopian fantasy like 1984 and The Bush Administration. Instead we're left with a world economy that isn't working right and isn't going to be working right for some time, due largely to the actions of essentially small US groups, such as slow-witted homebuyers in the flyover states, greedy bankers, and regulators and monitors set on ignoring the problem.
Thomas Friedman summarized the problem pretty well when he said:
When these reckless mortgages eventually blew up, it led to a credit crisis. Banks stopped lending. That soon morphed into an equity crisis, as worried investors liquidated stock portfolios. The equity crisis made people feel poor and metastasized into a consumption crisis, which is why purchases of cars, appliances, electronics, homes and clothing have just fallen off a cliff. This, in turn, has sparked more company defaults, exacerbated the credit crisis and metastasized into an unemployment crisis, as companies rush to shed workers.
And when people stopped buying and producing, there was no longer a need to ship goods around the world. The Ghost Fleet is a whole fleet of cargo ships that no longer have any cargo to ship. They're all floating in a big whole-ship version of the trash vortex just outside of Singapore, crewed by one or two bored ship-sitters, waiting for better times or pirates.
There's a big 'ol article HERE.
UPDATE: It's in the North Sea now too.
UPDATE: Also the Fal estuary.
Here are some pictures: