This piece on London (also applicable to New York), banking and the current credit crunch contains the best description of the current economic situation I've read so far. The author is conversing with a banker friend of his, who just purchased a £1.4 million house in Ibiza:
"‘So we’ll have to stop running around spending money like drunken sailors,’ I said.
‘Well, drunk sailors tend to be spending their own money,’ Tony said. ‘By contemporary standards they’re quite prudent.’"