US financial system headed to intensive care: Volcker

SINGAPORE, October 14, 2008 (AFP) – The US financial system is already in the emergency ward and will move into intensive care, Paul Volcker, former chairman of the US Federal Reserve, said in Singapore on Tuesday. “I’m afraid it’s going to be there for a considerable period of time before it returns to normal,” he said in a lecture here, painting a gloomy picture of current economic woes.

The crisis that began in the United States has become a global problem which needs a global solution, he said.

Volcker said the United States appeared to be in recession, and he feared Europe was in the same situation but he hopes a series of bailout measures announced by governments around the world will ensure any recession is manageable and short-lived.

The former chairman called bailouts and guarantees “distasteful” because they are inconsistent with capitalism but said they were crucial in the current climate.

“However distasteful, I’m afraid that they are necessary, necessary in this emergency to restore some sense of stability in financial markets,” Volcker told an audience of academics at the event hosted by the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy.

European governments this week unveiled rescue p