This is a good article on one of the best hedge fund managers around. He also sums up our current situation nicely in the paragraph below.

(Down several paragraphs, he says)

"Most people, says Dalio, think that a depression is simply a really, really bad recession. But in reality, the two are distinct, naturally occurring events. A recession is a contraction in real GDP brought on by a central bank tightening monetary policy, usually to control inflation, and ends when the central bank eases. But a D-process occurs when an economy has an unsustainably high debt burden and monetary policy ceases to be effective, usually because interest rates are close to zero, and the central bank has no way to stimulate the economy. To compensate, the value of debt must be written down (risking deflation) or the central bank must print money (a trigger of inflation), or some combination of both."

Here's the link:
http://biz.yahoo.com/hftn/090319/031....pf=retirement

Sounds like he's done his homework