The overnight interest rate jumped to 6.44% (the rate banks lend to each other), the Asian markets are tumbling, the Russian stock market dropped 17% in one day (ouch). As one expert put it "we have never gone through this before, there is no precedent for what is happening". Reading Bloomberg.net is like watching a horror film. You don't know what is coming but you know it is going to scare the sh*t out of you.
And the fact that the US is not in a technical recession really does not mean much. Economic statistics have a tendency to be lagging indicators, while the stock market is a leading indicator. Also the stimulus package that took place in the spring gave the economy a short-term boost in the summer which has now disappeared. Unfortunately the US is not in a great position to continue to offer stimulus packages due to their fiscal position.
One thing for sure the next administration will need to look closely at the regulations (or lack of same) to ensure that the sub-prime mess never happens again. Self-regulation does not work, it is a contradiction in terms.
The saving graces for the world economy are ironically China and India, the countries politicians love to bash. They still have healthy growth rates and are still demanding raw materials, machinery, planes, etc.. Also oil is dropping off which is helping to a certain extent.