The passengers on the Titanic thought they were on the maiden voyage of an exciting new ship. It was not until years later that it became clear they had been aboard a symbol of impending disaster.
That is true of most historical events: you don't realise you are in one until it is over. For most of the past three years, bankers and investors thought they were going through a correction to the dotcom bubble. In February, many will have concluded it is instead the Great Bear Market of 2000-03, or