In many countries, angry critics blamed the US for exporting a form of "financial Aids" worldwide.
Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, the Brazilian president, blamed "white men with blue eyes on Wall Street".
"I believe there is a systemic debt problem and it will take years to work out - and the Federal Reserve cannot resolve the issues," said Richard Bove, a bank analyst at Punk Ziege.
Michael Bloomberg, the mayor of New York City and a financial guru, also said the causes went deeper.
He believed the global credit crunch had as much to do with public debt as the US sub-prime meltdown. The billionaire media and business mogul talked about the "lunacy" of debt levels in the US and the UK at the Conservative Party conference in Britain.
"This is not a mortgage crisis," Bloomberg insisted, "It's a crisis in confidence and we're all in it together."
Washington responded with interest rate cuts and the injection of billions into banks, along with similar stimulus efforts by central banks in other countries.