My flippant comment on the financial crisis is that it has reinforced for me the different uses of the word 'quite' in American English and British English. Let me explain.
My dictionary provides two meanings of 'quite' that are essentially mutually incompatible. A first meaning is 'completely, fully, entirely'. This is the almost universal American usage and it is in this sense that people have been describing the financial crisis as 'quite worrying'. 'Quite worrying' is interchangeable with 'very worrying'.
But in British usage, 'quite', when used as an adverb or adjective, adopts a second, different meaning: 'somewhat, moderately, fairly'. 'Quite worrying' is less worrying than 'worrying', which is less worrying than 'very worrying'. So natural British responses to the statement that the financial crisis is 'quite worrying' are that the spokesman (a) is badly underestimating how bad the situation is or (b) has a dry sense of humour or (c) is deliberately using the power of understatement.
This paper asks why the markets reacted so strongly to Greenspan's comments about 'irrational exuberance' in 1996 but didn't move when Bernanke said in testimony to Congress in 2006 that he was 'quite concerned about the intermediate to long-term federal budget outlook'. The answer may be global misunderstanding of what 'quite' meant. My experience is that when you work in an environment with both British and American employees, it's best to steer clear of the phrase 'quite good' altogether.