Paul Krugman has described the first decade of the new millennium as being characterized by four zeros for the US economy - stagnant income for the typical family; zero job creation (even as population increased by 35 m), with private sector employment declining; zero gains for homeowners; and zero gains in the stock markets. Further, the value of assets per person, minus debts, adjusted for inflation fell from $200,076 by end-1999 to $173,684 by third quarter of 2009.
Job growth was essentially zero, as modest job creation from 2003 to 2007 wasn't enough to make up for two recessions in the decade. There has been zero net job creation since December 1999.
Unlike the US and other developed economies, equity markets in the emerging economies have, despite the events of the last two years, made substantial gains.
Further, even as the world grappled with terrorism and financial market turmoil, thanks to economic liberalization and globalization, penetration of IT in the emerging economies was turbo-charged.
See also this caricature of America's decade.
For cricket enthusiasts, the most gratifying development was the rise and rise of India's test match record graph (HT: Are you a left-arm Chinaman?)!
Though the BSE Sensex has been on steep upward curve, one only needs to remember that the rise this year has almost mirrored the equally spectacular collapse last year before drawing premature conclusions.
See this excellent interactive timeline financial history of the decade. And this of the build up to the sub-prime crisis here.
Update 2 (3/3/2010)
The most striking representation of the lost decade for the US comes from the Economist