Here's a quick theory brief that may be useful.
Historically, economic recessions that last longer than a year have durations/severities that can be plotted as power law distributions (Ormerod and Mounfield).* Given that we are already over a year into this recession, it implies that we are really into black swan territory (unknown and extreme outcomes) in regards to our global economy's current downturn and that no estimates of recovery times or ultimate severity based on historical data of past recessions apply anymore. This also means that the system has exceeded its ability to adapt using standard methods (that shouldn't be news to anyone).
It may be even more interesting than that. The apparent non-linearity and turbulence of the current situation suggests we may be at a phase transition (akin to the shift in the natural world from ice to water). Basic changes to the rules of the systems operation -- for example, a much higher ratio of non-linear vs. linear feedback, put in place to improve the system's performance -- may have altered the global system's underlying mode of operation. This means that the requirements of this new system may have obsolesced much of the current control system (collectively: governments, treaties, regulations, laws, models, behaviors, etc.), although which parts is not clear.
As a result, a new control regime may emerge. To get a glimpse of what is in store for us, we need to look at the sources of emerging order (newly configured dissipative and self-organizing systems/networks/orgs that are better adapted to the new non-linear dynamics of the global system).
The last time something that closely approximated this happened was during the last great 20th Century depression. In that situation the sources of emerging organizational order were reconfigured nation-states that took a more active role in economics (total war economies during peacetime). In this situation, we are seeing emerging order at the local level: small resilient networks/communities reconfigured to handle this level of systemic environmental non-linearity and survive/thrive (see the brief: Transition Towns). Further, it appears that these emerging communities and networks are well suited to drawing on a great behavioral shift occurring at the individual level, already evident in all economic statistics, that emphasis thrift/investment rather than consumption/gambling (the middle class consumer is becoming extinct).
So what does this mean? These new communities will eventually start to link up, either physically or virtually (see the diagram for the Transition Towns network), into network clusters. IF the number of links in the largest cluster reaches some critical proportion of the entire system's nodes (Kauffman has indicated that this proportion is 50% for simple networks), there will be a phase transition as entire system shifts to the new mode of operation. In other words, resilient communities might become the new configuration of the global economic system.
*NOTE: I would argue that basic changes to dynamics of the system, such as tight coupling via instantaneous media and supply chains as well the relative shrinkage of control mechanisms vs. the size/complexity of the system, likely shorten that time horizon dramatically as compared to historical experience. As in recessions in the current environment can be well less <<1 than a year till we enter black swan territory.