Here's a what if post that hopefully gets you thinking. Please feel free to rip it to shreds.
It's VERY likely that over the next decade we are going to see the dollar fall to less than half of its current value (half is an optimistic assumption) as compared to global currencies. The combination of high and rapidly growing US debt loads (nothing is being done to reverse this trend), the erosion of US 'safe haven status due to crony capitalism, and an accelerating movement among exporting nations to replace the dollar as the reserve currency (with a basket of currencies/gold) have turned this trend into an onrushing freight train. This depreciation and the loss of reserve currency status will have the following effects:
- It will make US government debt very expensive. Funding for foreign wars, big domestic programs, and economic stimulus efforts will dry up (we are already seeing the fear of this driving decisions on Afghanistan and health care 'reform').
- Costs for the middle class will skyrocket. The ongoing depopulation/depletion of the middle class participating in the global economy will accelerate.
- Locally produced goods/services will become VERY competitive with globally/nationally sourced goods. Why? Energy costs will zoom.
The beneficial upshot of this dollar crump won't be much growth in US exports (there's nobody to sell to). What it will be is a trigger for the rapid formation of resilient communities nation-wide as we decentralize to become competitive/survive. In short, communities that physically produce food, energy, services, security, and products at the local level and share info/insight/R&D virtually on a global level will enjoy prosperity. The penalty for those communities that don't prepare for this shift are extreme -- favelaization and black globalization/global guerrillas await.