Although outsourcing and Wall street take up a majority of discussions regarding the economy, the third shoe to drop will be the effect the internet is having on trade. I recently closed a business due to the inability to turn a profit. Selling is not the problem...selling at a healthy margin is. One of the main reasons is the over competitive nature of 'race to the bottom' the internet is fostering. The majority of middle men are simply being priced out of position. No longer is the competition the guy down the street...the competition could be a warehouse on the other side of the country...with a completely different operational environment. Think about how many local bookstores exist? Very few..one main reason is the inability to battle with firms like Amazon who are willing to take 'loss leaders' to levels smaller firms can't compete with.
This is creating a environment where the end customer is getting the lowest possible price..but the societal cost is the utter destruction of local retail commerce. The micro processor and the internet have created efficiency so dramatic, 90% of the population is simply necessary.
I think the internet commerce is more dangerous the Wal-Mart simply for the fact that you don't even need to drive there..Simply order and ship. This is very convenient however the over efficient nature is simply leaving to many people without jobs...
I am seeing more small firms (ie- several people) basically becoming brokers, where they take a online order then have the manufacturing done overseas, then ship direct to the customer. Several firms with high search rankings can basically dominate a industry overnight.
In my opinion this is creating a internal trade imbalance that that will make Wall St. look small by comparison.