Recently had a chance to listen to a talk from some truly deep and profoundly geeky folks from Mr. desmoinesdem's alma mater on this whole “Market Meltdown” situation.
In a nutshell, a prevailing concern is that Moore's Law may have reached it's exponential limit. Moore's Law, formulated in 1965, states that transistor density in integrated circuitry will double every approximately 18 months or so.
This has essentially held true from the 1950's through about 2006-2007, and now we have some fairly powerful computing devices, and the cybernetics revolution has driven the world economies into the stratosphere as a result.
However, it seems that a limit may have been reached on the density of transistors in any given chip, and now a plateau has been reached, if not an outright apex of a bell curve, in terms of cybernetic development.
With this plateau/apex achieved, economic growth patterns are possibly affected significantly.
Some futurists (Kurzweil, et al) predict that there will be a molecular nano-tech revolution which will propel Moore's Law for decades, perhaps centuries, but this is not a consensus view by any means.
Without a breakthrough soon, things may slow to a crawl, and with economic downturn and rising energy costs, the actual cost of production will increase to the point that no new “improved” Integrated Circuit computing chips will ever see the kind of market share that popular computing devices enjoy at this very moment.
On the upside, as a result we may have to rely on paper ballots instead of Diebold electronic voting machines, with theft of elections by fascists somewhat difficult as a result. Downside, I would expect to see neo-cons and conservative Republicans trying to pump billions into the information tech sector to prevent just such a tragic outcome.
(This is for the purposes of generating thought and discussion only, the author of this diary is neither an expert in economics, physics, or cybernetics. He is into farming and blacksmithing. And if we run out of oil, he has a nifty solar distillation apparatus that can make two gallons of fuel per day out of garbage. Plenty of fuel to run his 1948 Allis-Chalmers tractor well into the 21st century, and waaay beyond HIS life expectancy.)
“We are living in the future, I'll tell you how I know. I read it in the paper fifteen years ago.” –John Prine