Somebody, possibly a visitor from Baen's asked me in the thread below what has happened to global economy by the time of After America.
Long story short, it's gone. At least the global economy as we know it is gone. The beating heart of it was ripped out in the first few chapters of WW.
The interesting question is what remians and/or what replaces it. Just as Jules recognised very quickly that trade would revert to first principle, food, weapons and precious metals and stones, you've got to imagine that something similar would manifest itself at the macro level of international trade flows, and to a greater or lesser degree at national levels, depending on the resilience of the subject economy.
Japan is probably doomed. Who's gonna buy all their shit now?
India won't be catching up any time soon (especially with some it's larger cities reduced to radioactive glass).
China has imploded and fractured along historical fault lines.
Just look at the current global meltdown, a thin and pale thing compared to the chaos of WW, and raise to the power of – what? - five or six. Ten? More?
Internally, the US is interesting, because unlike the rest of the world there is the complicating factor of salvage. Even with lots of cities having burned, there is still a vast amount of wealth stored in the material and plant of America.
How would that affect reconstruction efforts? Would you put your hand up to work for five years as an indentured peasant to the government, just to get a piece of paper entitling you to the post Wave equivalent of 40 acres and a mule. Or would you load up the biggest motorhome you could find and go looting on an epic scale?
What would America produce? Who would buy it? And how would they pay?