The United States economy is dissolving as I write this. I expect emergency measures like the one imposed during World War II, when presidential elections were postponed for the duration. Yes; I believe Congress will suspend the US election this November. This means some kind of bipartisan arrangement with President Bush. By the end of next week trading on the stock exchange will be suspended. Banks will fall, one after the other. There will be a run on cash and banks will close. This will take us through September and October.
The Great Depression will hit North America first. Europe will be next. Then Asia, including New Zealand. The great cities of the world will fall into chaos very quickly. Without cash or credit there will be food riots and looting. Emergency measures will suspend civil rights in a matter of weeks. Police in New Zealand will be armed and the Army and Territorials will be given policing powers. States of Emergency will be instituted in most of the developed world. Aid from the developed world to the third world will stop. Millions will die in those countries. International travel will slow to a trickle.
People will look for a strongman, a saviour, to bring order back into society. Just as the collapse began in the US, this strongman will emerge there and bring a semblance of relative normalcy to people desperate for a solution. Each country, in turn will select their strongmen. The internet will disappear as we know it today. The governments will scour the servers in every country and jail all labeled seditionist.
Nothing is going to stop this from happening. Anybody who reads this should borrow as much money as they can, do whatever they have to do to stock up on food and supplies. Electricity and fuel cannot be counted on. People should concentrate on gathering flour, grains, freeze-dried and canned foods. They should have a supply of seeds to grow food. They should have fishing gear, camping gear, first-aid kits, and the means to make fire. They should have basic tools for harvesting wood. They should have shortwave radios with built in generators to keep abreast of what's happening. People will need weapons to defend themselves. They should collect how-to books on preserving foods, medical treatment and holistic remedies. If family members have farms, then arrangements should be made to gather there and live communally.
I believe it will get very, very, ugly before too long. Those who prepare themselves should survive - those who don't will not.