"We are too complex for the energy base that we can expect in the future." -Joseph Tainter
While I'm not necessarily a subscriber to the "peak oil" theory, I do think Mr. Tainter has something important to say here. I think our "energy base" of skilled man-hours and the scarce social capital that is trust are not up to the challenges of maintaining our comfortable lifestyle in a world where the US dollar is no longer the world's reserve currency, and we have to rebuild our manufacturing base in order to clothe ourselves.
The trust fund of the post war era is going to finally run out with the retirement of the baby-boomers. The rest of us are going to have to fend for themselves, without the spoils of a world war won (not yet anyway).