There may well be a different pattern of global production and distribution when the world economy emerges from the current crisis, says George Stalk, senior adviser to the Boston Consulting Group. Assuming that long-term oil prices average $80 a barrel or so, and that roads, ports and airports continue to be congested, smaller factories closer to home — in the Midwest or Mexico, for example — may be more economical and flexible than those in Asia. “For a lot of goods, China will no longer be the preferred source,” Mr. Stalk said [Steve Lohr, "How Crisis Shapes the Corporate Model," New York Times, 2009.03.28].
Even South Dakota can't compete with low wages in China. But increased transportation csts could level that playing field, restore competitive advantage for Gehl, Rosebud, et al., and maybe even draw some manufacturers back to the Midwest. Forget those call centers: let's get back to making actual stuff!