The global economy has, amazingly, recovered pretty well. The movement towards “buying local” became a necessity after the famine, and so local centers of population either made or grew whatever they needed, or they died or dissipated. What was left were self-supporting enclaves, which still had experts and specialties that could be traded with neighbors.
For a long time, raw materials had been getting more expensive, but recycling got more efficient and designers got more creative. New structural materials like carbonmesh (available in both rigid and flexible forms) combine light weight, high strength, and low cost to expand the possibilities of construction.
As fossil fuels got more and more expensive, alternative energy sources got better researched and more viable. Most machines now run on solar power (with a new panel that’s close to 80% efficient, as opposed to the modern 8%) or hydrogen-cell electrics, or with a new biologically-inspired amino-acid battery.
Low post-disaster population means virtually no unemployment; high cost of labor makes automation and enhancement the name of the game, which means that some pretty cool stuff that was originally developed to be super-high-end is now generally available. There is a wide variety of jobs available.
Still no flying cars — but helicopter-like airtrucks have replaced big-rig trucks, and better civic planning has meant that you only have a real commute if you want one. Technology allows for Rocketeer-esque flight suits, but they tend to have short ranges and be uncomfortable, so they’re more of a novelty than a necessity.
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