Oh, the thought of a world-wide recession is pretty scary!
I think one of the biggest problems here in the US is that people rely too much on their cars. Too many people commute... too many people choose to live in homes that are outside of their community.
Where I live, we are pretty far from even a grocery store, so riding a bike is out of the question. I've been thinking a lot lately about how nice it would be to get back into a community where we could ride bikes to the stores... my hubby could ride a bike to work. Right now, I just cut back on driving - but that means being stuck at home most of the time (which, honestly, is kind of nice LOL).
I think another benefit is that people are having to simplify, and I'm noticing that in my community more people are now willing to support local farmers. Lots of us go to farmer's markets now as opposed to buying from the big grocery stores.
I wonder if cities like New York are being as affected? Most people there are already used to using public transportation, and so many walk where ever they go???
I don't know about other countries. It seems like countries in Europe made the adjustment a while ago - since gas prices there were over $4.00 many years ago.