Kt, your comments are so great! They just make me want to think!
About third world countries: I think there's a lot of evidence out there that suggests the US has heavily "encouraged" third world countries to be so dependent on their exports. Think about all the nasty stuff England did to the Colonies to keep us an export-based economy--we are doing all that and more. Our fellow American nations (okay, I mostly mean Latin American nations) are in a situation that goes far beyond my ability to make a prescription for their betterment. But I do know that they are not going to be able to help themselves until we stop trying to control their governments and their economies. We need to treat our neighbors like equals and not like ... well, the way we do.
I think that refocusing our efforts towards local production of EVERYTHING (as much as feasible) is the most important step to creating transparency in the production system and breaking down the crippling grip of corporations. To make a fresh stab at my analogy to the American Revolution, England's control of the Colonies was eroded by the efforts of the citizenry (and by that, I pretty much mean women!) who mobilized to create and source colonial produced goods. Groups like the Daughters of Liberty worked together to make the Colonies self-sufficient.
Right now, we give up the production of everything we consume to manufacturers and mega-corporations who manipulate us though advertising and who work against us to make a profit. Things like protecting our resources are not a priority for these companies. The only way to be sure that your money is not conspiring against you, your values and your best interests is to source your goods from people you can really trust, that can show you where your stuff came from. Make it easy for yourself: do it yourself!
Also, if all this posting about food production seems a little theme-y, it's because I'm reading a book called "This Organic Life: Confessions of a Suburban Homesteader," by Joan Dye Gussow. She is a seventy-year old lady who grows all the vegetables (and a lot of fruit) that she and her husband eat all year long in her own New York State backyard. That's right, when she goes to the grocery store, she's stocking up on grain products and milk, and that's about it. It is incredibly inspiring, and I hope that everybody out there can take a page (or even just a paragraph) from her book and start growing even a little bit of their own food. It will connect you the earth; it will please your tastebuds, and it really will help the environment. And it's fun. And it's good exercise!