But the problem (for the US and the UK, amongst others) is the huge trade deficits they've incurred by giving offshoring a lot of previously domestic manufacturing to foreigners
True. But this is hopefully temporary. In the sense that we still do export stuff, and as their economies get richer, they can afford to buy more of our stuff, with the profits they make from selling stuff to us.
This has broken down somewhat, because China in particular has chosen to recyle a lot of its profits into US (and other) government debt. This kept the currency artifically low, so helped improve their trade advantage (one of the major causes of the crash as it lowered our interest rates during the boom and helped inflate the bubble), and also has the effect of suppressing internal demand. The second I suspect is also because the Communist Party don't want to create a huge middle class that might be feeling a bit too comfortable, and perhaps start demanding political reform.
Hopefully the Chinese are wise enough to see that the problems they've had sustaining domestic demand, since their global markets hit this long recession, are because they've sent too much of the cash abroad - and they need that demand. That more affluent population will buy more of our stuff, and also they'll stop buying our government debt, so our governments won't be able to run such cheap deficits in the next boom.
Worryingly there's a lot of ifs here...
Also, another problem with all the exporters in Asia, and with Germany (due to ageing population), is that they all want to save. So they export, but then want to save the profits, rather than spending them. That leaves them with surpluses, which they invest in our economies and unbalance them. But OPEC and Russia have also been doing this, and they're having to stop, as they're not so filthy rich from oil revenues now.
Even so, wages for ordinary working stiffs in the US/UK mostly stagnated from the late 90s to the beginning of the crash, not dropped. And I believe that's stagnated only if you include housing costs for the UK, or mix of housing/medical for the US.
One of the problems in the Eurozone is that average wages went up, while productivity didn't. Except in Germany, where they caused inequality to grow faster than the UK with the Haartz 4 reforms, which kept wages down. They're now reaping the benefits of that mercantilist attack on their supposed 'partners' in the Eurozone - but at the cost of possibly pushing Italy out, and of also having a huge pile of savings with nowhere to go in the internal economy. Much of which their banks lent to Ireland, Greece, Italy and Spain. That worked out well...
then pretending that a combination of locally traded services and a debt-funded government are a substitute for actual wealth creating activity.
Sorry, I've rambled a bit. But although our governments have definitely borrowed to much - don't be so rude about services.
We do still have a large manufacturing sector (11th in the world), in the world's fifth largest economy. I believe we're something like the 8th (5th? I can't find the figure easily) largest exporter of manufactured goods.
Services are harder to trade, as they're not as well covered by free trade agreements, but as I recall we're the second largest exporter of services after the US. But some of them are very highly value-added. People seem to think of service jobs as bar and hotel staff. But that's not the sort of services you export. We tend to export lots of legal and insurance services. Lots of companies now do business under UK law, and pay to use UK arbitration and courts, as they can't trust each others (or even their own) legal systems.
ARM are a services company. Other people make the chips, ARM just do the design. I work in the building services industry, and I'm forever dealing with jobs in the Middle East and North Africa. Not because we export, but because Britain exports architectural and building design services. So most big jobs in Saudi or the UAE will be done to either British or US building regulations, depending on which practice they hired.
Things like music, software, films and TV are services too.