they ALL go in the reds sooner or later
Actually, with the last couple of Updates the world regions hold their economic situation much better, and can often prosper for a reasonably long time. There is still the issue that the AI rulers do not understand very long term games very well, though.
Regarding your comments Eric, there are some very good and interesting points.
1) AI regions don't take advantage of the 'no price controls' wild-market prices at the world level. Unfortunately the AI has trouble comprehending that you can make $1000 on a barrel of oil when the situation is tight.
2) Without the World Market, there is no 'price cop' on the world level. This is very true, but also has a base of realism - with all the world production represented "on-map", the true laws of supply and demand take effect. If people have to buy oil for $500 a barrel, then they will. Of course, they'll drive less, but that effect is factored in to elements like consumer demand reductions.
3) The AI doesn't mitigate shortages by building facilities or researching techs to reduce consumption... Unfortunately this is a game limitation.
One of the suggestions you have is to introduce an artificial cap on pricing, which is sort-of happening with consumer goods. This is possible to do, but it is also a bit arbitrary.
It would be nice to try to reduce this 'exploit' effect for the next update, but I'm not sure that artificial price caps are the best approach. I'm open for suggestions though