The breakdown of global supply chains is well-known by now. Whether it’s finding groceries in your supermarket, buying a new car or buying appliances like dishwashers and refrigerators, goods are scarce. Also, deliveries take forever and choices are limited.
Many people wonder why the problem isn’t going away. Here’s the answer:
The supply chain is a complex dynamic system. When any complex system collapses, you can look for specific causes but that’s usually a waste of time. Systems collapse internally because they are too large and too interconnected and require too many energy inputs to keep going.
Any specific cause is more likely to be a symptom than a true cause. It’s frustrating, but that’s the answer.
Most Americans’ first encounter with the supply chain meltdown was in the spring of 2020 during the first wave of the coronavirus pandemic. Shoppers noticed that items like hand sanitizer and paper goods at Costco and other big-box stores were cleaned out.
It seemed that Americans who were locked down and quarantined at the time were hoarding these products because they had no idea when they would be allowed to venture out again.
The shortages were real, but were limited to specific products. The other aisles at Costco were stocked and so were all the other stores around (at least those that were allowed to remain open).
Now It’s Everything
But it’s not just Costco this time. It’s every supermarket, convenience store and other retail outlet from coast to coast. And it’s not just cleaning products and paper goods. Your local supermarket might have bare shelves for eggs, peanut butter, milk and other staples.
It’s not a case of being stocked out of all goods all the time. Your store is like a box of Cracker Jack – you never know what’s inside.
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