Our Overcentralized Food Supply Chain is Breaking Down

One of the most important weaknesses in our way of life exposed by the response to the COVID-19 pandemic is our centralized and efficiency-obsessed food supply chain. Concerns about employee safety in our nation’s food processing facilities, combined with the shutdown of schools, hotels, and many restaurants, have distorted farmers’ incentives and resulted in shortages at grocery stores and fast-food restaurants. The solution begins with recognizing that our trade policies are contrary to our national interest and that our regulatory regime is contrary to a risk-mitigating, redundant food system.

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Production Shutdown Leads to Meat Shortages

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Grocery Stores Fresh Out of Your Favorite Toilet Paper? Here’s Why…

 

What does toilet paper have to do with a global pandemic?

Nothing.

Yet millions of people have been panicking about their household supply. Stores shelves have been emptied. Amazon is often out of stock. And social media is bursting with jokes and pleas for a roll or two.

The good news: Things are calming down, at least in the U.S., after a buying spree in mid-March. But it’s not yet clear when — if ever — buying habits will get back to normal.

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Automakers Flash Warning Over Supplies Of Critical Metals

By Stefan Gleason – Re-Blogged From Silver Phoenix

While motorists continue to enjoy the benefits of a longstanding supply glut in crude oil, car manufacturers are becoming increasingly worried about shortages. Not in liquid fuels, but in metals.

The automotive industry requires certain strategic, rare, and precious metals. Without them, batteries for electric cars wouldn’t function and catalytic converters for gasoline engines wouldn’t work.

Many of the metals that play a critical role in both conventional and electric vehicles now face potential supply shortfalls.

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Rising Wages = Shrinking Corporate Profit Margins … And Falling Stock Prices?

By John Rubino – Re-Blogged From Dollar Collapse

Today’s Wall Street Journal contains a couple of charts that illustrate a relationship that’s not getting much media attention these days: The fact that tightening labor markets are forcing companies to raise wages, in the process squeezing their own profit margins.

Historically this margin compression has been either a cause of or contributor to cyclical turning points — in other words it coincides with recessions and equity bear markets.

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Inflation Is Back, Part 9: Two Sentences Say It All

By John Rubino – Re-Blogged From Dollar Collapse

Okay, one more look at wage inflation, followed by a short diatribe on the unfairness of life.

As the labor markets get tighter, power is finally shifting from companies to workers. For some reason Iowa is leading the way (the promised two sentences are in bold):

Say Hello to Full Employment — Want to know where the economy is headed? Look at Des Moines

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Antibiotic Crisis: Fragile Supply Leads to Shortages

By Thomson Reuters – Re-Blogged From Newsmax Health

Shortages of some life-saving antibiotics are putting growing numbers of patients at risk and fuelling the evolution of “superbugs” that do not respond to modern medicines, according to a new report on Thursday.

The non-profit Access to Medicine Foundation (AMF) said there was an emerging crisis in the global anti-infectives market as fragile drug supply chains – reliant on just a few big suppliers – come close to collapse.

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