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comment by veen
veen  ·  973 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: America Is Running Out of Everything

    I'd be curious as to your take; you know hella more about transportation than I do.

I hope I do, but in a fairly narrow range. I'd argue "transportation" is as broad as a category as "engineering"; the nuances of shipping logistics are approximately as far removed from my corner of transportation as chemical engineering is to you. I could've chosen that speciality, but I didn't, so beyond knowing some basics like what a TEU is I won't be able to provide much insight.

My worry however is not about the refined products, but about all the intermediary and low-value parts that are necessary to create refined products. If shipments are going to suck ass for the foreseeable future, and we have lost the ability to produce much of the basics locally, how are a lot of our products going to get made? A supply chain is only as strong as its weakest link, and I'm worried we're gonna see a lot more weak links the coming years, with problems 'trickling up' from "it's too expensive to ship iron to make bolts" to "it's too expensive to ship bolts to make bicycle frames" to "bicycles are twice expensive and/or out of stock".

The current GPU shortage is not exactly caused by these kinds of issues, but it does show just how difficult these processes are to improve or change when necessary.

kleinbl00  ·  972 days ago  ·  link  ·  

Been thinking about this. It's a bigger question than anybody really grasps, and a proper understanding of it, in my estimation, requires a lot of synthesis.

My hypothesis is that global shipping has been cost-effective because of the cost advantages of lax regulation, antiquated labor standards and a substantial disparity between "nations served" and "nations serving." On the one hand, COVID has forced a lot of industries to modernize. On the other hand, COVID has made awful occupations worse.

One of the things I've noticed among all the discussion of employment is that nobody is even bothering to capture the true number. We keep reporting the unemployment rolls as if they mean anything - if you can't collect unemployment, you have zero incentive to report and everyone's unemployment ran out three weeks ago yet this fact has been utterly absent from the discussions. Similarly, "global shipping dominance" will give you a list of flags-of-convenience which are absolutely, fundamentally, entirely irrelevant to the discussion. No, Greece and Panama are not the world's largest shipping nations. It's China by a mile.

I believe the shipping industry is exquisitely sensitive to political pressure. The Biden administration could fuck things up for China through executive order or bureaucratic (what an awful word) action. This bird?

That's a shipping interdiction bird.

I think the Biden administration, as well as the G8, could radically change the face of globalism without anyone getting a vote. Without anyone getting a memo. Do a google news search on "biden shipping" and you will see a mandate. 'cuz that's the other thing nobody is paying attention to - the Biden administration has been doing big, sweeping liberal shit that doesn't inflame any culture wars so the Right hasn't fucking noticed.

interesting times.