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MP - Oct 11, 2021: Delays, Pumpkin Spice Lattes, and Canadian 'Succession' Moment

Moving Parts
MP - Oct 11, 2021: Delays, Pumpkin Spice Lattes, and Canadian 'Succession' Moment
By Trey • Issue #3 • View online
Welcome to the week, and a big welcome to all that subscribed to Moving Parts. I was honestly content seeing the subscriber number at 1, with my email, but now I have an audience to live up to!
Let’s get into it (and Happy Canadian Thanksgiving)!

Today's Takeaway
The Woes: Are you still seeing empty shelves at the store? Can’t get the newest device the day it releases, or for several months after that? You’re not alone. Heck, if you give Google News a search regarding “supply chain issues” you’ll receive many news articles from the past few days:
The people are talking about supply chains, and they're not happy.
The people are talking about supply chains, and they're not happy.
For the most part, I’d be repeating all of the above articles with the typical answers to “Why can’t I buy _ anymore?” For the most part, those answers, off the top of my head are as follows:
  • Semiconductors, which are critical components for all electronics, are in high demand and short supply.
  • Container ships are delayed, with ports being backed up, or even closed because of Covid outbreaks. Containers themselves have been in short supply, bringing up the cost of shipping (although it’s finally coming down, Dollar Store and Walmart lovers rejoice).
  • Plastic Manufacturing is probably just beginning to resume normal pace after Hurricane Ida hit the southern coast of the United States.
  • The energy crisis that is occurring in Europe and Asia, with high natural (fossil) gas prices causing the shutdown of some factories, some of which supply the inputs to fertilizer, which could have its own second or third order impacts on agricultural supply chains in the coming year (something to watch).
  • Just… people, man. I think we often forget that supply chains are just people, working, day in and day out, to operate machinery, process orders, etc. The global economy does not run without the labor inputs. And interesting thing about that - the people required - about 5 million people have passed away because of Covid-19. While not all of them would have held jobs, many would have been ‘essential’ workers (in name only, likely not in pay) - those running our transit systems, getting our packages to us, driving our transport trucks, and allowing production facilities to operate. Without them, there are shortages of labor, both absolute and relative in terms of skills gaps.
The Takeaway: Supply chains are just the people that go to work to make sure you have the ability to order a Pumpkin Spice Latte with all the ingredients, wherever you want it, whenever you want it. As Amanda Mull put it in the Atlantic, “The supply chain is really just people, running sewing machines or loading pallets or picking tomatoes or driving trucks.
The Roundup
Let’s start off with some security-related pieces today. How much privacy are you willing to give up, in the name of ‘security’ or privacy?
I think it is fascinating (and kind of scary) seeing what kind of world we’re creating, and the little backlash - outside of niche academic and privacy circles - that new world is getting. I wrote a piece on this in my blog a few days back, which you can read here.
Next, lest we forget about the other stuff going on in the world, climate change is still occurring. Yup, I know, shocker. Guess the reusable straws didn’t save the planet after all!
  • I was cleaning up my computer the other day, and I stumbled upon a PDF that I had forgotten to read: The US National Intelligence Council’s Global Trends 2040 Report (March 2021). Of course, we should never always take what state intelligence agencies at face value, but it is really just incredible to see the amount of concern regarding climate change woven throughout the strategic planning of one of the world’s most notorious intelligence communities. The level of disconnect between what the very-smart people understand and what is trying to get through elected officials is something else.
  • In the NYT, a list of critical industries and infrastructure was given - the ones that “U.S. Agencies Worry Most About” - the totally unknown areas of Agriculture, Energy, Transportation, Security, and Commerce (the economy). “I would certainly hope they’re most worried about those ones,” - I say to myself as if its some big surprise that we should be fucking worried about feeding everyone in a changing climate.
  • Prices of… almost everything will probably be rising in the near future, largely due to supply chain and climate change factors. Even the price of beer!
However, what I’m really watching this week:
Oh, and since the new season of Succession drops in a week, how about a little close-to-home family business fun: a sibling tat at Rogers Media. (Sister blocked brother, the Chairman, from replacing CEO with the CFO. The CFO left. Sister and brother mad at each other. Cue Succession theme song.) I have a solution: let’s break Rogers up into a few smaller companies, each sibling can have a small piece of their independent companies. Competition - YES!
Speaking of, if you’re a fan of thinking about competition - especially in Canada - I’d recommend listening to the latest episode of the Open to Debate Podcast on Canada’s competition problem.
The Happy
A few weeks ago, I finished a fantastic book, and before I tell you the title, you should know: books should definitely be judged by their title/cover. The book is well worth a read, definitely borrow it from your nearest social book provider (a.k.a the library).
Why Women Have Better Sex Under Socialism (And Other Arguments for Economic Independence) by Kristen R. Ghodsee
Why Women Have Better Sex Under Socialism (And Other Arguments for Economic Independence) by Kristen R. Ghodsee
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