Lack of infant nutrition is one of the manifestations of the supply chain crisis exacerbated by climate change

Lack of infant nutrition is one of the manifestations of the supply chain crisis exacerbated by climate change

As the economy continues to falter, the name of the game is the lack of products. The disruption of the supply chain left the grocery shelves empty, forced players to suffer from a lack of consoles and headsets, and led to a shortage of microchips throughout the electronics industry. Higher consumer prices are partly due to this shortcoming. Now that Republicans are pointing out the lack of child nutrition, the question seems to have been politicized: Should supply chain problems be blamed by the party holding power?

The answer is that the problems in our supply chain are global in scope – in several ways. Product shortcomings are caused by the fact that most of our goods are transported over long distances for use in production, sale or other uses. Imagine a giant cobweb stretching across the planet. Like a baseball breaking through every chain, unexpected problems can destroy the key pathways that make our supply chains work.

RELATED: Climate change will make supply chain disruption a new norm

Therefore, climate change in particular is expected to lead to much greater product shortages. Dr. Thomas Goldsby, a professor of supply chain management at the University of Tennessee at Knoxville’s Haslam College of Business, tells Salon that volatile and unpredictable weather will fundamentally change our economy.

“The frequency and severity of these unpredictable weather patterns are changing consumers’ shopping behavior, as well as the steps companies are taking to address them,” Goldsby explained. “Companies need to build more redundancy in their production and distribution networks to compensate for this volatility – and it all comes at a higher cost.”

In addition to changing consumer behavior, scientists agree that climate change will change the physical landscape in a profound and transformative way. First, sea levels are expected to rise; even if this happens, the heat waves will cause widespread drought. Both of these things will have implications for the economy.

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“Take the alarmingly low levels of Lake Mead, which supplies vital water to parts of Nevada, Arizona and California,” Goldsby said. “Water supplies are limited and farms lack the necessary hydration to be viable. The quality of life of non-farmers is also affected. I hear the term ‘climate refugees’ more often.”

“Basically, since the 1970s and 1980s, there has been a dramatic acceleration of something that has been going on for a long time – the movement of jobs.”

As is so often the case with climate change, marginalized communities are expected to suffer disproportionate action. As Shahram Azhar, an assistant professor of economics at Bucknell University, told Salon last year that “climate change has a demonstrably negative impact on the planet’s natural ecosystem (pests, coral bleaching, etc.), which is crucial for agricultural production. class people, this basically means more food insecurity, malnutrition and poverty through rising food prices on the one hand and job and income instability on the other. “

It is tragically unsurprising that climate change will hit marginalized groups hardest when it starts to close supply chains. These large supply chains exist in large part because wealthy interest groups wanted to take advantage of cheap labor, says Richard Wolff, an economist emeritus at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. Therefore, supply chain failure can be described as a “global” problem in several ways. Not only is it strongly affected by global events, such as climate change, but globalization is causing supply chain failures.

“Basically, around the 70’s and 80’s there was a dramatic acceleration of something that had been going on for a long time – the movement of jobs, initially in production, although it has since expanded into services,” Wolff told Salon. “And the impulse was profit, as always. Profit is the foundation. Profit is the goal of business, because capitalism does it. And partly thanks to Internet technology and jet travel technology, which have normalized in these countries.” years could now be exploited, and the political conditions were much cheaper labor elsewhere in the world. “

“Capitalists are always stimulated when wages rise to find a solution, a way to avoid them,” Wolff explained.

As wages in Western democracies such as the United States have grown, companies have realized that they can increase their profit margins by producing various products in various locations around the world. With lower transportation and communication costs, it would be cheaper than using domestic labor. Once the inevitable long supply chains were in place, businesses could argue that this was an inevitable consequence of the economy, as opposed to the accumulation of deliberate decisions that would probably not have been made if our global economic system had not been based on profit. .

“Capitalists are always stimulated when wages rise to find a solution, a way to avoid paying them,” Wolff explained, explaining that this included automation to outsource jobs. In this process, they leave consumers vulnerable to disruption caused by environmental problems – even before the age of climate change.

“When we created dust pans in different areas in the 1920s and 1930s, it permanently changed the country’s landscape in terms of where people live and work, and so on,” Wolff explained, referring to a series of dust storms that overcame the American Midwest due to poor farming practices. “Once you make things global by moving abroad, you will obviously become vulnerable to drought, floods and everything else that is happening now, not only in the continental United States, but globally. Either you have to take steps to avoid the climate. . ” change or spend money to adapt to the adjustment process involved. “

Wolff added: “The problem with capitalism is that these problems require time and money, and they don’t want to do either.”

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