Slow boat from China |


For some in the Biden administration, the supply chain crisis can be dismissed as the loss of East Asian consumer goods, without which, Vox says, we could all get better – or as White House spokeswoman Jen Psaki has suggested: little more than “them The Tragedy of the Late Treadmill ”. In reality, however, a broken supply chain is hardly a rich man’s problem – global bankers are having their best year ever – but rather affects ordinary people suffering from soaring prices for everything from soybeans to natural gas. The crisis should now last at least a year.

The chaos on the ground may not hurt the elites of Manhattan or Palo Alto much, but inflation, which is now likely to persist for at least next year, has wiped out wage increases in the US, UK and Germany. Low-income groups are most at risk and struggle to pay for energy bills, rising rents and higher food prices. All of this also undermines President Biden’s already weak polls.

Our susceptibility to supply chain disruptions clearly dates back to the Biden government, forged by American corporations and governments for the last 50 years through the abandonment of the manufacturing economy, and encouraged and welcomed by the wisdom of business consultants. The result was massive trade deficits that now extend to high-tech products and even components for military equipment, many of which are now produced in China. When companies relocate their production abroad, they often also relocate research and development. All we have left is to promote the products and start sales if they arrive.

Unable to stock shelves, source parts, power your home, or even protect your own country without waiting for your ship to arrive, Americans are now unusually vulnerable to shipping rates up to ten times higher than they were before the pandemic. Unsurprisingly, pessimism about America’s direction has risen 20 points after a brief improvement in Biden’s election. The shipping crisis is now expected to last until 2023.

Not everyone loses here. For years, the American establishment saw China as an opportunity rather than a danger. High-tech firms, entertainment companies, and investment banks are benefiting or hoping to rely on our dependency to essentially become the new “China lobby”. Behind the scenes, these enlightened capitalists often work to prevent condemnation of the mercantilist policies of the Middle Kingdom and its joint suppression of democracy and ethnic minorities.

After all, the pain is felt not in elitist coastal enclaves, but in Youngstown in southern Los Angeles and countless other decaying locations. We have now devastated large parts of our country by enabling China’s focus on the production and conquest of technologies related to the manufacture of goods. That shift has cost us 3.7 million jobs since 2000. Between 2004 and 2017, the United States’ share of global production shrank from 15 to 10 percent, while our dependence on Chinese inputs doubled, although our dependence on Japan and Germany shrank.

But perhaps even more debilitating was our turn to what the British historian Martin Weiner called “psychological de-industrialization”. Weiner was referring to the lack of interest in productive enterprise in late Victorian and Edwardian England, but he might as well describe today’s American corporate and financial elite.

Fortunately, America is not England, which is now a shadow of itself as an industrialized country, thriving on its imperial connections to bolster its media, finance and tourism industries. It is a small country on the edge of a dwindling continent in seemingly permanent decline. There is a lack of our huge land with its agricultural, energetic and other resources, not to mention our still considerable entrepreneurial spirit. As a huge continental country with enormous resources, lots of farmland and a large, traditionally hard-working population, the US should be ideally suited to survive the decline in the global economy so clearly visible during the supply chain crisis and to be able to move on to a more self-sufficient model.

Read the rest of this article over at American Mind.

Joel Kotkin is the author of The Coming of Neofeudalism: A Warning to the Global Middle Class. He is Roger Hobbs Presidential Fellow in Urban Futures at Chapman University and Executive Director of the Urban Reform Institute. Learn more at and follow him on Twitter @joelkotkin.

Photo: Barrett Ward via Unsplash.


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