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About two weeks ago, I mentioned that the last ship from China was to arrive at a California port about March 6.
I don't know if that estimate was accurate or not, but there are increasing reports that show that the supply chains have been broken. Railroad cars are being sidelined with nowhere to go. Port workers are being laid off in California. The Amazon warehouse in St. Louis is only about 1/4 full. Anything that we used to get from China is soon to be in short supply.
Technically, the supply chain is not broken; it's the supply itself that is broken. There is little doubt that we will be seeing shortages of many items for a while, at least until new contracts are made with suppliers in other parts of the world, or until American producers are able to get up and running.
Once the "free trade" opened up with China in the 1990's, their low-cost labor made it impossible for American producers to compete, because of the higher cost of wages and salaries in America. To be "Made in the USA" meant you had to pay more for something than you would if you just bought a low-cost item that was "Made in China." Bargains became more important than manufacturing jobs, and so the production was shipped to China. Walmart's ships were stacked 100 feet high with shipping containers arriving at the ports in California, and they left nearly empty on the return trip to China. We made China great again.
This was globalism in its finest hour.
But globalism was always at risk to unplanned disruptions in the supply chain, such as the one now brought about by the coronavirus scare. We are now facing shortages and will need to think ahead as much as we can. Just because you have money does not mean that you can find the goods that you want or need. The most pressing need for many will be for medications, since Big Pharma outsourced their production of drugs to China a long time ago. But even things like Vitamin C are soon to be in short supply, at least for a season.
It could be somewhat painful as we transition back out of globalism back into a world where most goods are made domestically. Fortunately for us in America, we have tremendous food production here or in nearby Mexico. With all the locusts eating all things green in the Mideast and in parts of Africa, there will be an increased demand for food worldwide, but only those who can afford it will survive. I don't think we will have that problem here in America. Shipping food across the continent should not be a problem either, since a lot of truck drivers will be available to haul goods from farmers to stores.
So I think we will avoid most of the worst problems associated with the current shutdown of shipping. Nonetheless, on certain items, it may be months or longer before the nation's trade infrastructure can be retooled for domestic production. Prepare yourself as best you can.