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ALERT: Shortage

user profile picture Chris Martenson Sep 20, 2021
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For all my new followers, and as a reminder to my long-time followers, I will only issue a formal ALERT when some piece of news or constellation of facts causes me to spring into action.  I issue ALERTS very sparingly, usually only once or twice in a given year. I feel like I am going to be issuing more and more of them over the next few years, though.  I hope they don’t become weekly events.

This ALERT comes because of my scouting of the news on the topics of shortages.  Critical supply shortages in the US and much of Europe are now so profound and obvious that everyone should be in the mode of stocking up on critical items.

I covered the topic of shortages in a recent video for paying members here: https://www.peakprosperity.com/inflation-and-shortages-flashing-red/

In February 2020 I warned the members of Peak Prosperity about a looming crisis of shortages and related economic consequences resulting from the cessation of normal trade and factory functioning:

It’s not the fall that hurts, it’s suddenly stopping.  In December 2019 the entire world, just-in-time global economy was humming along, a month later it metaphorically ran into a brick wall.

A stop so sudden that nobody has any clue how badly the system was harmed.  Because it’s a complex system it also means that nobody can predict any of the actual consequences.

Apple’s manufacturing process is complicated.  Apple’s supply chain from raw sand to finished phone is complex.  Things that are complicated can be modeled and resolved.  Things that are complex cannot.

Complex systems defy every attempt at predictive modeling.  Instead they have emergent behaviors that can be observed.  Perhaps you can place a boundary around these behaviors, such as predicting that on a nice day at the beach there won’t be any sudden 16-foot waves out of nowhere.  But beyond that one cannot predict the particular shape of any of the complex smaller wave structures.

All of which is a fancy way of saying nobody has any idea what’s about to happen over the next few months as a complex industrial network tries to re-start itself after an abrupt shutdown.

(Source – “Shortages and Breakdowns”)

While that warning certainly came well before the economic and stock market dislocations, it took a lot longer than I thought for the disturbances from those supply shocks to really work their way through the system.

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