Foreign Policy Blogs

The Catalyst of Shortages

The Catalyst of Shortages


The are a number of increasing stories about how this Holiday season will be met with shortages of the things that make this time of year precious for many. Crucial things for the holidays such as festive foods and even children’s toys are predicted to be in short supply, brought on by many competing factors no one truly expected. In the UK, shelves and fuel supplies are already in short supply due to visa restrictions yet to mature in the post Brexit era, clashing with the tail end of Covid policies that limited the proper flow of goods and fuel.

The United States is also starting to experience many backlogs as well, with ports and shipping containers being queued longer than normal while waiting to unload their often prompt and measured deliveries. While already a matter of discussion in the UK for a few weeks, Americans are now starting to view the end of the year with some fears of a ruined Christmas. With the product driven Holiday season being driven by commercial backlogs at the time of year when retailers make a good portion of their yearly profit, the post Covid retail industry needs this season to return to profit after two years of shut downs.

Part of the problem for auto sellers as well as many other technological products is the shortage of semi-conductors needed for their production. Production of many items are now done overseas, and a strategic push to increase production cannot be done by one Government alone, nor is possible to coordinate many of these companies without their expressed consent to focus their efforts in improving one national economy. While the push by the US, UK and EU Governments enabled companies like Moderna, Pfizer and AstraZeneca to produce vaccines in record time when needed, it was done inside many countries who coordinated these efforts and had local production located outside their windows.

With much of the semi-conductor market being dominated by producers in Taiwan, the recent military escalation with China may exacerbate these shortages even further. It is unclear why this strategic move by China is being done at a time when consumers in the US and EU depend also on Chinese goods for their markets. The negative affect it may have could finally focus public attention on China’s aggressive policies against Western interests while also limiting China’s own manufacturing sales of high end goods via chip shortages, and lower end goods via shipping delays.

Driving up the costs of everything, when the costs are already high, affects people personally. When you see the price of everything going up rapidly, as you likely do wherever you are in the world right now, you eventually start to ask questions and begin to notice who is pressuring you personally. With Covid still scarring many people’s lives after two unforgettable awful years of this disease, the only focus many have is to get out of a life of shortages and depression. While the messaging on who to focus on has become in a way its own industry, many now see politics as personal to limitations in their own lives.



Richard Basas

Richard Basas, a Canadian Masters Level Law student educated in Spain, England, and Canada (U of London MA 2003 LL.M., 2007), has worked researching for CSIS and as a Reporter for the Latin America Advisor. He went on to study his MA in Latin American Political Economy in London with the University of London and LSE. Subsequently, Rich followed his career into Law focusing mostly on International Commerce and EU-Americas issues. He has worked for many commercial and legal organisations as well as within the Refugee Protection Community in Toronto, Canada, representing detained non-status indivduals residing in Canada. Rich will go on to study his PhD in International Law.

Areas of Focus:
Law; Economics and Commerce; Americas; Europe; Refugees; Immigration