Based on findings from transdisciplinary research and drawing on interviews with eleven different new entrant case studies, this report encourages the governments of UK nations to recognise and act upon the urgent need to focus their support for new entrants into farming on breakingfood down the real barriers to entry for agroecological, short supply chain land-based enterprises. The report shows that agroecological farming and land work is an attractive sector, and investing in routes into agroecology for new entrants has the potential to both rejuvenate and diversify the farming and food production sector, while also helping governments to meet their food, climate and green recovery commitments.
Before these past two years, if you were polling passersby on the street, you would have been hard pressed to find anyone ready to admit that they were seriously concerned about the supply chain. You’d be hard pressed, for that matter, to find many who could describe what the supply chain actually is (present company included). That is certainly not the case today. From shortages—and correspondingly high costs—of groceries and consumer goods like baby formula and sunflower oil to medical devices, “supply chain issues” have become a pronounced source of anxiety and frustration for consumers, workers, businesses, and politicians alike.
Larry Fink, the CEO of the world’s largest asset manager, recently wrote in his letter to shareholders that globalization as we know it is over. The war in Ukraine, he argues, marks a turning point in the world economy—though the momentum of globalization had been slowing for many years. Fink’s pronouncement caused a stir among the international capitalist class. The Financial Times featured an editorial opining that ‘global capital has, for the past 40 years or so, flown too far ahead of national economies, creating stresses and inequalities within many nations.’ FT journalists, of course, have been some of the greatest cheerleaders of this process, which made the conclusion all the more striking. But before we decide whether globalization is over, it’s worth considering what it actually amounts to. I
“Socialism doesn’t work” is repeated like a mantra. We’re told endlessly that capitalism provides jobs, housing, food, and health care in this country when it does a very bad job of doing all these things. The United States is said to be “the richest country in the world,” a strange statement which implies that the people are prosperous even though they aren’t. Gig work, housing insecurity, medical debt, and student loan debt are all common experiences for people in the U.S. Now, to add insult to injury, the system said to be so superior can’t even keep little babies fed. There is an historic shortage of baby formula. There are parts of the country where food for infants simply can’t be found at any price. This headline is the most honest about the situation.
In its World Economic Outlook report issued yesterday, the IMF said global growth for this year would be 3.6 percent, down 0.8 percentage points from its estimate in January and 1.3 percentage points lower than the forecast six months ago. For 2021, it said growth would come in at 6.1 percent. These figures, however, only partially depict a picture of a rapidly worsening economic outlook amid continuing supply chain constrictions due to the COVID-19 pandemic and surging inflation, exacerbated by the war in Ukraine and tighter monetary policy, as central banks lift interest rates. The WEO report said “unusually high uncertainty” surrounded its forecasts and “downside risks to the global outlook dominate.”
Anyone old enough to remember the Cold War is familiar with a scene routinely depicted on U.S. television at the time: the Soviet breadline. Warning Americans about life under communism, these clips showed Russian citizens lingering forlornly outside businesses for hours to obtain basic goods—indelible proof of the inferiority of central planning, and an advertisement for capitalism’s abundance. Breadlines, the Big Book of Capitalism assured us, could not happen in a market economy. Supply would always rise to meet demand, as long as there’s money to be made. Only deviating from free-market fundamentalism—giving everyone health care, for example—could lead to shortages. Otherwise, capitalism has your every desire covered.
If you ordered a teddy bear or a designer picture frame as a holiday gift, you know that it likely took a lot longer to get here than in past years. There have been problems getting things from point A to point B since the pandemic started. At one point in October, 77 percent of the world’s ports were experiencing long delays. More than most Americans, Longshore Union (ILWU) members grasp what supply chain problems are and how they come about. Many come from multigenerational families of port workers who understand both their militant union’s storied history and its role in the global economy today. ILWU members handle the containers that go into and out of the United States through nine West Coast ports.
I have a simple question for every ‘expert’ who thinks they understand the root causes of the shipping crisis: Why is there only one crane for every 50–100 trucks at every port in America? No ‘expert’ will answer this question. I’m a Class A truck driver with experience in nearly every aspect of freight. My experience in the trucking industry of 20 years tells me that nothing is going to change in the shipping industry. Let’s start with understanding some things about ports. Outside of dedicated port trucking companies, most trucking companies won’t touch shipping containers. There is a reason for that. Think of going to the port as going to WalMart on Black Friday, but imagine only ONE cashier for thousands of customers.
As a congestion crisis continues to stall polluting container ships in ports around the world, there is a growing awareness of the role that international shipping plays in both the climate crisis and the public-health impacts of air pollution. Released on Cyber Monday, a new report from Ship It Zero coalition members Stand.earth and Pacific Environment details the relationship between four major retailers that ship goods to the U.S. — Walmart, Amazon, Target and IKEA — and the fossil-fueled carrier companies that make that shipping possible. “Major retail companies and cargo carriers are flush with cash from pandemic-driven record breaking profits and are tightening their already close relationships,” Stand.earth shipping campaigns director Kendra Ulrich said in a statement emailed to EcoWatch.
The supply disruptions plaguing the US economy are not the result of "excessive demand," "central planning," or a lack of efficiency. Rather, it is that a logistics ecosystem that was developed to feed the beast of American consumption was not designed for a pandemic.