Off-shoring, outsourcing, and just-in-time inventories are cost effective when everything goes right, but they can be a nightmare when things go wrong. From Michael Snyder at theeconomiccollapseblog.com:
Many of the imbalances that are contributing to the nightmarish shortages that we are currently witnessing are not going to be solved any time soon. Ever since I started The Economic Collapse Blog, I have been warning that outsourcing the production of just about everything and running massive trade deficits year after year would eventually have very serious consequences down the road. Well, now we are officially “down the road”, and our incredibly foolish trade policies have put us in a very precarious position. During the “good times”, being extremely dependent on the rest of the world to make stuff for us wasn’t a problem, but now it is rapidly becoming a national security issue.
For example, without a steady flow of computer chips, our society as it is formulated today simply could not function. We need computer chips for our vehicles, for the trucks that transport all of our goods, for the farm equipment that produces our food, for the extremely sophisticated equipment in our hospitals and for the millions upon millions of electronic devices that connect to the Internet.
The global chip shortage has been a very painful reminder of how exceedingly dependent we have become on technology, and it has also shown us how unwise it was to outsource production of most of our chips to Asia.
Back in 1990, the United States produced 37 percent of all computer chips in the world.
Today, that number has fallen to just 12 percent.