DIPLOMACY: CURBING INFLATION and SUPPLY CHAIN PALAVER
By Sunny Oputa
I am a coffee connoisseur and can always smell the coffee from a distance and through my years of blessed taste and smell can easily identify the taste of the aromatic compounds of coffee whether acidic, bitter, salty, sweet with fruit flavors or winery. Same I can dictate if the coffee has a well -balanced taste or if the coffee is over-powered with one flavor characteristic dominating the order.
Simply put, I frequent Starbucks daily especially in the morning. It is like a pilgrimage to me to the extent that the baristas and workers in my favorite Starbucks store knows me by name and even if I am ordering from the drive through, they can easily dictate my voice and greet me by my name.
Since November – December 2021 to the time of writing this piece whenever I go to Starbucks and have tried various stores to ask for a Grande cup of hot pike coffee, rather, I was served with a Venti cup of coffee. The first time, I thought it was a mistake and called the attention of the cashier. She told me that they ran out of Grande cup and are glad to serve me with Venti cup in lieu of Grande. This trend continues till date, though a small reduction in the volume of coffee in the venti cup to commiserate with that which should be served with a Grande cup has now been applied. Cup stoppers are getting scarce too.
Likewise, many shelves in Walmart and some prominent stores globally have turned to ghost zones with scarcity of most items including cereal, and petty things under the wisdom of heaven that you will not expect to be scarce. The price of myriad items has gone to the roof with astronomical hikes. Same trend of scarcity of core items such as chips rare its head in Detroit and other car factories as chips are scarce making cost of new cars to be unaffordable.
Not only food items, cars, from luxurious items to every day essential and durable items, scarcity, and soaring prices loom.
Whether it is at United Kingdom, United States of America, Canada, or any of the African countries the problems of inflation and supply chain obstructions have tilted the world economy, depressing global economic growth at 4.0% by the end of this year, generating untold hardship and creating a tsunami of political and social issues in major countries.
Statistics shows that inflation in USA, Canada and United Kingdom has gone beyond 30% more that 3 decades high. Some of the African countries that have not been able to keep their data together dangles the rate of inflation between 16% and 35%. Even as prices of goods continue to soar in western countries amid surplus flow of capital, essential goods and desired ones have remained grossly scarce because of supply chain shortage.
The world is in deep crisis and end is not near and fathomable. The bottom line is that the fate of the world and the economic survival of humanity for now depends on the hinges of the Coronavirus, the imploding Omicron, Delta variants and other variants yet to come. Significantly, the greatest threat in the world today may not be Russia pushing to attack Ukraine, Middle East melting politically because of the incessant attacks from the Houthis of Yemen or cyberattacks.
Various strategic surprises and tactical surprises are imminent/ The worst crisis and threat facing the world today is inflation and supply chain palaver trigger by viruses which have become too tough to silence permanently. Though, we give grand kudos to our scientist and companies such as Pfizer, Moderna, Johnson and Johnson, AstraZeneca, various laboratories churning out vaccines and pills, healthcare workers and every humanity who has been in the fore to ensure that this pandemic is drastically reduced.
Over dependence on China by global companies in USA and Europe on outsourcing to manufacture goods and commodities at cheap prices because of surpluses of labor at cheap rate.
The pandemic has truncated shipping and travelling all over the world. Lot of flights are cancelled on daily basis, there’s dearth of truck drivers, domestic manufacturing has been impaired due to lack of workers in factories, avalanche of sicknesses, call=offs and deaths pervade the ecosystem. Energy crisis has become a bigger threat as the prospects of oil rising to $100 + has become a big headache. OPEC inability to meet or increase production quota, the diplomatic struggles between USA and China to open their reserves have not appeared a therapeutic to assuage the problem. Of energy crisis. Money seems to flow in the economic order, yet there is scarcity of goods despite soaring prices of goods making this year’s inflation the worst for four decades.
Philipp Hildebrand, Vice Chairman of BlackRock on speaking to Bloomberg News said that supply chain problem caused the inflation. While this point is right, it is also necessary to look at some of the core issues that triggered the supply chain problems beyond the pandemics. For instance, the inflated cost of energy, power shortages in China and various areas of Europe also affected manufacturing.
While the financial world and supply chain systems are battling to fight inflation and supply chain palaver, we can work towards getting the world on track by ensuring that nations that are unable to get adequate supply of vaccines start to receive them without restrictions and colossal charges.
Immigration policies should be worked on to enable core professionals and businesspeople access to travel.
More focus should be on eradicating energy poverty and new thinking towards balancing of renewables and fossil energy in driving economic affairs should be fostered.
Encourage mega oil companies to continue with production while integrating carbon reduction technologies and balance it with investment in renewables which will materialize in the future
Let's start getting more innovative, apply circular economy and sustainability,
Get the world working again, by removing politics from reality.