Tuesday 17 May 2022

Stupid government tricks: supply chain rigidities edition

America has a big shortage of baby formula. 

Simplest explanation: piles of regulatory and procurement decisions worked to make it effectively impossible to shift supply chains in response to shocks, and one of their larger manufacturers suffered a shock. 

In the midst of the shortage, Department of Homeland Security is seizing baby formula like it's cocaine. 

NZ could laugh at stupid US Government tricks, but Customs here is seizing Covid tests that are good enough to be used to get you into the country, but not considered good enough for use here. 

And NZ's current plasterboard shortage comes down to the exact same kind of mess: protectionist regulatory constraints that combine to make it impossible to import and use plasterboard. so the system is highly fragile to shocks. 

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