A fire in a Russian chemical plant has taken out a major global supplier for many important substances necessary for manufacturing and energy production.
This is getting to be common. Whether due to extreme weather, political instability, or enemy action (or carelessness, which Russia has a long history with), centralizing the manufacture or production of vital substances or materials is just stupid.
Yes, I said STUPID.
I understand the economics of central production, and the economics of scale. All things being equal, to have ONE point of supply does drive the cost down.
Until that central point is taken out of the picture. And, businesses are scrambling for viable replacements in quantities that they need.
Such chokepoints took out a lot of German industry and transportation, when the plant manufacturing 99% of ball bearings was vaporized. We’ve seen how the shipping ‘crisis’ (so labeled because this was a manufactured crisis – one made WORSE by the incompetence of Buttegieg – not a natural event) affected delivery of goods for the last 6 months or so.
What states need to be doing is setting up regional alliances with neighboring states. Working with them on SPECIFIC issues or problems. Making sure that goods will move, crime will be fought, and their CITIZENS will be given the services and protections they are paying for. Frankly, governors should be FAST moving towards a NON-USA National Guard – and, by that, I mean the governor of the state is the one in control of where, and when, the units will be sent. It will mean giving up that Federal money for equipment and materials, but it also means that they cannot be compelled to fight the wars that Jacka$$es in office want to lose (along with the units’ lives and a whole lot of equipment that the US taxpayer paid for).
Those reformed STATE Guards can do the same work within the state’s borders that they already do, plus states can have the option of calling up some of the reserves, if requested. There are enough states that already work within their region; this would just be an extension of that effort. Most of the State Guard programs have been re-structured (those that are not currently inactive) to focus their mission on emergency services and natural disasters.
It’s surprising how many states have had active guard units in the past; many of them could be re-activated fairly easily. Many of the duties have been handled by volunteers, whether firemen, health care workers, or amateur radio operators.
Additionally, these regional associations will want to work together to make sure that vital parts and supplies are available from more than one source – and, that there are multiple ways to move the cargo through the region, should one part of the infrastructure be taken out. The same with infrastructure – there should be redundant systems to keep the power on, communications active, travel possible, and businesses working.
This is the dark side of the Division of Labor. Specialists arise…and can then be targeted. If there’s a vital point in a nation’s economy, the enemies of that nation will find it and do their utmost to capture or destroy it.
If we want the prosperity that flows from specialization, we have to accept the risks that come with it. But we have to beware of the emergence of single points of failure…and so far, we haven’t exhibited much prudence about that.