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Globalization meets entropy – and we lose | Columnists

Economic

Globalization meets entropy – and we lose | Columnists

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Apparently, in the dream world of theoretical economics, those setting out the wonders of globalization thought they might somehow escape the consequences of one of the primary laws of the universe. Only now, as we see more every day, they were wrong.

Operating a “globalized” production, consumption, and environmental system has many moving parts to say the least – meaning more things can go wrong that ultimately affect the entire system.

In our current situation, the pandemic has thrown a large part of the “globalized” system into chaos. The reason COVID-19 is called a “pandemic” is because it affects the entire planet. So if the workers at the factory that makes microchips for virtually all of our electronics are sick, quarantined, or die, the supply of vital parts will be cut off and any process that relies on those chips – like making cars – it can not work .

Likewise, container ships cannot be loaded, sailed across the oceans, or unloaded at their destinations if something as elementary as dock workers is affected by the extremely wide-ranging effects of the pandemic. This is not theoretical, it happens every day all over the world.

None of the “supply chain” problems will go away anytime soon – and neither will entropy. What should – and can – go away is the fantasy of a smooth, extremely profitable, and appallingly environmentally harmful concept of globalization as the path to a sustainable future.

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