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Manufacturing immiseration in the economy of essentials

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Manufacturing immiseration in the economy of essentials

Photo caption: The ventilator shortage has become a key flashpoint during the COVID-19 crisis. Article by Michelle R. Matisons, Ph.D.

The Trump administration reluctantly employed the Defense Production Act (DPA), but it is now operative in an economic crisis routinely compared with the 2008 Great Recession and the Great Depression before it. What happens in the manufacturing sector is critical, as it faces a triple threat: climate change uncertainties; COVID-19 supply and demand chain disruptions; and routine overproduction and outsourcing.

One analysis gaining traction is that advanced industrial economies, largely dependent on fossil fuel extraction, are downsizing and simplifying anyway. In a reactionary manner, the Brexit vote was a response to this inevitable downward turn. Dr. Tim Morgan’s theory of surplus energy economics argues capitalism has achieved a “zenith of complexity,” with “degrowth” now inevitable due to dwindling fuel sources.

This condition is accelerated by COVID-19 in unpredictable ways. Consider Morgan’s description of prosperity’s decline:  “At its simplest, this means that the near-universal expectation of a future ‘economy of more’ has been invalidated. We’re not…going to be driving more cars on yet more roads, and taking more flights between yet more airports. A seemingly-assured future of more consumption, more leisure, more travel, more wealth, more gadgets and more automation has, almost at a stroke, ceased to exist.” […]

Video: Inside Ford And GM’s Manufacturing Of Lifesaving Ventilators For The Pandemic | Forbes.

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