Supply chain troubles will plague us for years to come

You may not know the name John Pocari, but after reading a sprawling new thinkpiece in The American Prospect, you’ll come to believe he’s one of the most pivotal figures determining global commerce’s future. In his role as the Biden administration’s port envoy, Pocari is instrumental in figuring out how to free up the sticky situations that have been plaguing our ports in recent years. As we’ve witnessed cargo issues trickle down to store shelves, many consumers are now grasping the reality that so many of our consumable goods are reliant on byzantine shipping routes, archaic international regulations, and volatile variables outside of our control. In his Prospect essay, executive editor David Dayen makes a case for the fact that, even though some of our supply chain woes appear to have eased, the reprieve is surely temporary. Dayen suggests that we need a two-pronged approach to build sustainable, resilient supply chains stretching into the future: 1) nimble actors like Pocari tackling urgent bottlenecks rapidly and 2) significant top-down overhauls that shore up the supply chain for decades to come. The task at hand is in some ways a “thankless” one, writes Dayden, “but one that’s vital to our prosperity and our future.” Anybody listening? —Jesse Hirsch