Saturday, February 14, 2009

Let the Shortages Begin

Once again, an interesting link courtesy of Gary North. It seems the breakdown of international trade and the furloughing of capital is beginning to be felt by the consumer:
Maybe you thought that less trade with China would mean fewer choices of lawn gnomes at Walmart this summer. And since you've recently sworn off, who cares anyway. Turns out China is also a leading provider of the raw materials used to make critical pharmaceutical drugs. We'll have fewer of those too and, in some cases, none at all... ...The shortage of leucovorin, a generic used in the treatment of colon cancer, is so acute that many cancer patients are receiving lower-than-prescribed dosages or none at all. According to suppliers, the shortage is due to "manufacturing" delays. In an interview with Forbes, Michael Katz, chair of a committee of patients that advises the Eastern Cooperative Oncology Group (ECOG), said, "I've never heard of anything like it," nor had any of the doctors in the group. There is a fear that shortages will occur more frequently with generic drugs because the margins are so thin. Leucovorin is also called folinic acid, which is derived from vitamin B and, like most vitamins, vitamin B comes from China.

There is also a worldwide shortage of acetonitrile, a critical chemical ingredient used in the purification of pharmaceutical compounds. Acetonitrile is a by-product of the automotive industry and is in short supply due to the worldwide slowdown in that industry, which, in turn, has caused chemical production facilities around the world to close.

What?! You mean that the entire global economy is intricately tied together in ways that no single person could possibly understand in its entirety, and when central banks play fast and loose with the money supply, corrections tend to come all-of-a-sudden and nobody can possibly make the necessary adjustments? You mean, central banking does not actually smooth out the business cycle, but intensifies and exacerbates, and is a threat to our very existence and way of life? Folks, this is not just a temporary slowdown, this is a breakdown. I hope you're prepared. I know I'm not.

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