The World as We Know It Ends If It Can’t Find Its Bearings


 Terry Etam

While growing up, I had the privilege of working at some manual labour/equipment operator type jobs. Now, I am aware that word “privilege” is currently a live grenade, when used by the “wrong people”, but I don’t care. The people I’d hate to offend are those that have no choice or path out of manual labour, and/or those whose work is under-appreciated by society as a whole.

A stint of manual/blue-collar labour teaches more than you might think, if not at the time then most definitely down the road. You might drive by one of them, someone driving a bulldozer, or repairing a road, or changing tires, and think wow that looks like a stress-free life or some such, how hard could that be.

And that perspective is true in a limited technical sense, as in no one says ‘wow look at that guy drive that forklift in a straight line – pure genius.’ 

But the benefit of time in those driver’s seats is that another world opens up – the world of getting stuff done, in a world where anything can be thrown at you at any time. Weather issues, health issues, equipment issues, personnel issues…any of these can derail a task that might look mundane but might be critical in a supply chain sense.

Spend time in those seats and these challenges become real, ones that don’t impact passersby directly but can indirectly, in huge ways. And the understanding of those challenges, even a few of them, gives the manual labour/blue collar participants a leg up on the laptop class that is critically important. Anything can be easy on paper, but can be another matter entirely out on the front line.

Here’s an example from a recent freight newsletter. U.S. railroads are facing labour shortages and workers are threatening to strike over conditions. One reason was that, in a bid to improve profitability and therefore impress Wall Street and therefore increase share prices and therefore increase value of stock options, some managements laid off a lot of workers in cost-cutting drives.

Some layoffs may have been necessary or worth it, I don’t know, but I did read an account of one engineer who summed up why no one wanted the job anymore. He recounted how trains now were much longer, more than a mile, and run with fewer staff. He spoke of what it was now like if there was a problem out in the middle of nowhere on one of the cars somewhere down the line, the guy said it was up to him to trudge up to a mile through snow or terrible conditions to check on a problem on a specific car, and then have fewer people available to deal with problems. And yet that engineer is responsible for getting the load there on time. Add those pressures together, and does it seem quite so easy to drive a train?

Another quick example and then on to one of those things that almost no one ever thinks about, or cannot live without, referenced in the title. In one of my “getting paid to drive something around” university summer jobs, I drove a swather for an alfalfa processing plant. Since the alfalfa was cut as close to peak greenery as possible (10 per cent bloom, to be precise) and then shipped to the drying facility as quickly as possible (for quick drying to achieve the best quality alfalfa pellets), time was of the essence, and breakdowns were a big deal.

The poor field mechanics would be driven half-crazy by a single component – bearings. They could be heard swearing half a mile away due to the shoddy quality of some bearings, if for whatever reason crappy ones had been installed due to either cost or availability issues (usually the latter). It was true that operating conditions were dusty and harsh, but that made better-quality components (and their availability) all that much more critical.

Bearings come in a staggering array of sizes and shapes, and without them, our whole world grinds to a halt (pretty much literally). Does anyone think of bearings at all, other than the small subset of a commercial enterprise that is responsible for dealing with the consequences directly if they don’t work?

Here’s a sobering story on the topic from a publication that may not earn space in your evening news hour – Bearing-News. A company called EZO Bearings supplies bearings for precision equipment including electric motors, power tools, flow meters, pumps, etc. According to an article in Bearing-News, a UK distributor of EZO’s bearings noted that, historically, bearings would arrive six to eight weeks after ordering. As of earlier this year, the distributor received a quote for delivery of 690 days – almost two years.

Getting back to the poor field mechanics that fixed the equipment that harsh conditions take a toll on: these mechanical magicians in a way became responsible for the day’s output. In a short growing season, every day’s output was critical. Alfalfa doesn’t spend much time at 10 percent bloom.

The mechanics’ stress level was immense, and they had choices to make that they didn’t want to. Wait for good parts? Or use the cheap stuff if that was all that was available? And what about how they had to race around the countryside – what happened when they got a flat tire or stuck on a bad road or whatever other issue can strike that no one can imagine unless they actually do this sort of thing?

Now, imagine their dilemma if they had to face a year-long wait for parts. There’s no good way to plan around that. How could you order parts for next year? Order duplicates of all of them, hundreds of them, and spend a fortune on inventory? Management frowns at those suggestions; they have their own issues that those further up the food chain deem critical.

Yes, all these issues should be in the domain of supply chain/procurement departments, whose job is to make sure everything is on hand. But all is not well there either, in a way which I suppose makes sense: “Furthermore, the hoarding fever is pushing the global supply chains to the edge of collapse,” reported a supply chain industry publication. Toilet paper and ball bearings…not interchangeable but so much in common.

In the Bearing-News article, one culprit of shortages is flagged as increasing energy prices. The skyrocketing cost of natural gas (and even coal, as the article notes) means that some of the critical input material supplies dry up, leading to either massive price spikes or sheer unavailability. In a way, high fuel/natural gas prices spawn a massive web of shortages through collateral damage.

Recently it was reported that a large aluminum smelter was cutting production by 22 percent due to soaring energy costs. You might think well that’s one facility, the world has many. And that’s true, except if the market is fairly balanced between supply and demand, who doesn’t get aluminum anymore? It’s not just a matter of price being bid up – something won’t get built that otherwise would have. Could it be bearings? Might be, or might be something else.

Maybe it’s alternator brackets, or engine parts, or who knows what. Hopefully, it is the peripheral stuff that gets cut – maybe huge TVs are significant consumers of the product, and life as we know it will carry on even if Best Buy is not stuffed with 8-foot screens. But we don’t know that that allocation will happen in an optimal way.

The point is that our world was built on a certain range of energy prices, and it only works in that range. Beyond that, systems break down. 

In the longer run, the industry will adapt – say over a 10 or 15-year period, chronically short aluminum supplies would lead to a rebalancing of demand and supply. Maybe cheap barbecues (or whatever) would no longer use aluminum, because more critical demand nodes (such as bearings) would step up to pay significantly more. 

That is how big structural changes can work, over time, and when price signals have had a chance to modify behaviour and/or consumption patterns.

Today’s global market is one of broken price signals, starting with energy. High oil/gas/coal prices mean the world is desperate for more, yet global production is being stifled by the class of people that have never sat in the driver’s seat of anything – yet ironically find themselves in the drivers’ seat of economies.

The world is in desperate need of increased supply of critical minerals and metals, while at the same time building a new mine becomes more and more challenging due to increasing regulatory and environmental constraints. That’s not saying environmental constraints are a bad thing, they may be a great thing from a habitat preservation perspective, but they are real impediments to new supply.

As society’s fortunes increase, succeeding generations become farther removed from where things really happen. People flock to cities, where food just appears in supermarkets, where fuel appears in gas stations, where power appears in sockets, where everything else is on Amazon and on the doorstep the next day. It’s a bit of an illusion. The appearance of all this stuff is not automatic.

Everyone’s job has deliverables, of some sort, and all are important in their own way. But many jobs, particularly at the manual labour/blue collar end, have a certain criticality to them that is not appreciated. A truck driver that crashes might delay a load of critical parts or supplies that can impact a production facility that can impact other production facilities. A cheap part used either to save money or because it was available can fail and cause similar cascading events.

The heat really is on front-line people in a way that other occupations don’t encounter. If a columnist fails to write a column in a given week, at the end of the day, who cares? If academic research gets delayed by a month or two, what happens in terms of a functioning society? If an analyst fails to analyze for a few weeks, it may impact the data flow into some economic model or economist’s musings, but there will be no supply chain impact.

A critical bearing failure, in a world that has to wait 690 days for a possible replacement, is an item worthy of our consideration.

A great gift to put under the tree to ward off holiday energy arguments. It works like a pacifier. Pick up “The End of Fossil Fuel Insanity” at, or  Thanks for the support. If you don’t buy the book, send some money to the good people of Ukraine and Iran who really need it. But one us for sure. Or both. Up to you. No pressure.

Read more insightful analysis from Terry Etam here, or email Terry here.

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Stephen Wilde
December 1, 2022 6:10 am

Decades of buying votes with taxpayer money and of the State interfering in ever increasing areas of day to day life.
A financial crash is coming which has energised authoritarian opponents of Western style Democracies.
All our currencies are debauched and the basic sciences have been abused for political agendas.
Over confidence since WW2 and complacency since the end of the Cold War has resulted in the greatest threat to the planet and its people.

Mr David Guy-Johnson
Reply to  Stephen Wilde
December 1, 2022 6:33 am

The authoritarian opponents of Western democracies are probably in an even worse state.

AGW is Not Science
Reply to  Mr David Guy-Johnson
December 1, 2022 6:59 am

Difference is, they’re improving their states, building up affordable, reliable energy sources and their industrial economies.

The western democracies, meanwhile, are destroying their economies by relentless attacks on energy production and use.

Reply to  AGW is Not Science
December 1, 2022 8:28 am

But please don’t let the Governments get involved in the allocation of scarce resources. Let the market decide — it works.

Scarecrow Repair
Reply to  AGW is Not Science
December 1, 2022 10:43 am

No they are not. If you have any faith in markets, and any distrust of planned economies, you could not claim that planned economy dictatorships are “improving their states, building up affordable, reliable energy sources and their industrial economies.”

Whatever parts of their economies they do manage to improve, they are worsening more parts elsewhere. Opportunity cost is a real thing.

Reply to  Stephen Wilde
December 1, 2022 6:41 am

Time for a cleaning of the house of cards of the leftists is long overdue. A return to the values of the past would go a long way towards straightening out the mess we are at this point.
The coming financial crash will take a lot of hard working folks with it, along with the snake oil salesmen and clowns who have brought us to this point. Hopefully, more of the latter than the former.

Reply to  guidvce4
December 1, 2022 8:28 am

But the folks who suffer most will be those upon whom we have depended to get the work done.

Tom Halla
December 1, 2022 6:18 am

A note on why the Mises criticism of socialism is right, that no one can possibly have enough information to do central planning. When one has “administered prices” in any area, one has bogus inputs on supply and demand.
Most of the greens are also socialists, and do not appreciate their folly.

Reply to  Tom Halla
December 1, 2022 8:10 am

I learned this lesson in high school. On my way to school, I used to pass a donut shop and I would often pick up a dozen donuts and sell them to my classmates in my first and second period electronics shop. I seem to recall paying about 10 cents each and selling them at 25 cents.

One day, my classmates decided to boycott. That ended that.

Reply to  Tom Halla
December 1, 2022 11:54 am

You are correct, but your emphasis is not. The greens are socialists first and primarily. Green is only a beard, which is why they are called watermelons.

Tom Halla
Reply to  slowroll
December 1, 2022 12:12 pm

One can be equally ignorant of both economics and biology separately. I would blame the education system, which tends to have a good number of profoundly ignorant teachers and administrators.

Mr David Guy-Johnson
December 1, 2022 6:32 am

The global market would work just fine if governments didn’t continually interfere in it. If it’s broken you need look no further if you want to apportion blame

Izaak Walton
Reply to  Mr David Guy-Johnson
December 1, 2022 2:00 pm

That is just nonsense. Markets do not exist without governments. Just for starters they need governments to provide a safe space for the market to operate, they need standard weights and measures to ensure fair prices, they need laws and a justice system to enforce contracts etc etc. Society gets to decide what level of government interference it wants but with zero government intervention markets do not function.

Reply to  Izaak Walton
December 1, 2022 3:05 pm

Isaac claims that markets do not exist without governments. Wrong sense.
Reverse causation argument wins.
Governments do not exist without markets.
Governments could make millions of regulations, but they would be meaningless without the products of markets upon which to work.
People fall naturally into two groups, those with the wills and skills to benefit others; and those who are unhappy and lost unless others tell them what to do.
The second group has become by far the largest. Too many folk will demand a body like a government should provide them with tomatoes because they do not know that they can grow their own. It is getting worse by the passing of each decade.
Most of the “work” done by modern governments is completely without real need. Government people exist mainly to make rules and regulations to make more work load for them to enforce and invent ever more. We have concepts like “sit down money” with governments paying people to do nothing because that is cheaper and easier than telling these poor souls to look after their own personal needs. In most western economies the situation is ludicrous with the dominant classical case of the lame leading the blind.
We need an organisation called government, but only with the rule that it only takes on functions like national defence, customs, where there is a clear advantage from a group approach as opposed to personal. Oh for a return to these basic guidance principles!
Geoff S

Izaak Walton
Reply to  sherro01
December 1, 2022 5:11 pm

Which would you prefer: a market where you know that contracts will be enforced fairly, the traders used the correct measures, that you wouldn’t be robbed on the way home, that others didn’t have inside information or colluded with other merchants to raise prices or one where the government stepped in prevent all of that? A bit of thought shows that the basic rule of law is necessary for markets to exist.

We get to set the rules for markets so that they work how we want them to. We decide that insider trading should be illegal and that governments should prevent monopolies and trusts. That is a choice and requires active government intervention in the market.

December 1, 2022 7:05 am

The Roads Must Roll.

How easily we* forget those who keep everything running.

* society at large

Reply to  Tony_G
December 1, 2022 12:16 pm

Reminds me of a poem by Robert Service.

If you and I should chance to meet,
I guess you wouldn’t care;
I’m sure you’d pass me in the street
As if I wasn’t there;
You’d never look me in the face,
My modest mug to scan,
Because I’m just a commonplace
    And Ordinary Man.

But then, it may be, you are too
A guy of every day,
Who does the job he’s told to do
And takes the wife his pay;
Who makes a home and kids his care,
And works with pick or pen. . . .
Why, Pal, I guess we’re just a pair
    Of Ordinary Men.

We plug away and make no fuss,
Our feats are never crowned;
And yet it’s common coves like us
Who make the world go round.
And as we steer a steady course
By God’s predestined plan,
Hats off to that almighty Force:

December 1, 2022 7:12 am

What is it about a woke government and W.E.F. driven substantial reduction in our standard of living don’t people understand. Life in the 1930’s depression wasn’t so bad, now was it?

Peta of Newark
December 1, 2022 7:15 am

Maybe the bearings are a bit off but, witness Joe Brandon or Greta (Boris never had any), collectively the Western World has lost its marbles.

I emphasize the ‘western’ bit because the whole rest of the world now treats The West as many commentators round here treat Greta.
……they’re taking the piss

December 1, 2022 8:26 am

Heresy Alert — Maybe Just In Time Inventory wasn’t such a good idea after all? Or maybe it should have been implemented the way the Japanese did it, with the suppliers factories right next to the buyer’s.

Frank from NoVA
Reply to  Retired_Engineer_Jim
December 1, 2022 9:34 am

JIT inventory management allows for greater efficiencies in manufacturing processes. The fact that climate alarmism and other government interventions is making this less feasible is NOT good news.

Reply to  Frank from NoVA
December 1, 2022 5:23 pm

Sometimes; and sometimes it just pushes the inventory burden upstream.

Scarecrow Repair
Reply to  Retired_Engineer_Jim
December 1, 2022 10:46 am

Whether or not it would work just fine on its own is impossible to know. Whether or not any economy works better with government meddling is well-known as NO.

Reply to  Retired_Engineer_Jim
December 2, 2022 8:16 am

Jerks In Trouble

December 1, 2022 8:52 am

The world is ending, how long it will take is anybody’s guess.

Reason and common sense are heresy

Is Ru Paul XY?

Joel O’Bryan
December 1, 2022 8:59 am

Author discusses ball bearings and aluminum and then says,
Maybe cheap barbecues (or whatever) would no longer use aluminum, because more critical demand nodes (such as bearings) would step up to pay significantly more.”
(ed: my Bold for emphasis.)

Now I’m not doubting there maybe a global supply chain problem coming for bearings, but…

How much of world’s bearings (ball and roller) are made of aluminum? I’d bet close to zero. Mechanically aluminum can’t hold up to the heat, wear, and stress in most applications.

Reply to  Joel O’Bryan
December 1, 2022 9:58 am

As an engineer, that was my first reaction.

Reply to  Joel O’Bryan
December 1, 2022 12:19 pm

Just as an aluminum barbecue would soon become a hardened pool of melted aluminum.

Alexy Scherbakoff
Reply to  Joel O’Bryan
December 1, 2022 4:36 pm

Gave me a giggle.

Reply to  Joel O’Bryan
December 1, 2022 5:25 pm

You folks might be a tad too literal.

Alexy Scherbakoff
Reply to  roaddog
December 1, 2022 6:25 pm

Some things grind the gears.

Reply to  Alexy Scherbakoff
December 4, 2022 2:24 pm

Well, there are bearings in this world, still in use, that are made from wood. How does that suit your gears?

December 1, 2022 9:24 am

All made worse by civil servants getting in the way – blocking and/or changing the price signal if you will….

December 1, 2022 9:28 am

The world will just have to live with short term political expediency and special interest brokering.

Not much has changed since the days of serfs and lords except maybe the organizational names and methods of distraction and delay.

Ben Vorlich
December 1, 2022 9:36 am

I spent most my working life in manufacturing, mainly electronics. One of the greatest problems in terms of maintaining output and quality were purchasing departments cutting costs. Usually by sourcing components from a cheaper supplier. This would cause a great backlog in production while supplies of the original component were sourced, often with a long delay. Worse was when the lower cost part had a high rate of early life failures.
Value Engineering without the evaluation is not that sensible a way to make stuff.

Reply to  Ben Vorlich
December 1, 2022 5:25 pm

Exactly right.

Dodgy Geezer
December 1, 2022 9:48 am

You know who I rate? The sewage workers.

Without proper disposal of human waste we would have no cities, high levels of endemic disease, and average life-spans of perhaps half of what we have today. The invention and development of proper sewage systems is responsible for far more lives saved than the entire medical profession.

And yet no one ever even thinks of them…

Joseph Zorzin
Reply to  Dodgy Geezer
December 1, 2022 10:32 am

I try to not think of them- but of course, they are important. 🙂 The hard working folks I tend to think of and respect are old time Yankee farmers, here in New England.

December 1, 2022 10:12 am

As society’s fortunes increase, succeeding generations become farther removed from where things really happen. People flock to cities, where food just appears in supermarkets, where fuel appears in gas stations, where power appears in sockets, where everything else is on Amazon and on the doorstep the next day. It’s a bit of an illusion. The appearance of all this stuff is not automatic.”

I like this paragraph. I have preached for years about city-dwellers, including self-described “environmentalists,” who have no concept of the sources of their food, energy and products, nor the processes needed to deliver them. Folks in the rarified atmospheres of government, academia and activist NGOs are even further removed. Thus, New Yorkers (the city, not the state) vote to ban natural gas and fuel oil and hope to power their city on pinwheels, then will be dumbstruck when they find themselves freezing in the dark, or unable to afford the added cost of living.

Joseph Zorzin
December 1, 2022 10:33 am

Supposedly, Russia doesn’t have much in the way of modern industry for producing the best bearings and that’s going to hurt them in this war and it’ll hurt their economy for years.

Mr Ed
December 1, 2022 10:45 am

I was thumbing through some quarterly reports in my retirement accounts and
in one energy holding it was disclosed that an offshore drilling permit was
8000 pages long with 92 separate conditions, and the process was over
a year in length in minimum.

December 1, 2022 11:00 am

The heat really is on front-line people in a way that other occupations don’t encounter. If a columnist fails to write a column in a given week, at the end of the day, who cares? …”
Quite, but the new ‘front-line’ are the health workers, isn’t that how it works on a battle field? And here is an extract from Klaus Schwab’s ‘excellent’ book where he wants to reset the world because there was a flu going round:
Page 95 The return of “big” government – “Taxation will increase, particularly for the most privileged, because governments will need to strengthen their resilience capabilities and wish to invest more heavily in them. As advocated by Joseph Stiglitz: “The first priority is to provide more funding for the public sector, especially for those parts of it that are designed to protect against the multitude of risks that a complex society faces, and to fund the advances in science and higher-quality education, on which our future prosperity depends. These are areas in which productive jobs – researchers, teachers, and those who help run the institutions that support them – can be created quickly. Even as we emerge from this crisis, we should be aware that some other crisis surely lurks around the corner.”

Reply to  sskinner
December 1, 2022 2:47 pm

“Taxation will increase, particularly for the most privileged, because governments will need to…

Question for Dr. Evil: If governments can create money out of thin air, why would anyone need to be taxed? (I suspect the “most privileged” bit gives the answer away.)

December 1, 2022 12:07 pm

This article is a fine description of how and why governments screwing with our energy supplies causes inflation. Cost of transport and fuel to run machiney effects the price of everything, bar none, but some more than others. Also causes shortages and long lead times because of hoarding (when possible), further driving inflation. But, since bureaucrats are all first order effect people, they never consider all this–it just does not occur to them. Perhaps best described by the late, great Ronald Reagan…liberals have a solution for everything that is obvious, simple, and wrong.

another ian
December 1, 2022 12:56 pm
Reply to  another ian
December 1, 2022 5:26 pm

The Buffet pipeline explodes. Again.

December 1, 2022 1:06 pm

What is the thesis of this article? There seems to be a diffuse concern about getting stuff done, labor issues and supply chain issues etc. In general the concern is about real on the job productivity…and the economy getting closer to collapsing due to the lack of needed stuff.

  • the pandemic unleashed untold harm on our political system, economy and worker productivity.
  • Reset people were salivating for some sort of stack holder green revolution and
  • Putin saw it as an opportunity to grab Ukraine and total control of Europe and Central Asia energy and commodities markets.
  • Corporations and governments sent their brains home into stupid virtual formats. Problems piled up and were forgotten and stuff didn’t get done and no one cared
  • Gov’t checks flowed like water over heating the money supply
  • A big bolus of highly productive high quality Boomer employees retired.
  • In the vacuum of the pandemic, swarms of carpet bagging fringe movements sought to fill the gap and join the global reset of stupidity. This created a huge online vortex of wasted energy.
  • Commodities were hoarded on both a macro and micro scale.
  • Millons (8-23 million depending on the stats and studies you read) of work age people ages 25-54 became discouraged workers (unemployed and not looking for work) by the millions. Reasons, (paternal affluence, Phone addiction, Anxiety about the threats, Opioid addiction, Black Market, under the stable employment etc)
  • Young people became addicted to their phones by the millions and have trouble doing anything else or getting anything else done
  • The opioid crisis doubled.
  • Inflation was the obvious result of the pandemic response and it has many causative factors:commodities/hydrocarbon cartel/collusion, Poor productivity, high percentage of working age discouraged workers, rising wages, giant flow of government money in hand outs, and low interests priming the banking industry cash creating machine during a housing bubble driven by newly laid off worker seeking to support themselves flipping houses. .

Yeah, it will take 2-4 years for the economy to return to stable footing and for corporations and governments to get back to work …people we lulled into a pandemic slumber…. takes time to recover. Yeah for a guy like me at 67 and still working, the 401K/IRA Market hit is hard to take but so was 2008. 2008 was a small blip in a hail storm big returns of a 10 year bull market for those people who didn’t sell out for a lose in 2008.

It will take first class leadership at all levels top down. And it will take for us to stop preaching doomsday to support our argument or political commitments.

Yeah it sucks and it will keep sucking for a while until everyone Top to Bottom get’s off their A’s and gets off their phones and back to work.

Reply to  JC
December 1, 2022 2:54 pm

the pandemic unleashed untold harm on our political system, economy and worker productivity.

We need to stop blaming a virus for doing things viruses can’t do. Almost everything charged to “the pandemic” was caused by human fear, human lust for power, and/or human ignorance.

Ben Vorlich
Reply to  damp
December 2, 2022 4:30 am

Or put another way
The cure was worse than the illness.
Very much like Net Zero

Reply to  Ben Vorlich
December 2, 2022 8:14 am

Yeah same sort of propaganda approach, (pandemic/climate). Threat and fear only works if it is backed by authority and worse case examples cherry picked and paraded to give reality to the threat. Once people are afraid they will verify the threat through exaggeration and misinformation all on their own. The truth of the threat is validated by fear…truth validated by fear trumps other truths, distinctions in arguments and complexities and inconsistencies of what is being portrayed as `00% all true.

After a while people burn out on it as we have seen in China. After a while people will risk anything for relationships to be restored and life to return to normal. Climate as an existential threat (climate and pandemic threat is a null set for me) isn’t motivating a ton of people in the US. Only 3% of America voters stated they were concerned about climate. This means that many climate warriors and leftists are people who are more concerned about other agendas than climate threat…in their personal life. Yet they are full bore on the bandwagon because it supports their actual agendas.

BTW I had a very bad virus in December 2019, doc said it was a coronavirus…a unusually bad one especially for older folks. I coughed my head off for two weeks, couldn’t smell anything, had diarrhea and felt like crap until mid March 2020. Everyone in my Church was sick with it in December 2019. A couple of people who had severe chronic illness were hospitalized with it. My young adult kids ignored the lock down and spent time with many friends sick with probably COVID and never became ill because we all already had COVID in December 2019. Then Omicron hit last December and we were all sick with it and my daughter tested all of us with a home test and we were all positive for COVID (like most of the rest of the country) and were well in 3 days or less. The non-COVID/Omicron viruses this season have been far worse. We have had 3-4 colds fly through the family and all worse than Omicron. We need the immunity.

Reply to  JC
December 2, 2022 8:19 am

Omicron was better than any vaccination. LOL

Reply to  damp
December 2, 2022 7:49 am

Agreed, though I didn’t blame the virus. I blamed the pandemic implying the our response to the pandemic is what has done the damage. Don’t get me going on the virus and the pandemic itself. I sit in the middle of ae health care vortex and watched it unfold … the exaggerations, the bogus admission diagnosis etc. As I did during the the H1N1 pandemic in 2009. The COVID pandemic response was and designed and built around the failure of the H1N1 2 pandemic motivate the kind of response desired. This time the WHO had all it’s ducks in a row. There was no panic in December 2019 when the hospitals began to fill up a bit due to respiratory illness due to an unknown virus and people test positive for a general coronavirus, (before COVID 19 was even known in the US). There is clear evidence that COVID-19 was well underway on East Coast in December 2019. Testing specific for COVID 19 only made matters worse.

December 1, 2022 1:55 pm

The developed countries can only hope that China continues to sell the stuff subsidised with their low cost coal.

China can never replicate what Japan achieved – growing wealthy before growing old. But they can grow powerful before growing old and power commands wealth.

China currently subsidises global manufacturing; paying just CNY700/tonne for internally mined thermal coal. That price is locked in through 2023.

China will need to control access to vast quantities of coal beyond their borders by the end of this century to sustain global manufacturing at anywhere close to the current rate.

December 1, 2022 3:36 pm

Ted Kaczynski had even more to say on this subject. He would be a vocal supporter of this breakdown and collapse. He tries to explain his reasons, and I understand the gist of them. But the price could be catastrophic if you are not in the position to make the payment.

December 1, 2022 5:21 pm

American-made bearings manufactured from domestic materials (a genuinely endangered species) are available, but imported product dominates in agricultural machinery. There are difficulties in obtaining some materials, we’re all struggling with that, but primarily people are victims of OEM component selection processes that are dominated by price criteria, with little thought given to quality, reliability or availability. Want to really screw up a supply chain? Make it as long as it can possibly be.

Try getting a key fob for a Ram truck right now!

December 1, 2022 5:54 pm

I saw a recent estimate that 25% of US aluminum production (likely the cleanest in the world) is currently shuttered, due to high energy prices.

Given the far higher energy prices observed in Europe, it’s difficult to imagine nations like Germany being able to competitively manufacture any industrial product at this time. This accrues to the benefit of nations like China, who absolutely don’t care about carbon emissions. Activist environmentalist governments regulate the living hell out of safe, clean, well-run factories in their own countries; the business moves to far dirtier operations in Asia, and the result is a net increase in carbon emissions. Pure insanity.

Paul B
December 2, 2022 3:15 am

When I was 13-16 I worked on a dairy farm, mostly cutting, raking and bailing hay. This was in the days of 50-60 lb bails. I ran all the heavy equipment, usually alone in the fields. If something broke (every day) I fixed it.

The only time I wasn’t alone was when we picked up the bails. There were three of us. The biggest guy (who was the size of a right guard) drove the truck and drank beer. The middle size guy (who was the size of a linebacker) caught and stacked the bails in the truck bed. He only drank beer about every fifth bail. The littlest guy( that would be me around 110 lbs) threw the bails up to the stacker guy amidst a brown rain of dust and chaff.

It made me very healthy in the end. I was very wiry and had zero fat. It also made me an engineer. I learned that being the low man on the totem pole doesn’t get beer.

joe x
December 2, 2022 5:21 am

i am a little late to this discussion. for what it is worth. i find the use of the ball bearing as the article center point brilliant. ww2 as an example, the allies most high value targets for bombing and sabotage were nazi bearing manufacturing and fuel disruption. it can not be over emphasized how the disruption of these two commodities helped end the war. today, the war on the west being waged by the reset army does not use tanks, planes or rifles. they use information manipulation and regulations. information control=ball bearings. regulation=control of energy. the battle we are in, and it is a battle, needs to be waged against those two most precious commodities. it is essential this site and others similar in subject matter become more main stream. we are all norton bomb sights.

Reply to  joe x
December 4, 2022 2:28 pm

Sadly, the US government has dropped a lot of essential restrictions on the (nation of origin and) procurement of bearings used in military hardware. This has placed the nation at grave risk of supply shortages in times of armed international disagreement. Cost us a few jobs and put the reliability of some important military hardware at risk as well.

December 2, 2022 7:58 am

Wait till the power goes off.

Reply to  cimdave
December 4, 2022 2:29 pm

We won’t be waiting long.

December 5, 2022 10:58 pm

“This article is a fine description of how and why governments screwing with our energy supplies causes inflation. Cost of transport and fuel to run machiney effects the price of everything, bar none, but some more than others. Also causes shortages and long lead times because of hoarding (when possible), further driving inflation. But, since bureaucrats are all first order effect people, they never consider all this–it just does not occur to them. Perhaps best described by the late, great Ronald Reagan…liberals have a solution for everything that is obvious, simple, and wrong.”

Main problem was(and is) that government trying to do something to energy prices causes a chain reaction in everything. Currently a lot of essential goods(some types of food, energy, specific materials) are leaping in price and it’s all due to 1 small twitch in price equilibrium. Hell, I went to shop for ammo the other day for my sig sauer and what have I seen? All the prices are up just like during COVID. At least supply is much more steady compared to 2019 on all of those goods(and I’m not talking just ammo) but prices are outrageous!

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