One year since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, supply and demand in the global economy have both gone haywire. At the beginning of the crisis, there was a panic over the supply of basic necessities, with selfish shoppers hoarding up toilet paper and bottled water. Shortly thereafter, demand vanished for in-person services in restaurants, live entertainment, and retail, leading to massive unemployment that further limited demand. At the same time, consumer spending in general shifted massively towards internet-based services, helping make America’s billionaires 40% richer by January than a year earlier. Amazon’s employment has nearly doubled to address this demand.

Enhanced by the Trump and Biden stimulus payments, these dramatic shifts in demand are leading to new shortages. The most complex goods in short supply today are semiconductor computer chips. The reasons why are not hard to identify. Huge numbers of white…

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