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FTC Orders Major Retailers to Document Supply Chain Disruptions

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FTC Orders Major Retailers to Document Supply Chain Disruptions
Posted by Convicted One on Tuesday, November 30, 2021 7:12 PM

Link

 

The Federal Trade Commission is launching a probe into on-going supply chain disruptions, and has ordered nine large retailers -- including Amazon and Walmart -- to provide detailed information on factors disrupting their ability to obtain, transport and distribute their products.

The FTC study comes as economists blame supply chain issues in large part for the supply-demand imbalances contributing to inflation, as consumer prices rose at their fastest rate in decades last month....

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Posted by daveklepper on Wednesday, December 1, 2021 2:51 AM

Thanks for posting.

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Posted by Convicted One on Wednesday, December 1, 2021 10:16 AM

I can't help but to suspect that this is to some degree a created crisis, designed to reap benefits from the "recovery". I could be completely wrong about that,  as I said, it's just a personal suspicion.

Perhaps it's just a determination by those in the position trying to make up for losses incurred during the  lock down.....and it just had a snowball effect. I really can't say for sure.

But, in the back of my mind I have to wonder if something like that might be motivating the FTC to investigate.

Sort of a "ok, why isn't this problem being solved, and who is benefitting from it?" sort of thing.

I realize the naysayers like to lampoon such thinking as necessarily "tin foil hat" type stuff, because doing so makes them feel evolved and accomplished.  But, stranger things have happened.

Strictly as an aside, I'd think the owners of the transoceanic shipping coumpanies would see it as quite a coup if  they somehow managed to eat Walmart's dinner, in a "I'll have some of what he's having" sort of way.

Mischief 

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Posted by Convicted One on Wednesday, December 1, 2021 10:25 AM

I believe there are "conspiracy nuts", as well as "anti-conspiracy" nuts.  And the truth is usually found somewhere in between.

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Posted by BaltACD on Wednesday, December 1, 2021 10:29 AM

Convicted One
I can't help but to suspect that this is to some degree a created crisis, designed to reap benefits from the "recovery". I could be completely wrong about that,  as I said, it's just a personal suspicion.

Perhaps it's just a determination by those in the position trying to make up for losses incurred during the  lock down.....and it just had a snowball effect. I really can't say for sure.

But, in the back of my mind I have to wonder if something like that might be motivating the FTC to investigate.

Sort of a "ok, why isn't this problem being solved, and who is benefitting from it?" sort of thing.

I realize the naysayers like to lampoon such thinking as necessarily "tin foil hat" type stuff, because doing so makes them feel evolved and accomplished.  But, stranger things have happened.

Strictly as an aside, I'd think the owners of the transoceanic shipping coumpanies would see it as quite a coup if  they somehow managed to eat Walmart's dinner, in a "I'll have some of what he's having" sort of way.

Mischief 

All crisis are created by 'someone'.

The problem is in pealing back the layers of the 'onion' to find the responsibile party(s).  As with onions, each layer that is pealed back will make one cry - generally with anger and disgust.

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Posted by Euclid on Wednesday, December 1, 2021 10:30 AM
From the link:
 
The FTC study comes as economists blame supply chain issues in large part for the supply-demand imbalances contributing to inflation, as consumer prices rose at their fastest rate in decades last month.
 
"The FTC has a long history of pursuing market studies to deepen our understanding of economic conditions and business conduct, and we should continue to make nimble and timely use of these information-gathering tools and authorities," Khan added.
 
*********************************************
 
Economists also blame the inflating of the money supply by printing money for emergency spending to subsidize people during the lockdown; and also the massive deficit spending for new legislation both passed and anticipated.  Not only do economists blame those causes, but they also have been emphatically predicting that those causes would produce significant or catastrophic inflation.  This despite being reassured by the Administration that this recent onset of inflation was only transitory. 
 

Maybe the FTC can make "nimble and timely use of their information-gathering tools" to deepen their understating of the effect of deficit spending inflating the money supply, which is a classic and well known cause of inflation.  

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Posted by Convicted One on Wednesday, December 1, 2021 10:38 AM

Euclid
Maybe the FTC can make "nimble and timely use of their information-gathering tools" to deepen their understating of the effect of deficit spending inflating the money supply, which is a classic and well known cause of inflation.  

I share your sentiment, but lets try to veer away from the political end, doing so will only invite the wrath, etc.

But yeah, I can even envision a "cause and effect" where suppliers see all that cash in people's pockets, and are competing with one another to see which one of them can soak up the most before their competitors do...that sort of thing.  Once in a generation sort of opportunity.

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Posted by Convicted One on Wednesday, December 1, 2021 10:42 AM

BaltACD
All crisis are created by 'someone'. The problem is in pealing back the layers of the 'onion' to find the responsibile party(s).  As with onions, each layer that is pealed back will make one cry - generally with anger and disgust.

I enjoyed your response, suspect that it's right on the nose. But just to emphasize my intent with branding the crisis as "created", I was thinking along the lines of the root being synthetic, or for purpose.  Something happening because somone decided  to make it happen, sort of thing.

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Posted by Shadow the Cats owner on Wednesday, December 1, 2021 11:19 AM

This is being a sarcastic post here for the most part.  But whoever thought shutting down the world's largest economy along with all the trade in the world to basically combat a slightly more severe form of the flu virus was a good thing.  The entire world runs on a just in time inventory system that was destroyed.  Before someone rips me apart for saying that this is a serious disease my husband lost his mother to it.  

So who's the best to blame let's start with the media that made this crap into a monster worse than it truly is.  Then the blame needs to go onto the leaders of the world that panicked to the point where the people who were fighting it on the front lines saw what worked against it were being ignored by their leaders advisors paid off by the big dollar donors.  

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Posted by CMStPnP on Wednesday, December 1, 2021 11:38 AM

Awesome Idea on FTC's part!!!!!    Nail those responsible!!!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j_QLzthSkfM

 

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Posted by CMStPnP on Wednesday, December 1, 2021 11:42 AM

BaltACD
All crisis are created by 'someone'. The problem is in pealing back the layers of the 'onion' to find the responsibile party(s).  As with onions, each layer that is pealed back will make one cry - generally with anger and disgust.

Totally agree and the FINGER POINTING on this one issue tells you immediately more than one party is responsible or exacerbating the problem.

You know I participate on NEXT DOOR app from time to time and it is very freakin clear our local Kroger store manager is inept at inventory management yet his employees as well as himself are blaming the pandemic.    The idiot keeps running out of easy to obtain products like regular COKE when the stores around him have no issues with stock.   Sorry dude IT'S YOU or IT'S KROGER fess up!!!!!

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Posted by BaltACD on Wednesday, December 1, 2021 11:55 AM

CMStPnP
 
BaltACD
All crisis are created by 'someone'. The problem is in pealing back the layers of the 'onion' to find the responsibile party(s).  As with onions, each layer that is pealed back will make one cry - generally with anger and disgust. 

Totally agree and the FINGER POINTING on this one issue tells you immediately more than one party is responsible or exacerbating the problem.

You know I participate on NEXT DOOR app from time to time and it is very freakin clear our local Kroger store manager is inept at inventory management yet his employees as well as himself are blaming the pandemic.    The idiot keeps running out of easy to obtain products like regular COKE when the stores around him have no issues with stock.   Sorry dude IT'S YOU or IT'S KROGER fess up!!!!!

One thing we have to think about - most stores/organizations utilize some form of computer inventory control - control that is coupled with the Point of Sale terminals for the store.  In theory sell a 100 units and then order 100 units, in reality - who knows!

As we most all know from our personal experiences - few people really understand the computer applications that they have to interact with - most especially those involved in 'management' tend to be the least competent among those that have to interact with computer application. 

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Posted by Shadow the Cats owner on Wednesday, December 1, 2021 12:19 PM

There is a saying that people that are incompatent are normally protected by those around them.  That is particually true in the retail industry where the good workers are never promoted as they are kept in the trenches so to speak to allow those that fail to get promoted to get them out of the way.  

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Posted by Euclid on Wednesday, December 1, 2021 1:05 PM

Convicted One

But yeah, I can even envision a "cause and effect" where suppliers see all that cash in people's pockets, and are competing with one another to see which one of them can soak up the most before their competitors do...that sort of thing.  Once in a generation sort of opportunity.

 
That is not the primary effect of inflating the money supply.   Although I do expect that FTC with their nimble and timely use of information gathering, is going to come exactly to that conclusion that you refer to.   They are wearing the tin hats and looking for the best conspiracy to blame the inflation on as a diversion from the real cause. 
 
That real cause is not that capitalists smell money in people’s pockets and move to get their hands on it by price gouging.  The real cause is that people with newly gifted money in their pockets feel richer, and thus are motivated to increase the consumption of products they desire.  So they raise their demand.  Fundamentally per Econ 101, raising demand raises prices.  
 
What normally sets prices is what the customers are willing to pay.  There is not an arbitrary “fair price doctrine” that sets prices.  When you sell your house, you first look around at what similar, nearby houses have sold for.  With that market information, you do your best to set your price as high as buyers are likely willing to pay.
 
If suddenly there is an increase of home buyers, they will often compete and be willing to pay a higher price because they don’t want to lose the deal if someone else offers higher than the asking price.  So sellers naturally raise their prices because they know that an increase in buyers means they will be willing to pay more. 
 
Money in your pocket normally comes at a price in that you have to work for it.  But extra money gifted to you as in the case of emergency shutdown relief naturally raises consumer demand.  The rising prices are not first caused by suppliers seeing more money in peoples’ pockets.  It is first caused by consumers realizing they have more money in their pockets, and then bidding against each other for products that more people suddenly desire because they have more money.  Nobody is misbehaving in this equation. 
 
All of this has nothing to do with the primary cause of this inflation possibly being caused by the Fed inflating the money supply by “printing money” which then materializes as the damage of money that nobody has actually earned.  
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Posted by azrail on Wednesday, December 1, 2021 1:28 PM

At the conclusion the FTC will find nothing.Just like with gas prices.

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Posted by Flintlock76 on Wednesday, December 1, 2021 1:51 PM

Shadow the Cats owner

There is a saying that people that are incompatent are normally protected by those around them.  That is particually true in the retail industry where the good workers are never promoted as they are kept in the trenches so to speak to allow those that fail to get promoted to get them out of the way.  

 

Oh yeah, something I learned a long time ago.  Sometimes if you're too good at your job you'll never get promoted up the ladder because those who'd promote you don't know how they'd replace you!  

It doesn't happen everywhere of course, but it happens often enough. 

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Posted by Flintlock76 on Wednesday, December 1, 2021 1:55 PM

CMStPnP
You know I participate on NEXT DOOR app from time to time and it is very freakin clear our local Kroger store manager is inept at inventory management yet his employees as well as himself are blaming the pandemic.    The idiot keeps running out of easy to obtain products like regular COKE when the stores around him have no issues with stock.   Sorry dude IT'S YOU or IT'S KROGER fess up!!!!!

Uh-huh.  The wife tells me the shelves at the local Walmart look like something from a former Warsaw Pact country, empty of things not in short supply.  So she'll go to the Publix or Kroger and find it there.  Publix and Kroger will be out of other things.  Then it's back to Walmart. 

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Posted by MP173 on Wednesday, December 1, 2021 2:15 PM

Why cannot it be obvious when there are 70+ ocean container ships off shore that there is a problem?  Companies are moving from "just in time" ordering to "just in case" ordering vastly increasing their inventories and putting more and more pressure on suppliers and supply chain.

Not just companies...how many of us have stocked our pantries?  We have a full freezer and enough food to last several months...but we always do.  Life as normal for us, including the 100 home canned jars of vegetables from the garden.

Ed

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Posted by n012944 on Wednesday, December 1, 2021 2:48 PM

Convicted One

I can't help but to suspect that this is to some degree a created crisis, designed to reap benefits from the "recovery". I could be completely wrong about that,  as I said, it's just a personal suspicion.

Perhaps it's just a determination by those in the position trying to make up for losses incurred during the  lock down.....and it just had a snowball effect. I really can't say for sure.

 

 

I agree in a way.  I don't think the "crisis" was created.  I think that a perfect storm  happened, and the people who should have caught it were not paying attention.  That being said, I think many companies have seen that they actually benefit from it.  So they are in no hurry to fix the issues.

An "expensive model collector"

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Posted by BaltACD on Wednesday, December 1, 2021 4:28 PM

One thing everyone wants to gloss over - EVERY step in the supply chain has a finite capacity - when operating 'beyond capacity' everything goes slower and costs more as the 'article' will have to have more handling than is necessary when the step is operating within capacity.  Multiple links in the chain being stressed beyond each links capacity and we get to watch it taking place in real time.

Each link is 'trying to buy time' in handling what is necessary to be handled - buying time costs money in many different ways and also burns time.

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Posted by tree68 on Wednesday, December 1, 2021 4:50 PM

Convicted One

I believe there are "conspiracy nuts", as well as "anti-conspiracy" nuts.  And the truth is usually found somewhere in between.

Likewise, I believe that conspiracy theories, like legends, usually have some modicum of truch about them.  

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Posted by Convicted One on Wednesday, December 1, 2021 4:52 PM

Euclid
which then materializes as the damage of money that nobody has actually earned.  

 

Sure, blame the victim...Pirate

 

Euclid
That real cause is not that capitalists smell money in people’s pockets and move to get their hands on it by price gouging.

 

Well, I guess we'll just have to differ there. I sincerely believe that to be a factor (one among several).  Just the knowledge that the trees are full of fruit is enough to get some people kicking themselves unless they are out there picking at sunrise.

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Posted by Euclid on Wednesday, December 1, 2021 6:22 PM

Convicted One

 

 
Euclid
which then materializes as the damage of money that nobody has actually earned.  

 

 

Sure, blame the victim...Pirate

 

I am not blaming the victim.  All of us are the victim and will all share the misery.  Don’t get me wrong.  When I refer to money that nobody has actually earned, I am not criticizing people for cashing in on something they don’t deserve because they never earned it.  I am only referring to so-called “printed money” which is created with value for which no actual production has been done to justify the instilled value. 
 
So now we must all engage in the production of work product necessary to justify the value that is symbolized in the “printed money.”  In effect, the Fed has given us each a new mortgage on a loan that we will pay back by paying the price increases caused by inflation—once again proving that there is no such thing as a free lunch.    
 
The only relationship any of this has with the supply chain crisis is that the sudden demand spike caused by the seemingly free money is breaking the supply chain, which is now demonstrating that it is so “just in time” that it has no reserve capacity to handle a demand surge as the one we are now having.  There has never been a similar demand surge since off-shoring began, so nobody saw this coming. 
 
The pretext of this was that it was needed to jump start the economy.  The reality seems to be that it is being used as a handy way to raise general revenue to fund programs. 
 
In my opinion, the supply chain crisis and all the finger pointing in it is just the “shiny object” to take our attention away from the real problem which is monetary action that has unexpectedly triggered the supply chain problem.  And the FTC is polishing that shiny object.   
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Posted by Convicted One on Wednesday, December 1, 2021 7:54 PM

Euclid
I am only referring to so-called “printed money” which is created with value for which no actual production has been done to justify the instilled value. 

I get the gist of what you mean by that, and in principle agree with you. But there are so many wealthy people out there who contribute no tangible productive work, yet manage to flourish, ...not to mention all the criminals who do perform substantial work, but none of it productive for anyone but themselves....yet the system trudges on,...so I'm reluctant to agree that $3,200 given to every taxpayer "free" is going to plunder what the above has not. (the damage of spending unearned money)

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Posted by Murphy Siding on Wednesday, December 1, 2021 8:37 PM

Convicted One

I can't help but to suspect that this is to some degree a created crisis, designed to reap benefits from the "recovery". I could be completely wrong about that,  as I said, it's just a personal suspicion.

Perhaps it's just a determination by those in the position trying to make up for losses incurred during the  lock down.....and it just had a snowball effect. I really can't say for sure.

But, in the back of my mind I have to wonder if something like that might be motivating the FTC to investigate.

Sort of a "ok, why isn't this problem being solved, and who is benefitting from it?" sort of thing.

I realize the naysayers like to lampoon such thinking as necessarily "tin foil hat" type stuff, because doing so makes them feel evolved and accomplished.  But, stranger things have happened.

Strictly as an aside, I'd think the owners of the transoceanic shipping coumpanies would see it as quite a coup if  they somehow managed to eat Walmart's dinner, in a "I'll have some of what he's having" sort of way.

Mischief 

 

I think you're giving too much credit to a government beauracracy. People started shouting "Somebody's gotta do something!" So the FTC says "We'll do something! We'll look into things and get to the bottom of the matter!" And then nothing meaningful ever gets accomplished, other than the FTC looking good in the eyes of the republic. It makes me think of all those things accomplished by congessional hearings and such.

Thanks to Chris / CopCarSS for my avatar.

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Posted by Euclid on Thursday, December 2, 2021 7:17 AM

Convicted One

 

 
Euclid
I am only referring to so-called “printed money” which is created with value for which no actual production has been done to justify the instilled value. 

 

I get the gist of what you mean by that, and in principle agree with you. But there are so many wealthy people out there who contribute no tangible productive work, yet manage to flourish, ...not to mention all the criminals who do perform substantial work, but none of it productive for anyone but themselves....yet the system trudges on,...so I'm reluctant to agree that $3,200 given to every taxpayer "free" is going to plunder what the above has not. (the damage of spending unearned money)

 

Well, you may be right.  Maybe this inflation will just fizzle out and end soon.  That would certainly be a sweet relief.  And I have no idea how much printed money will result in a certain amount of inflation.  It is possible for inflation to rise to a certain level and then hold at a constant rate of accumulation for some time.  But at the moment, inflation seems to be rising at an increasing rate.  So the effect is exponential.  Right now the complaints about the current inflation seem to be exaggerated.  It is the potential effect that worries me.  The Country has never experience inflation at is greatest potential.  At that potential, I expect it to be much worse than a nuisance.
 
Also, there are price spikes directly due to a shortage, which I would not consider to be inflation.  They are caused by regulation and policy changes or other factors that are not directly related to printing money and inflating the money supply.  The potential for rising costs of operating the supply chain are also not directly related to stimulus money printing.  The supply chain is simply overloaded by a demand spike that was caused by stimulus money printing plus any money printing that will be needed to fund the trillions of dollars needed for new programs moving forward.
 
We are emerging from a very unusual national circumstance, and one might thus expect unusual reactions to that.    
 
Regarding the purpose of the FTC demanding information from the importers, I expect them to conclude that price setters are gouging the U.S. consumers by manipulating the supply chain and by raising prices under the guise of inflation.  I hear people saying that in day to day discourse. 
 
In the context of price gouging, there is crisis or state of emergency which makes consumers captive to having few alternatives for product sourcing.  And so vendors take advantage of the consumers’ plight of being forced to pay the price set artificially high by the vendors.  Price gouging is a crime.  And most importantly, it is not inflation even though it results in rising prices.  It is almost the exact opposite of inflation.  This explanation seems to be growing in popularity. With the theory of price gouging comes the conclusion that there is no inflation.   
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Posted by Lithonia Operator on Thursday, December 2, 2021 11:44 AM

Shadow the Cats owner

This is being a sarcastic post here for the most part.  But whoever thought shutting down the world's largest economy along with all the trade in the world to basically combat a slightly more severe form of the flu virus was a good thing.  The entire world runs on a just in time inventory system that was destroyed.  Before someone rips me apart for saying that this is a serious disease my husband lost his mother to it.  

So who's the best to blame let's start with the media that made this crap into a monster worse than it truly is.  Then the blame needs to go onto the leaders of the world that panicked to the point where the people who were fighting it on the front lines saw what worked against it were being ignored by their leaders advisors paid off by the big dollar donors.  

 

This March will mark the end of our second Covid year. We are are at 777K deaths now, and by March we should surpass 800K. So: 400K/year.

Over the last ten years, flu deaths have averaged 35K/yr.

So Covid is more than 11 times as fatal as the flu.

(The definition of "slightly" is readily available in dictionaries, btw.)

As for conspiracies, they say that if you want to keep a secret, share it with less than one person. We are to believe that thousands of disparate players all over the world have gotten together and manufactured a fake crisis, and word has not leaked out? Get serious.

I used to be 100% convinced, for like 30 years, that JFK was killed as the result of a right-wing conspiracy. I read at least 25 books on the subject, all supporting, seemingly convincingly, the conspiracy. Finally, I read Vincent Bugliosi's 1500-page book with the opposing view. I had to swallow my pride and admit to a lot of people to whom I had once pontificated about the conspiracy, that the conspiracy in fact never existed.

Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar. Sometimes a supply chain crunch caused by a worldwide pandemic is just a supply chain crunch caused by a worldwide pandemic.

Still in training.


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Posted by charlie hebdo on Thursday, December 2, 2021 11:46 AM

It's not actually about "printing money" in a cashless society, unless you were saying that repeatedly as a metaphor.

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Posted by Convicted One on Thursday, December 2, 2021 12:44 PM

Murphy Siding
I think you're giving too much credit to a government beauracracy. People started shouting "Somebody's gotta do something!" So the FTC says "We'll do something! We'll look into things and get to the bottom of the matter!"

You might be right. But there may be a political survival motive within the current administration. I don't want to go any deeper into that other than to say "failure to respond" could prove problematic in another few years. Even if it's just a pony show, it's better than doing nothing.

But, I really suspect there is some double dealing going on, and if there is I hope the inquiry finds it and deals harshly with the guilty parties.

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Posted by Convicted One on Thursday, December 2, 2021 12:49 PM

Euclid
Well, you may be right.  Maybe this inflation will just fizzle out and end soon.  That would certainly be a sweet relief.  And I have no idea how much printed money will result in a certain amount of inflation.

I probably should have worded my epistle differently.   Specific to "unearned income", try telling some rich guy that he's destroying our country with his unearned bounty, and watch him go off on you. Dinner

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