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How did we get to today's supply chain mess?

The supply chain mess is hitting all of us. Inflation is now the highest it's been in over 30 years.

The costs of food, gas and housing are going through the roof. What's more, almost everything made outside of America is now in short supply — like semiconductors for our cars.

Why is this happening? A lot of it has to do with the pandemic. Asian factories had to shut down or thought there would be less demand for their stuff. So did shipping companies. But then online shopping surged, and now there's a lot of pent-up demand to spend all the cash we saved during COVID.

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The shipping container shortage that’s wreaking havoc on the global supply chain

Spare a thought for the poor shipping container, responsible for most of the world's trade. It's had a rough year that started with the gargantuan Ever Given getting stuck in the Suez Canal.

Now the Suez traffic jam has gone global.

When the pandemic started, everyone needed COVID supplies from China. Chinese factories couldn't keep up with soaring demand from Western nations, and empty containers started to pile up in faraway ports.

Sending one of these ships from Shanghai to Los Angeles has jumped more than ten-fold from $2,000 to $25,000.

And as demand increases even more, the problem is getting worse — a vicious cycle with no end in sight just as the holidays approach.

Watch this episode of GZERO World with Ian Bremmer: Inflation nation: What's driving US prices higher?

Subscribe to GZERO on YouTube to be the first to see new episodes of GZERO World with Ian Bremmer: http://bit.ly/2TxCVnY

How economist Larry Summers predicted US inflation

Back in February, Larry Summers was sounding the alarm bell about inflation when no one was talking about it.

"It seemed obvious to me that we were gonna have massive demand, and we weren't gonna have such large supply."

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