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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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Inflation nation: What’s driving US prices higher?

As the holiday shopping season gets underway, consumers are facing empty shelves and sky-high prices. What explains the supply chain crunch and how is it related to the highest levels of inflation in the US in 30 years? Ian Bremmer is joined by economist Larry Summers, who served as the Treasury Secretary under President Clinton and as the Director of the National Economic Council under Barack Obama. Also on this episode of GZERO World with Ian Bremmer: the plight of the lowly shipping container.

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The Graphic Truth: This day dwarfs Black Friday

Black Friday in the US is no longer the most lucrative day globally for online sales. Less than a decade ago, it was overtaken by Singles Day, an unofficial shopping holiday for unmarried people in China championed by Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba. Alibaba's competitor JD has since entered the fray, and now both independently exceed the performance of US online retailers on America's big annual internet spending spree around Thanksgiving. Still, China's population size is more than four times that of the US, and Chinese online shoppers spend a lot less per capita than Americans. We look at online sales on Alibaba and JD compared to those in the US on Thanksgiving Day, Black Friday and Cyber Monday combined.

Podcast: Inflation nation: How Larry Summers predicted skyrocketing prices in the US

Listen: As the holiday shopping season gets underway, consumers are facing empty shelves and sky-high prices. What explains the supply chain crunch and how is it related to the highest levels of inflation in the US in 30 years? On the GZERO World podcast, Ian Bremmer is joined by economist Larry Summers, who served as the Treasury Secretary under President Clinton and as the Director of the National Economic Council under Barack Obama.

Subscribe to the GZERO World Podcast on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher, or your preferred podcast platform to receive new episodes as soon as they're published.

Why is COVID-19 causing meat shortages in the US?

As the pandemic took hold in the US, consumers first reached for all the toilet paper they could find—when they could actually find it. Now, the nation is facing potential meat shortages as food supply chains are disrupted by processing plant shutdowns, rising infection rates among plant workers, and a system that was built to be too efficient for its own good. Former Iowa Gov. Tom Vilsack, who served as President Obama's Secretary of Agriculture, joins Ian Bremmer on this week's GZERO World to examine the cascading impact of COVID-19 on meat processing and distribution, and why the surplus goods stuck on farms can't find their way to the food pantries that need them. This episode begins airing nationally on US public television today, Friday, May 15. Check local listings.

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