Quote of the Day: Problems

 

 “A clever person solves a problem. A wise person avoids it.” – Albert Einstein

I remembered this quote as a result of the current supply chain problem we are experiencing.  We have a problem: we cannot get containers unloaded from ships fast enough, so goods are piling up – in ships, on wharves, in assembly yards. No doubt the problem will get solved, eventually, by clever people. Yet there is the issue of why the problem arose in the first place. Enough container ships awaiting unloading to spell out “Let’s Go Brandon” did not appear off the California coast overnight. The overflow has been building for months. It simply became bad enough to become noticeable this month.

It was a totally avoidable problem if someone in charge had enough wisdom to foresee the impact of the buildup early on. Steps could have been taken to alleviate the problem – rerouting shipping, eliminating transportation bottlenecks (the impact of AB5 for example), developing new shipping nodes. (The Port of Houston has been battling the Corps of Engineers to deepen the Ship Channel to 60 feet up to its two container terminals for a long time. If the dredging had been approved in March it would be done by now. And yes, they have the rail and road connections to handle the extra traffic. Houston is one of the nation’s largest rail centers.) But that required wisdom and foresight, two qualities in short supply in the current administration. What we have running things instead are clever people – often clever only in the dimensions of advancing their careers and promoting their own agenda

As H. L. Mencken once wrote, “Democracy is the theory that the common people know what they want, and deserve to get it good and hard.”  This is what the majority voted for last fall. They are now getting it good and hard.

As they deserve.

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  1. Mark Alexander Coolidge
    Mark Alexander
    @MarkAlexander

    A totally avoidable problem, or for some, a totally fulfilling solution.

    • #1
  2. Full Size Tabby Member
    Full Size Tabby
    @FullSizeTabby

    Unfortunately, the “solving” of a problem often generates a spectacle that gets lots of positive publicity while avoiding problems often goes unnoticed.

    Early in my career as a corporate lawyer I worked for a guy who was very good at anticipating potential legal problems for the corporation and steering around them. Several of us noted that he did not get as much company notoriety though as one of his peers who made some spectacular saves after problems arose.

    For more Biden Administration pile-on I think of the Afghanistan withdrawal. The White House keeps bragging about the heroic efforts of the last days’ evacuation. But wouldn’t it have been better if they had worked so that a last days’ evacuation wasn’t necessary?

    • #2
  3. Seawriter Contributor
    Seawriter
    @Seawriter

    Full Size Tabby (View Comment):

    Early in my career as a corporate lawyer I worked for a guy who was very good at anticipating potential legal problems for the corporation and steering around them. Several of us noted that he did not get as much company notoriety though as one of his peers who made some spectacular saves after problems arose.

    Firefighters always get more attention than fire preventers. But the one who prevents the fire from starting in the first place is more valuable to society.

    For more Biden Administration pile-on I think of the Afghanistan withdrawal. The White House keeps bragging about the heroic efforts of the last days’ evacuation. But wouldn’t it have been better if they had worked so that a last days’ evacuation wasn’t necessary?

    Well, yes, it would have been better. But everyone in the the current maladministraton are monkey clever, but none of them are wise.

    • #3
  4. Brian Scarborough Coolidge
    Brian Scarborough
    @Teeger

    One of the main problems is that the ports are basically run by a union. The unions have insisted for many years that they should not do a lot of automation and therefore our ports have the lowest efficiency and least flexibility of any in the world. 

    • #4
  5. Ole Summers Member
    Ole Summers
    @OleSummers

    Brian Scarborough (View Comment):

    One of the main problems is that the ports are basically run by a union. The unions have insisted for many years that they should not do a lot of automation and therefore our ports have the lowest efficiency and least flexibility of any in the world.

    Correct and a combination of CA laws Biden era eviro-regs designed to shut down trucks older than 2012 in CA and favor unions over independents have them trucking things to the order so that they can be then loaded onto trucks which cant enter CA … and on and on….. of course we were making more of these items here …………….. seems as if someone had thought of that but was deemed a “threat to democracy”

    • #5
  6. Seawriter Contributor
    Seawriter
    @Seawriter

    Brian Scarborough (View Comment):
    One of the main problems is that the ports are basically run by a union.

    The ports that are particularly backed up? That I could believe. However many container ports are non-union, because unions fought containerization. That forced the container terminals to set up in non-union ports, like Houston (instead of Galveston) or the Port of Lower Mississippi (instead of New Orleans). It’s possible some of the new container ports are now unionized, especially in states (like California) that lack right-to-work laws.

    However the disadvantages of unions are such that even ports best blessed by geography become non-competitive if unionized. The idea that shippers will remain locked into oversized vessels that can only fit into two or three ports is a dinosaur waiting for the meteor to strike. And it may well have. That means the Panamax shippers are the ones who will win out.

    • #6
  7. E. Kent Golding Member
    E. Kent Golding
    @EKentGolding

    Seawriter: As they deserve. 

    Yeah, but my friends & my family didn’t vote for this stuff and don’t deserve it. 

    • #7