Join getAbstract to access the summary!

America Is Running Out of Everything

Join getAbstract to access the summary!

America Is Running Out of Everything

The global supply chain is slowing down at the at the very moment when Americans are demanding that it go into overdrive

The Atlantic,

5 min read
5 take-aways
Audio & text

What's inside?

The pandemic exposed the vulnerability of the global – and American – supply chain. 

Editorial Rating



  • Analytical
  • Eye Opening
  • Concrete Examples


The time when Americans complained only about toilet paper shortages are long gone. Almost two years into the pandemic, Americans must deal with shortages of almost everything. In this eye-opening piece for The Atlantic, Derek Thompson explains the multifaceted reasons behind this crisis and suggests it may lead to policies that strengthen the United States supply chain and domestic manufacturing in the future. If you wonder why you must visit multiple stores to find everyday items, Thompson has some answers.


The United States is experiencing supply shortages.

The United States is entering a new phase of the pandemic, characterized by supply shortages. Although GDP is growing, Americans often need to visit multiple stores to find, for example, prescription medications, furniture, paper towels and at-home COVID-19 tests. This “everything shortage” doesn’t have a single cause. It results from a series of bottlenecks across the modern world’s highly complex supply chain, coupled with rising American demand for goods manufactured abroad.

The US demand for goods rose as overseas production slowed.

The coronavirus pandemic affected the global supply chain several ways. This led to an increase in demand for certain goods. A slowdown in the service sector left many Americans spending more time at home and spending their stimulus checks on home upgrades and furniture. Many of the materials in demand are either manufactured in or pass through East Asia, which the Delta variant has ravaged. 

In addition, US demand for cars and ...

About the Author

Staff writer Derek Thompson covers economics, technology and the media for The Atlantic

Comment on this summary