Last weekend, the world was shocked by another tragedy: The terrorist group Hamas launched an attack on Israel, with horrific consequences. Though suffering and unrest in this region are decades-long, NPR notes that it's the biggest escalation between Israelis and Hamas in recent years.
With the war in Ukraine raging for a year and a half now, the brutal escalation of hostilities in Israel is eerily familiar and seems to be pointing toward an entirely new phase in geopolitics. “We now live in a multipolar world,” according to Ernst & Young. “Companies are likely to see increased government intervention in their supply chains, limitations on or rejections of cross-border investments, export controls, restrictive trade measures, and greater regulatory scrutiny.”
If such economic and supply chain effects have taught us anything, it’s that the shift to multipolarity will continue to challenge world economies, businesses and communities. As Ukraine and Russia are both major producers of global commodities, the war is having profound consequences on the exportation of goods, food security, oil prices and more. Now, the crisis in Israel is bringing about even more upheaval. Economist Pierre-Olivier Gourinchas told The New York Times that a 10% rise in oil prices will reduce output by 0.15% and increase inflation by 0.4% in 2024. He describes our current global economy as “limping along” and worries that added shocks could be disastrous for countries already experiencing rising inflation, high interest rates and massive debt.
Events such as these lead to growing protectionism and even more political and economic restrictions. As the Financial Times’s Daniel Blake infers, “Current policy trends could fuel a cycle where the defensive actions of one country to reduce supply chain risks reinforce the concerns of trading partners, leading to industrial policy tit-for-tats that leave us all worse off.”
Supply chains must be driven by a desire to bolster the global nature of our networks — even amid the toughest of challenges. Here at ASCM, we will continue working toward this goal and providing a space for dialogue, information-sharing and resilience-building. I urge you to continue this conversation with your supply chain partners as well. I’m forever hopeful that we can find the solutions together.