Two examples of context and perception
What’s responsible for the Surfside, Florida, condominium collapse?
Was it shoddy construction, procrastination on structural repairs, or climate change? Well, that depends on where you get your news, what you hear, and who you trust.
Right after the 12-story tower fell, TV networks, newspapers and magazines all over the world were quick to report that consultants saw cracks, breaks, and crumbling in the building’s concrete as far back as 2018, but by April 2021 the condo board’s president was still warning residents that “concrete deterioration is accelerating” and begging for the estimated $16 million cost of repairs.
Yet a few, like TIME, put the structural failure in the broader context of climate change. “… Experts have warned that real estate in Miami is vulnerable to climate-induced rising sea levels and increasingly stronger storms.” Zillow, the real estate website, quantified it this way: “According to studies conducted by the Risky Business Project, between $15 and $23 billion of property in the city [Miami] could be underwater by 2050.”
The investigation continues, and it is likely that there will be multiple causes for the tragic fatal collapse.
What’s to blame for supply chain disruption?
The U.S. is experiencing unprecedented shortages of products ranging from chips and consumer electronics to cars and cat food. Is it because of inflation? Fewer cargo ships and planes returning to the US during the pandemic? Droughts in the Midwest or tropical storms in the South? Parts production slowdowns in China?
During the pandemic, factories around the world slowed or even ceased production for worker safety. Many municipalities enforced some form of quarantine, disrupting retail trade. Ships were stuck for days in floating traffic jams as the pandemic limited the availability of dockworkers and truck drivers – stretching and slowing down the supply chain almost to the breaking point.
Put that in the context of manufacturers’ just-in-time inventory management to acquire materials only as they are needed, the pandemic threw the supply chain into chaos. Manufacturers ran out of inventory too fast and couldn’t request more as upstream suppliers were struggling themselves.
So, it’s no one’s fault, and it was not anticipated by anyone.