Dewey Crumpler, Untitled, 2017. (Acrylic and Mixed Media on Canvas, 60” x 74”). Hedreen Gallery. Charles Mudede
Whenever you look at that mega-massive container ship (the Ever Given) blocking one of the most important arteries in global trade, think this: I must spend my small stimmy stash right now, this minute, this hour.
Why? Because the stuck ship is spewing so much uncertainty into the market system.
The big news coming from the Suez Canal is getting grimmer by moment. The Suez Canal Authority (SCA) is asking the world to hold its breath because re-floating the Ever Given might take weeks.
Fox Business wasted no time pressing the panic button:
The Suez Canal could be blocked for weeks, with nearly $10 billion worth of disruptions in shipping traffic each day, according to reports.
A cargo ship larger than the Empire State Building called the MV Ever Given got stuck in Egypt’s Suez Canal on Tuesday, and despite initial reports that said the ship was moving Wednesday, Suez Canal Chairman Adm. Osama Rabie said refloating efforts were still underway.
Yes, “larger than the Empire State Building.” And it has created a clog of over 150 ships, many of which are certainly as gargantuan as the Ever Given. Fox Business’ concerns are not isolated.
🔎 Suez canal blockage seen from space 🛰
Airbus-built Pléiades high-res. satellite image 📷taken this morning, showing a container ship stuck in the canal. pic.twitter.com/YOuz1NEXk8
— Airbus Space (@AirbusSpace) March 25, 2021
The longer the ship stays stuck, the more it will exert an upward push on the prices of all commodities obtained by a household’s consumption fund.
The extent depends on how quickly the massive vessel, the Ever Given, which holds upward of 20,000 shipping containers and is as long as the Eiffel Tower is tall, can be moved out of the way.
Everything from food, furniture, clothes, shoes, exercise equipment, electronics, car parts and carpets could be affected, logistics experts say.
“Basically anything you see in the stores,” said Lars Jensen, an independent container shipping expert based in Denmark.
The running aground of one of the world’s largest container ships, blocking all traffic in the vital water passageway of the Suez Canal, could mean shipping delays for consumers and higher gas prices, maritime experts say. https://t.co/cULIRJKINc
— NBC News (@NBCNews) March 24, 2021
So, suppliers are already factoring this crisis of mobility into their future prices. They know a long blockage will re-route ships that planned to cross the cost-saving canal to trips whose longer duration will diminish or completely wipe out their factored-in profits.
This situation may make nonsense of our low-inflation now. Distributors expecting a sharp, compensatory rise in future shipment costs will attempt to vitiate the force of the coming cuts on profits by demanding more money for unsold products on today’s shelves.
As a consequence, the stimmy check that was worth $1,400 before the Suez crisis of March 23 could end up being worth $1,000 dollars or less in a very short period of time.
But shops are still open. The price shock has not hit yet. So, what are you waiting for? A very large part of the global economic order that produces cheap goods (very low labor costs) for broke Americans (lots of debt) is suspended. The American consumer apocalypse is nigh.
That said, the Suez blockage has a visual echo with the work of a brilliant Bay Area black American artist. His name is Dewey Crumpler. One of his recent series, called Collapse, was featured in 2018 at Hedreen Gallery. My review of this show contains two passages that now reveal the prophetic power of Crumpler’s collapsed container ships:
[In this exhibit], we see globalization as a continuous environmental catastrophe. The cargo ships are sinking or have just sunk into the sea. The containers are crashing or have just crashed on beaches and spilled their goods.
In Untitled 4, a storm rages above a wrecked cargo ship. The ship is gigantic. It would dwarf the largest animal, a blue whale. From the black clouds falls a toxic yellow substance. The containers on the ship are about to plunge into a sea that’s as polluted as the sky it reflects.
Great art always throws the brightest light on the future.
Dewey Crumpler, Untitled 1, 2017. (Acrylic and mixed media on canvas). Hedreen Gallery Charles Mudede