A Bridge To Nowhere Good


Authored by MN Gordon through EconomicPrism.com,

Finest Laid Plans

However, Mousie, thou art no thy-lane,

In proving foresight might be vain;-LRB-

The best-laid plans o’ mice an’ males

Gang aft agley,

An’ lea’e us nought however sorrow an’ pain,

For promis ‘d happiness!

— Robert Burns, To a Mouse, on Turning Her Up in Her Nest With the Plough( in extract), 1785

A Really Cool Bridge

The grand plans of our local officials in Long Beach have actually been foiled by the coronavirus bug. After seven years of building, at an expense of $1.5 billion, they can’t even hold a correct ribbon-cutting.

The special celebration is the grand opening of the brand-new, yet to be named, Gerald Desmond Bridge replacement. To prevent the spread of COVID-19, a virtual ceremony is prepared for the Friday leading into the Labor Day weekend.

Virtual events, like expert baseball video games with recorded fan sounds, are Dumb with a capital D. But, possibly, this is the fitting grand opening of an erection that was prepared and constructed for a world that might never ever arrive.

Definitely, the new bridge structure, which has the highest vertical clearance of any cable-stayed bridge in the U.S., is an amazing engineering achievement. The cable-stayed style likewise has a signature aesthetic. We’ve enjoyed it go up throughout the years; it really is remarkable.

The cable-stayed period alone is 2,000 feet.

Building included 18 million pounds of structural steel, 75 million pounds of rebar, and 300,000 cubic yards of concrete. The new bridge will enhance connection in between downtown Long Beach with Terminal Island, and through the Port of Long Beach/ Port of Los Angeles mega San Pedro Bay ports complex.

The old Gerald Desmond Bridge that it’s replacing was constructed in1968 According to Duane Kenagy, capital programs executive at the Port of Long Beach, the old bridge had actually ended up being “functionally obsolete.”

Possibly so. The new bridge, while truly neat, might be functionally unnecessary.

Here’s why …

Global Trade Contractions

To fulfill the ruthless expansion of global trade over the last 20 years, berths have actually been widened, and channels have actually been deepened to accommodate the definitive absurdity of continuous credit creation: The CMA CGM Benjamin Franklin This mega container ship, if you’re not familiar with it, is over 20 stories tall, the width of a 12 lane highway, and longer than 4 football fields. It has enough freight space to hold 90 million sets of ‘Made In China’ shoes.

The purpose of the bridge replacement is to offer higher clearance into the Port’s Inner Harbor for mega container ships. That does not mean what is will constantly be.

There have actually been long episodes of contractions in international trade that have played out over long secular trends for thousands of years.

The Silk Roadway, for instance, was developed by the Han Dynasty of China in 130 BC, and enabled continuous trade between east and west for nearly 1,600 years. In addition to financial trade, the Silk Roadway was likewise an avenue for culture and understanding among its network of civilizations.

Geopolitical trends turned inward towards isolation.

There are also more recent examples of contractions in international trade …

Finest Laid Schemes

Those ready to look back to the very first half of the 20 th century will find something that goes counter to their life experience. International trade, as a percentage of overall financial activity, went down between the beginning of World War I and the 1960 s. That’s a near 50 year run of decreasing worldwide trade.

Could another half-century contraction of global trade occur once again? At the moment, it’s extremely well possible that one has currently begun.

Just last month, for example, cargo volume at the Port of Long Beach decreased by double digits. Container Management uses the grim particulars:

” The Port of Long Beach had an 11.1 percent year-on-year drop in container volumes for June due to a lower demand for items and cancelled cruisings related to the COVID-19 pandemic.

” Total volume for June 2020 was 602,180 twenty-foot comparable units (TEUs) with imports decreasing by 9.3 percent to 300,714 TEUs and exports down 12.2 percent to 117,538

” Reduced consumer spending and ongoing health concerns resulted in financial uncertainty for the very first half of 2020 which, in turn, resulted in a 6.9 percent less containers managed compared to 2019 for a total of 3.4 million TEUs.

” Integrated, Long Beach and Los Angeles (the San Pedro Bay ports complex) had 41 cancelled sailings in the very first half of2019 This year, it was 104.”

Long Beach Harbor Commission President Bonnie Lowenthal is bullish on future trade:

” The financial recovery is going to take a while, but we are positive for the future of the port and our partnerships with labor and the whole items motion industry.”

Lowenthal’s optimism is mostly misplaced. The best-laid schemes of mice and males frequently go askew, and leave us absolutely nothing however grief and discomfort. In this case, they likewise leave us with a signature bridge structure; an enduring monument to an extended age of global trade that has come and gone.

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