Perspectives: The Ongoing Global Semiconductor Chip Shortage

Headline Roundup April 30th, 2021

A global shortage of semiconductor computer chips has impacted industries around the world, causing supply chain delays for everything from cars to smartphones and gaming consoles. On Wednesday, Apple CFO Luca Maestri said that supply constraints would limit sales of iPads and Macs, cutting the company’s revenue by $3 billion to $4 billion over the next three months. While the Biden administration has taken steps to address the shortage, including holding a summit with tech CEOs earlier this month, some manufacturers have warned that the shortage could last until 2022.

Perspectives mostly came from business-focused outlets. Voices in some right-rated outlets argued against U.S. government involvement to address the shortage; voices in left-rated outlets tended to feature “why you should care”-style analysis.

From the Left

In the market for a new car, smartphone or washing machine this year? A global shortage of computer chips could mean you have to wait a while and pay more.

A growing number of manufacturers around the world are having trouble securing supplies of semiconductors, delaying the production and delivery of goods and threatening to push up the prices paid by consumers.
Several factors are driving the crunch, which was initially concentrated in the auto industry. The first is the coronavirus pandemic, which plunged the global economy into recession...

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From the Center

Are you worried about your chip supply? Not potato chips. Not poker chips. And not wood chips. I am talking about the shortage of semiconductor chips, which you may not realize influence everything from your cell phone to your car, your game console to national security.

We are talking about a nearly $500 billion semiconductor industry manufacturing silicon wafers using complex processes that allow us to do everything from drive to play. Our internet-connected world is completely dependent on energy, the production of semiconductors and each other for sourcing....

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From the Right

Jerry Sanders, a former chairman of the Semiconductor Industry Association and a founder of Advanced Micro Devices , predicted in the 1970s that “semiconductors would prove to be the crude oil of the information age.” It was an understatement.

Midprice automobiles today are controlled by 100 or more silicon chips. Cars couldn’t meet legal standards for mileage or pollution—or even start—without chips, let alone connect to the internet or display a fancy digital dashboard. A supply shortage on only one or two chips can shut down an assembly plant that...

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