Debunking the onshoring narrative
Nov 16, 2021
Episode 561

Debunking the onshoring narrative

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... and explaining the future of global supply chains.

At the start of the pandemic, and even a little before (remember the U.S.-China trade war?), some folks wondered if we were about to see the end of offshoring and whether U.S. companies would start to bring factories and jobs back from overseas. 

The process is known as onshoring, and the idea was that everything from personal protective equipment to semiconductors would soon be made in the USA, driven mostly by Donald Trump’s tariffs and the pandemic’s supply chain shortages. 

So that got us wondering, are we doing that? Is onshoring happening? 

“You got me. I think we economists have been intellectually dishonest and just putting this narrative out. But nobody’s actually gone to check to see what’s really happening,” said Megan Greene, an economist and senior fellow at Harvard’s Kennedy School.

Greene said there’s not a ton of good data out there, but the data we do have shows onshoring is just not a thing right now.

On the show today, Greene does some myth busting about why companies aren’t rushing to bring production back to the United States. She also explains why globalization isn’t over and what the future of global supply chains might look like.

In the News Fix, an awesome tech story about NBA star Stephen Curry followed by a bizarre crypto-themed one. Plus, space junk is a growing problem. Then, we hear from listeners who are part of the Great Resignation movement. And a listener calls in with thoughts on that newborn baby smell.

Here’s everything we talked about on the show today:

Read the transcript here.

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The team

Molly Wood Host
Donna Tam Interim Senior Producer
Tony Wagner Digital Producer
Marissa Cabrera Producer
Bridget Bodnar Senior producer