For most of the history of modern business, we have enjoyed falling prices on nearly all raw materials, which has made us dangerously oblivious to the shaky foundations of our global market economy. But the tides are turning: the new era is upon us. It is time to look into the facts – and to prepare a strategy for dealing with them.
Like his father and grandfather before him, Al Cattone has been living off the sea for all his life. For the Gloucester fisherman who spent over 30 years braving the Atlantic’s waters, fishing is “not so much a job as it is an identity.”1 But this legacy is coming to abrupt end. In light of extreme declines of cod stocks, the New England Fishery Management Council voted to slash allowed cod catch rates by 77 percent in the area from Cape Cod to Nova Scotia. The destruction of fishing communities across the region is expected to follow, with a domino effect on seafood processors, wholesalers, distributors, and retailers – an entire industrial ecosystem. But the unpopular move is backed by the harsh reality that the cod stocks today are very far from healthy, with some communities netting a bare 7 percent of moderate targets set by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.