The company that modern capitalism couldn’t survive long without

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The world is running short of semiconductor chips—running so short that Subaru has temporarily closed a plant in Japan, 5G network rollouts are delayed, Apple is worried about production hiccups, and new PlayStation 5s are nearly impossible to find. The reason for the shortfall may be plain to see—production slowdowns during the pandemic, compounded by booming demand for consumer technology—but the shortfall itself shows the stunning ubiquity of the chip today, and the dense complexity of the supply chains that produce it.

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