The CPI has been released in most months this year. The index has risen between 7% and 8% year over year. Some items rose at a much higher pace. Fuel was one of these, as oil prices surged. Car prices rose rapidly as well due to supply chain problems. One item rose faster than these. Egg prices were up over 50%. The increase has been so pronounced that egg prices have reached their highest level ever.
As has been the case with most CPI items, the reason for the increase in eggs is easy to define. According to The Wall Street Journal, “Egg prices are hitting records, driven by an avian-influenza outbreak that has killed tens of millions of chickens and turkeys this year across nearly all 50 states.”
Oddly, the egg price problem is similar to the car one. However, egg prices, unlike car prices, cannot be bought down by simply attacking price problems at their source or looking for ways to improve transportation speed. Eggs are like cars to the extent that the challenge cannot be solved quickly. Electric cars can’t be built because a core battery component is completely missing. Egg prices are high because of a shortage of their only component.
The egg problems could last for months. Replacing dead chickens quickly is impossible to do. No other animal produces eggs. Science cannot replace eggs via technology. Chickens are not like iPhones.
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As is the case with all items with high inflation rates that cannot be brought down, the solution will be that people find alternatives. In the case of cars, people keep their current cars longer. Eggs don’t have an analog. Egg hoarding is problematic because eggs can’t be stored in a way that extends their shelf life. People can pay up or not eat eggs at all.
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