There was a time when the market system worked pretty well and no shelves remained empty. This is because Adam Smith’s “invisible hand”, better defined as the ‘price mechanism’, did what it was meant to. The Scottish economist showed great interest in the self-serving behaviour of an individual and insisted upon how we'd evolve and do better collectively if price signals were selfishly countered.
Those who supported the free market despised everything about the Soviet’s central planning as the price mechanism was not allowed to work. For example, the Soviet saucepan factories produced what they were supposed to, but didn’t cater to the needs of the public. So, fundamentally, they were making the saucepans, just those that could not be used domestically, rather, utilized for canteens.
Britain today has been facing a huge wave of shortages that range from semi-conductors for new cars to more basic products like premium French shower gel. These manufacturers export their products to other countries, but not to the UK because it’s has become too troublesome. Local British retailers and brands are now stuck in a crux because they depend on getting their supplies from the other side of the channel.
People are now reluctant to order anything online from a UK-based business for fear of paying more than it was advertised. Above all, the labour market has been suffering due to a lack of immigrant employees who have been run off by COVID and Brexit.
This will all be fixed once the invisible hand is allowed to work once more. Increasing UK wages will make it possible to attract foreign workers. It will lead to opening more businesses and the economy thriving. New restaurants will be seen in Padstow, the French shower gels supplier will figure out the paperwork and the semi-conductors supplies will find their way to the UK once more. But all that seems like a dream. The invisible wall surrounding the UK is hindering its growth and needs to be taken down. But even if the effects of the pandemic recede, the wall cast by Brexit will remain.