Australians are getting a stark reminder about how value is actually created in an economy, and how supply chains truly work. Ask chief executives where value comes from and they will credit their own smart decisions that inflate shareholder wealth. Ask logistics experts how supply chains work and they will wax eloquent about ports, terminals and trucks. Politicians, meanwhile, highlight nebulous intangibles like “investor confidence” – enhanced, presumably, by their own steady hands on the tiller. The reality of value-added production and supply is much more human than all of this. It is people who are the driving force behind production, distribution and supply. Labour – human beings getting out of bed and going to work, using their brains and brawn to produce actual goods and services – is the only thing that adds value to the “free gifts” we harvest from nature. It’s the only thing that puts food on supermarket shelves, cares for sick people and teaches our children.