… is from page 188 of the original edition of Charles Wheelan’s 2002 book, Naked Economics:
The easiest way to appreciate the gains from trade is to imagine life without it. You would wake up early in a small, drafty house that you had built yourself. You would put on clothes that you wove yourself after shearing the two sheep that graze in your backyard. Then you would pluck a few coffee beans off the scraggly tree that does not grow particularly well in Minneapolis – all the while hoping that your chicken had laid an egg overnight so that you might have something to eat for breakfast. The bottom line is that our standard of living is high because we are able to focus on the tasks that we do best and trade for everything else.
Why would these kinds of transactions be different if a product or service originated in Germany or India? They’re not, really. We’ve crossed a political boundary, but the economics have not changed in any significant way.