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Trade Is Amazing: It Empowers Us to Turn Almost Anything Into Almost Anything Else

In my latest column for AIER, I steal an idea from David Friedman and Steve Landsburg and sing heartfelt praises to the amazing cargo ship. A slice:

The lesson of the cargo ship applies more generally, not merely to trade that crosses political borders. Like the trade that’s carried out using cargo ships, all trade – from the simplest to the most complex – works wonders. Trade allows each of us to turn our unique talents into the fruits of the talents of everyone with whom we trade.

All that I, Don Boudreaux, produce is economics instruction. That’s it. Yet I consume an uncountably large number of different goods and services, from food to pharmaceutical products, from housing to health care, from wine to weather apps, from clothing – and corn – to cars. Not only do I not produce any of the things that I consume, I couldn’t if given a million years possibly do so. I acquire what I consume through trade – an institution that turns each of our talents into the fruits of the talents of our fellow human beings.


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