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NAFTA not a big deal overall, but huge for a few Americans.

Kevin Drum wrote that NAFTA isn’t a big deal and produced a graph similar to the one below except that he used an inflated measure of trade: gross imports plus exports. Net exports (NX) is a better measure of the

Posted in Globalization

We Pencils

Introduction: This essay is guest authored by a group of pencils.  Yes, we are a bunch of ordinary writing instruments.  Even though any one of us is very dumb, even a group of idiots can produce something much greater than the

Posted in Globalization, Managerial Micro, Public Finance

When you get a 10% raise, will you suddenly need to spend 10% more on food and clothing?

Most Americans spend about the same percent of their income on clothing regardless of how much they earn. For example, people who earn $5,000 per year might spend about $200 on clothing whereas Americans who earn $150,000 per year spend

Posted in Development, Globalization

Did we reach peak market circa year 2000?

For centuries, markets have been expanding into ever greater spheres of human life and displacing non-market human interaction. This has been an exciting time for economists because economists mostly just study markets.  This has led economists to neglect major spheres of

Posted in Development, Globalization, Managerial Micro

The rules of globalization were written to help elites hide money.

Hernando de Soto believes that economic development and capitalism depends upon formal property rights. He has been advocating for making a clear public record of who owns all real estate and to help entrepreneurs register their ownership of their businesses because millions of

Posted in Development, Globalization, Public Finance

To Trade Is Human

What makes humans different from animals?  Anthropologists used to say that humans are unique in using tools (but it turns out that many animals use tools).  Linguists used to think that language is unique to humans (but other animals have

Posted in Development, Globalization

The Box

The Economist magazine explains containerization: [C]ontainers—uniform boxes that can be easily moved between lorry, train and ship—have reshaped global trade over the past few decades. Why…? Uniform metal containers were invented by Malcom McLean …in 1956. Before then goods were

Posted in Globalization

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