The Fabric of Free Trade

The roof of the big-box store near your home could contain fabric that was made in Greensboro, N.C. Transported in rolls that are 12 feet wide and 5,000 yards long, this material is also made in South…

Emerging Economies

The world is shifting. More than one-half of the world’s car sales, mobile phone subscriptions and oil, copper and steel purchases came from emerging markets during 2010. Here you can see the sa…

"Made in the USA"

According to USA Today, “The two ‘most American’ cars are Japanese.” Cars.com has an American-Made Index. Ranking vehicles by sales, where they are made, and the origin of thei…

Where Did Your Tuna Fish Come From?

The tuna you had for lunch might have been caught in the Pacific, processed and canned in Thailand, and flown to a Wal-Mart warehouse in the U.S. Concerned about monitoring quality, a recent report fr…

Doha Deadlock

Can you convince a Lubbock, Texas cotton farmer (or his Congressman) to forgo his (maybe $150,000) cotton subsidy? Probably not. After all, these U.S. government payments let him profitably compete in…

"Buy Australian?"

In Australia, concerned about the impact of twin disasters in Queensland this summer, Australia is saying, “Buy Australian.”  But they just faced an unexpected problem. The T-shirts t…

The Missing Sensor

According to one estimate, worldwide auto production could slide by 30% because Hitachi Automotive’s Sawa Ibaraki Prefecture plant was debilitated by Japan’s earthquake and tsunami. Hitach…

When is 60 a Good Grade?

At 60.8 percent, the Institute for Supply Management’s (ISM) measure of manufacturing activity was way up, far more than anyone expected. Reflecting expansion, any number above 50 is good. So ro…

Big Boxes

What we ship things in makes a difference. Take the banana, for example. In 1876, at the Philadelphia Centennial Exposition, the banana was a delicacy (and very black). Millions of bunches could only …

Supership Problems

When is a supership a problem? When the water is not deep enough or the Bayonne Bridge is not high enough. To understand the Bayonne Bridge problem (and care about the answer), we have to look back to…

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