B(T)FF… Best Trading Friends Forever

We can say that Mexico believes her top trading partner is the United States because the value of her exports to the US (2013: $370,826,831) added to the value of her imports from the US (2013: $370,746,056) is exceeded by none of her other…

One Reason That Geography Matters

Have you ever looked closely at Japan and the United Kingdom? Described by geographer Jared Diamond in a fascinating podcast, they look remarkably similar. Today Japan and the British Isles are modern industrial societies.  Both are north/south archipelagos located in…

The Reason Female Scientists Do Housework

Nobel laureate Carol W. Greider was doing the wash when her early morning call came from Stockholm. A study from the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) compared unpaid household work in 29 countries. Predictably, they concluded that women do…

Diminishing the Worldwide Energy Gap

Last summer, President Obama announced a $7 billion Power Africa initiative that targets sub-Saharan Africa.  Its goal is to create the infrastructure that will extend electricity to more than 20 million households. Partnering with 6 other nations, the US will…

Comparative Advantage: A Natural Gas Dilemma

When the price of natural gas plunged in 2008, manufacturers smiled. As Dow Chemical’s CEO recently explained, cheaper natural gas means a $4 billion investment in 120 new manufacturing projects. Using cheap gas, Dow plans to build ethylene, propylene, chlorine and…

Manufacturing: What’s New?

Called “A Revolution in the Making,” yesterday’s Wall Street Journal  focused on manufacturing in a special section. I was particularly impressed with some stats that they presented and Jay Leno. The Stats: The cost gap is closing between the US and…

Cost and Benefit: Buying Local Produce

I saw this picture in an Upper West Side NYC blog:   Evidently horrified, one Zabar’s shopper said, “Can you believe that from all the farms in New York, ZABAR’S is selling GARLIC from CHINA!!!!!???” (Zabar’s is a gourmet supermarket.)…

Infrastructure: The Internet and Canals

An internet connection and a canal could be rather similar. Internet Connections in the Americas, 2012: Looking beyond the Americas, South Korea leads the world with the highest proportion of its population having fast internet service (more below). Shipping Connections…

The Panama Canal and an Invisible Line

When a desk destined for Ohio leaves China on a super-sized container ship, should it enter the US in LA or NY? The Panama Canal could determine the answer. Imagine a jagged north south line dividing the US. Located somewhere between…

Manufacturing Matters in the US

Hearing about an apparel firm that “insourced,” I confess I was not as enthusiastic as the report. The firm, American Giant, had just enjoyed a run on their hoodies. As a Made in the USA producer, they have the caché of a…