Chinese State-Run Firms

Where would your cell phone, your car, your gasoline, your savings account and the TV station you watch all have one thing in common? China. Called state capitalism, 45% of the Chinese economy is owned or controlled by the government.…

Locavore Legislation

Being a locavore can be confusing. Eating broccoli from the local farm stand tastes good and makes many of us feel good. It is a pleasure to support local farmers and get vegetables the day they were picked. On the…

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 Korea. Until now,…

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 same story through these export and import, global…

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 their parts, they concluded that the Toyota Camry is the most American…

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 from the Food and Drug Administration…

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 world markets. Correspondingly, would China say yes to a…

“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 they are using to publicize the campaign were made in Bangladesh and the…

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. Hitachi Automotive makes the air flow sensors that are crucial in autos for determining “how…

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 robust a number takes us to a question. If production…