A Trade Dispute About My Washing Machine

I suspect that my new LG washing machine was more expensive than it should have been. Made by a South Korean firm, this washing machine (and others like it) was the target of a complaint that Whirlpool filed with the US Department…

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…

Top Ten Ways to Sound Like an Economist

You might find it handy sometimes to sound like an economist. Here are the top ten ways: 1. Whatever the question, always answer, “There’s no such thing as a free lunch.” 2. Defend a decision by declaring, “It was worth…

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…

Ukrainian Economics

Fewer bottles of kodrinskoie-sparkling will be served at Russian holiday celebrations. Declaring that Moldova’s exports no longer met its food quality standards, Russia has blocked Moldovan wine exports. In the past, Ukrainian cheese and chocolate have also been on and off…

The Surprising Ways That China is a Part of Our Lives

Did you eat a Smithfield ham sandwich today? Go to an AMC multiplex? Drive a Volvo? The ham, the movies and the car are from Chinese companies. One reason that Hong Kong based Shuanghui International bought Smithfield is because China…

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…