It's Day Three without sugar and Econo-Girl is dragging.
One of her favorite books, sure to lift her spirits, is "The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy." In it, there is this strange planet where the entire economy is based on the manufacture and sale of shoes. It's a wonderful satire of an economic bubble.
On planet Earth these days, economists herald the virtues of specialization, where a country specializes in manufacturing a certain type of product and then trades with another country that makes something else. The idea is that by specializing, a country can lower overhead costs and make it cheaper than anyone else. Then the marketplace will be efficient!
And this is what is starting to happen. The US can produce grain cheaper than local, third-world farmers. And once let into the market, the locals are out of luck. Is this really a good thing? Doesn't it lend itself towards stability if a place is a little self-supporting in the matter of food? And what are the ramifications if all these local people are suddenly out of cash? It sucks the wind right out of the national economy.
So we really need to think about the fallout of some of these theories.