Capitalism’s efficient allocation of resources

Trying to make sense of international trade under capitalism, for example two countries selling each other identical amounts of the same product.

The Slow Burning Fuse

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Capitalism’s efficient allocation of resources

Imagine a world where food routinely gets shipped thousands of miles away to be processed, then shipped back to be sold right where it started. Imagine cows from Mexico being fed corn imported from the United States, then being exported to the United States for butchering, and the resulting meat being shipped back to Mexico, one last time, to be sold. Imagine a world in which, in most years since 2005, China has somehow managed to import more goods from itself than from the USA, one of its largest trading partners.

This may sound like the premise of some darkly comic, faintly dystopian film – albeit one geared towards policy wonks. But it’s no joke – in fact, it is the daily reality of the global economy.

The above examples are all instances of ‘re-importation’ – that is, countries shipping their own goods overseas only…

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