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The Importance of Trade


Part 2: Trade and Prosperity

Civilizations of yesterday and today have thrived because they were able to work out agreements to get what they didn't have from other people and give what they did have to other people, often at the same time. In this way, if your civilization plants a lot of grain but not so much rice and your people like to eat both, you can give some grain to the rice-growers, get some rice from them, and eat both.

This is true for other goods besides food. Machinery, oil, cars, plastics, and electronics are all examples of things that one civilization produces to sell, exchange, or give to another civilization. Nearly every single day, trade keeps civilizations prospering. Planes land and take off, ships dock and leave port, trucks unload and load again--all bringing goods from one people to another and taking other goods to other people.

Often, trade involves many civilizations at the same time. The grain farmers of the American Midwest might sell their grain to rice farmers in Southeast Asia, who sell their rice to people in China and Japan. The Chinese and Japanese people might eat the rice to keep them healthy so they can go to work at automobile factories, where they make cars that they sell to the grain farmers in the American Midwest.

Trade circles aren't always this perfect. One country might sell its goods to a country from which it doesn't accept anything in return. It all depends on the needs of its people.

Again, peoples and countries and civilizations need to trade because they can't produce by themselves everything they need to survive. This is where trade comes in. Trade keeps the populations of the world running.

First page > Too Much or Too Little? > Page 1, 2

Graphics courtesy of ArtToday


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