Friday, August 8, 2014

Trade Miracles in the Age of the Internet

When the great age of sailing was in full swing, there were a number of reasons why all this sailing was going on.  I can think of a number of distinct economic purposes:
1.  The trading of goods.  Yes, raw materials and finished materials could be sold for more in areas where their supply was more limited and there was a demand.
2.  The movement of people.  Much of the migration of the world took place during this period of time.
3.  The movement of information -- Mail, etc.
4.  The exercise of power by the Armies and Navies of the great powers.
5.  Exploration, both geographic and scientific.
6.  And, to a limited extent, pleasure.

It is the trading of goods that I wanted to explore from an interesting perspective.  Today, I received a book that I had purchased on the internet from a book dealer in the United Kingdom.  I could have gone down to the local book store (the few that are left) and purchased this 2012 hardback for $30.00 plus tax at about $33.00.  Or, I could have bought it from a book store in another state at a discount of about 20% without sales tax, but with shipping at about $28.00.  Or, I could have bought the paperback edition for $14.99 plus tax at $15.49.  Or I could have bought the ebook for $7.99 plus tax at $8.79.  But, this book is heavily illustrated, and I did not want to buy the ebook.  Or, I could have bought a used book in very good condition.  So, I went to and found a copy in like new condition (hardbound) in ENGLAND for $0.64 plus shipping of $3.79 for a total of $4.43.  This book weighs about 5 pounds and traveled about 7,000 miles as the crow flies to get to me and took about a week to get here.  This is the miracle of the internet.