A few days ago, I bought a cute little recharging dock for my iPhone. It cost $29.00; the shipping came to $4.00. Here’s an image of it-
A few hours after completing the transaction, I received an email from Apple telling me that my dock was on its way, along with a tracking number. Out of curiosity, I clicked on the number and discovered that the unit had been placed on a flight out of a little town near Hong Kong, and that I would have it in a few days.
This got me thinking about the global economy. You’d think that it would be worthwhile for Apple to locate a factory in, say, Tennessee, and make such relatively low-tech doodads there. After all, they clearly don’t require a lot of labor to produce. At the very least, you’d think it would be worthwhile to stockpile a few thousand of these things in a warehouse at some central location – maybe Topeka, KS – and ship them to U.S. customers out of there. But no, it turns out that it’s cheaper to make these things in China and ship them to lone customers such as myself literally halfway around the world.
Wasn’t it Groucho who said that “If capital is international, so must be labor”? Or was it that other Marx brother?