On my way to the gym on a cold, New Hampshire afternoon I came across the amazing Singapore ship, Strategic Alliance, docked in the Portsmouth port.
This ship is here to deliver tons upon tons of sand for people in New Hampshire and Maine to put on the roads during a nasty ice storm. Here are the specs of the Strategic Alliance:
STRATEGIC ALLIANCE Type: bulk carrier Arrival: Sept. 18 Flag: Singapore Cargo: salt Terminal: Granite State Minerals Deadweight: 39,848 tons Length x breadth: 180 x 30 meters Year built: 2014 40,000 tons of deadweight! Insane. The irony, of course, is that while this ship is bringing the US sand, “Singapore’s imported gas consumption made up 91% of its primary fuel usage”. Thus they import the fuel to power their country and export the sand to keep other countries roads safe! That’s international trade at its finest! I love it.
You want a peaceful world??? Trade, trade and trade some more. In economics we call it comparative advantage. You do what you’re good at, I do what I’m good at and we trade our products and/or services. This is the most efficient way to do things AND increases human productivity and overall quality of life.
Oh, and by the way, a nice corollary to trade is peace. Trading partners typically don’t go to war with each other.
So, while the world seems to be dominated by the headlines of tech, clean energy and such, remember, most trade is done by the grunts, the miners digging for coal, the wildcatters getting the oil, the merchant marine working on boats, the fork-lift operators moving the goods, the longshoremen, the over-the-road truckers, etc. You can have a good career in those fields, folks.
Yeah, maybe not as sexy as being a software engineer at Google, but I have a sneaky feeling, these jobs will be longer lasting. If you’re looking for a career, don’t be afraid to get your hands dirty.