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Eight lessons you can learn about the global economy by visiting America’s busiest seaport


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All my life my father has been taking me down to Long Beach but his message is slightly different: never to forget that I am a child of the Pacific Rim. The Port of Los Angeles reminds you that for everything but luxury goods Europe is now a midget in the economy of stuff.

But for luxury goods, Europe is still very important.

Someone has to buy all that high end stuff, and increasingly most Americans can't.

I mean luxury goods COME FROM there: expensive cars, cheese, designer clothes, wines, etc.

Oh, I see.

The Qz article really doesn't go into that at all.

Although frankly I do not consider LEGO, IKEA, or Heineken to be luxury items.

How about Hermes, Maserati, Teuscher?

Gucci Soft Stirrup Crocodile Shoulder Bag

Or Gucci?  

Gucci Soft Stirrup Crocodile Shoulder Bag $32,500 

ridonculous!  that bag isn't even pretty!

oh, but teuscher chocolates.... mmmmmmmmm.....

I guess that Gucci bag costs $32.5k so it will have an aire of exclusivity.

But you're right, Emily. It's ridiculous. 

But now when I go down there, I tend to think about how much of the economy of stuff is really necessary. I ride a bike (American-made in Oregon!) as much as I can to get around, heat my house as little as I can, eat as much food from the farmer's market as I can, and buy cheap consumer goods as rarely as I can. Furthermore like most Americans today I work in the information economy. When we stand around and look at the giant cranes at Long Beach, is the sheer spectacle blinding us to the possibility of a new kind of economy?

It's called the 70s, Joyce, before the 80's ushered in an era of easy credit and gross overconsumption. 

At the very least, developing nations need food and materials to build up their economies:

The number one export from the Port of Los Angeles is air—empty shipping containers, to be precise. It’s a very tangible manifestation of the US trade deficit with the rest of the world: When you import more than you export, a lot of containers go back empty.

But after air, the next biggest export is trash. Specifically, 293,523 containers’ worth of wastepaper, much of which goes to China to be recycled into boxes to feed that country’s own export machine. The port also handles scrap metal at a dedicated terminal. The terminal includes a “mega-shredder” that can dismember cars and other large metal objects in seconds. After leaving the United States, the metal heads to Mexico, China or Brazil, where laxer environmental regulations allow it to be recycled more cheaply into raw metal, some of which eventually returns to the US.

I love that America's main exports are air and trash.

I'm a refugee from the 70's!!! I am not a dirty hippeh though... just a practical person who doesn't like waste.

That's too bad because waste seems to be an export that America excels at.

and dirty hippies are fun!

Hippie alert! Cue Cartman...

Cartman get a job hippie gif

"they're binding, if you will."  hahaha!  LOVE LOVE LOVE me some south park!

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