It’s Not Just World Trade — It’s Human Development

If you think of world trade as the exchange of products for money, its real power is the exchange of ideas to create innovative breakthroughs. In fact, a recent Wall Street Journal story characterized international trade “as the most momentous innovation of the human species; it led to the invention of invention.” The editors suggest that the new buzz word is “collective intelligence.” They define this as the notion that what determines the inventiveness and rate of cultural exchange of a population is the amount of interaction between individuals. You will be amazed to know that the oldest evidence of human trade comes from roughly 80,000 to 120,00 years ago, when shell beads in Algeria moved 100 miles from the seas and obsidian tools in Ethiopia came from a particular volcano.

What we learn is that once human beings started exchanging things, “they stumbled upon divisions of labor in which specialization led to mutually beneficial collective knowledge.” Ideas fed other ideas and new products and services were created. The greatest inventions of the world could only happen when innovators traveled to tap into new thinking.

It is what happens when entrepreneurs recognize that product innovation and global exports

are interconnected. In my book, Conscientious Equity, I built on the theme of innovation to include the benefits of positive social change that accrues when nations freely trade with each other. This underscores the importance of Free Trade Agreements. Imagine the creativity that could emerge if all of us are allowed to play our part in the most momentous innovation of the human species: trade.

One Response to “It’s Not Just World Trade — It’s Human Development”
  1. Casey Bewley says:

    I think you have struck an interesting analogy with world trade as the medium for exchanging ideas. Invention is continuously evolving which has lead consumers to this path which the editor from the Wall Street Journal explains as “collective intelligence.” My theory which elaborates on your exchange of ideas is tied to the exchange of solutions. Many of the greatest innovators evolved before the creation of electricity or combustible engines. Dating as far back to 3000 to 2400 BC architects which constructed pyramids in ancient Egypt rolled the blocks of slab made from white limestone taken from quarries across the Nile onto wooden logs to construct these colossal monuments.
    Many of the ideas and theory that we have today has been derived from centuries of finding solutions by simply becoming innovative.
    A few of the best tangible items discovered which are now becoming more sustainable are listed:
    • Electric Light Bulb (Thomas Edison)
    • Steam Engine (James Watt)
    • Telephone (Alexander Gram Bell)
    • Computer Microchip (Robert Noyce)
    The tools which have been created to resolve solutions to problems will always continue to be enhanced. Successful entrepreneurs construct intangible solutions and are able to leverage supply and demand. This ultimately creates a lasting foundation in the creativity of Free Trade Agreements similar to our ancient ancestors whom found solid structure when building the pyramids.

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