Arnold Kling

Comparative Advantage

Arnold Kling, Great Questions of Economics
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Brad DeLong makes the case that comparative advantage is the most poorly-understood principle of economics.

a huge number of people think not in terms of "comparative" but of "absolute" advantage: they think that if American businesses can produce goods using less worker time than other countries, that we have no business importing such goods. But they are wrong. The true source of long-run wealth is for us to specialize in what we are best at--not for us to distribute traded goods-sector workers around all sectors and make everything in which we are more productive than other countries.

Discussion Question. Suppose that I can mow my own lawn three times faster than someone who I might pay to do it. Should I mow my own lawn?

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