Maritime Trade, Global Economies, and the Megaports Initiative
The purpose of this posting is two-fold. Part one is to describe the importance of maritime trade to global economies, and part two is to illustrate the importance of the Megaports Initiative to international trade.
Part One: Obviously, global trade involves moving finished goods and heavy commodities over long distances. From both a tonnage perspective and value perspective, an overwhelming share of inter-hemispheric and trans-oceanic trade involves the use of maritime (as opposed to aviation) transportation. Therefore, as I composed this response, I considered "global trade" and "international trade" nearly synonymous with "maritime trade."
Rather than simply "describe" the importance of maritime global trade, I shall actually "emphasize" its importance so that you, the reader, know right away that I am a staunch and firm proponent of free trade. Free, unfettered, and unregulated global trade (with some notable exceptions below) is hugely beneficial to the aggregate welfare of the world at large. The explosion of global trade over the last 5 decades has lifted entire segments of populations throughout China, India, Vietnam, Brazil, and nearly ALL of Korea out of poverty and into a new working and stable middle class. Ancillary benefits include significant improvements in literacy, life expectancy, and gains in personal freedom and self determination, with China being a frustrating exception. Critics of global trade (a wily bunch ranging from thoughtful academics to concerned unions to undisciplined and uninformed "anarchists") have all sorts of counter arguments against a global economy. Their protestations are far too numerous to address at length in this forum, but a quick review of some of the fallacious and unfounded concerns would include: global trade suppresses the "locally grown" movement; it enriches the wealthy at the expense of the world's poor; it...
References: The National Nuclear Security Administration, Megaports Initiative (October 2009), U.S. Department of Energy. (Retrieved from the AMU HLSS 645 course materials folder on 14 December 2009)
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