One of the many benefits of international trade is increased product variety because countries can devote resources to the goods they have a comparative advantage in. Monty Python demonstrates what a world without trade would look like. After going through a list of a variety of different types of cheese (even cheddar!), but nothing is available. The finest cheese shop is at least clean!
The Easter Bunny Is Comin’ to Town (1977) is a classic kids’ claymation film. In this clip, Sunny talks about how trade is necessary for Kidtown!
Thanks to James Tierney for the clip and description!
A few years back there was a popular video of a human powered ferris wheel in India. I use that clip to talk about labor abundance in the Heckscher–Ohlin model of trade since India is so labor-abundant. Earlier we came across this fantastic video of a construction site in Thailand (another labor rich country). For small construction jobs, the workers will use manpower (literally) instead of machines to drive piles into the ground. This clip could also be used in a labor economics setting if you’re talking about substitutes in production. Either way, this is a fun-video for class with a pretty nice beat from the tambourine-wielding foreman.
Sir Harold Evans, the author of They Made America, describes how the shipping container revolutions international trade and made it easier to ship products around the world. This TED Talk could be used when discussing comparative advantage and trade or even when thinking about factors that have led to the growth of countries.
Mitch Hedberg has spent a lot of time becoming a good comedian, but as soon as he gets to Hollywood, people start asking him to do other things that he isn’t (comparatively) good at like acting or writing. He compares this to spending time becoming a great cook and then being asked if you could farm. People should specialize in what they have a comparative advantage in and if Mitch Hedberg spent is time writing or acting then he’d be giving up a lot of income as a good comedian.
You can see the full clip on Comedy Central.
At Pulaski Academy in Arkansas, Kevin Kelley’s team never punts because he opts for high risk decisions because the probabilities are in his favor. He doesn’t believe in taking the risk averse method and he also believes in focuses on his team’s comparative advantage instead of just doing the traditional method.
In this satire piece, The Onion News Network interviews employees who are outsourcing their labor to foreign workers so that they can have more fun in the office.
James Tierney shared this great clip on his website a few years ago and it covers the idea of using Project Runway to discuss specialization and gains from trade. One of the contestants describes the process of designing the outfit line and discusses each member’s role in the creation of the outcome.
This is a great clip to talk about opportunity costs and gains from trade. The author goes through the process of making an entire chicken sandwich from scratch. I often open lecture asking students how much it would cost them if they did it themselves and then we watch this video.