The lesson of comparative advantage is that while anything we do is worth doing well, not everything we do well is worth doing. A CEO who is a great cook still orders take-out, even take-out that is not as good as what the CEO can make. The cost of cooking is not just the grocery bill. 47
Consider Jane Galt, the pseudonym of an accomplished journalist who blogs on economics and policy. 48 She recently blogged on the best kitchen gadgets. Her descriptions made us want to buy all of them—Jane writes very well and her passion for cool stuff is contagious. A visitor to the site commented, perhaps tongue-in-cheek, that the failure of Jane to be hired as a copywriter for a kitchenware catalog was proof that markets do not work well. 49 Jane remains a journalist precisely because markets do work well—as good as she is at writing catalog copy, she is even better at journalism. For Jane to become a copywriter for a catalog would be very costly even though she is very good at it. I presume the kitchenware makers cannot pay her enough to bid her away from her day job as a journalist.
50 Just because America could make fabulous televisions does not mean we should have a television industry. The cost of producing televisions means less of something else. It might be better to make that something else and trade with foreigners for televisions. Letting people outside the United States sell us televisions and cars and watches and steel and shoes frees up resources that allow us to make more of other things we value.
(A)However, the most productive use of one’s time depends on the skills that others can provide.
(B) What is even more valuable is the time taken away from managing the company.
(C)The existence of prices and wages makes it possible to answer these questions.
(D)The same lesson applies to a country.