As Ms BillyRock pointed out yesterday, other people—wherever they are—give us benefits even if we never meet them. Even if we don’t even know they exist. Even if they’re from the other side of the planet—or even (Galt forbid) from the other side of the Tasman.
It’s all part of the social cooperation of the market, in which we can all enjoy the many benefits of genius wherever we are .
Which is why it’s so much fun to see the nationalistic chest-beating about inventions. Case in point: Canada v Australia.
Here’s Canada boasting about “50 of Canada’s greatest gifts to the world,” including Superman, basketball, walkie talkies, sports instant replay, sonar, the prosthetic hand, the snow blower, the electron microscope, the cardiac pacemaker, the wonderbra, the alkaline battery, the caulking gun, and the use of insulin for diabetes (all of which in point of fact are not Canada’s gift to the world, but the gifts of some particular Canadians). And here’s Australia boasting about just four recent world-changing technological advancements gifted to the world by Australians, including Wi-Fi, Google Maps, spray-on-skin for burns treatment, and the Bionic ear—all this to be added to the black box, the medical application of penicillin, the electric drill, Permaculture, the ultrasound scanner, the fridge, plastic spectacle lenses, vaccines for cervical cancer, the notepad, the ute, the rotary clothes line, and the RaceCam.
So Canada can boast 50. And Australia can boast 20. And we can all realise that when it comes to markets it’s not a war of all against all, but an institution from which we all benefit. So for all of us who are part of the worldwide division of labour, it’s not 50 versus 30, it’s a win for all of us of 80.