Last weekend I had the great privilege of going on a Bay cruise that began in Alameda, circled through the Port Of Oakland, went under the Bay Bridge, and ended up back in Alameda. For me, by far the best part of this adventure was getting “up close and personal” to the giant shipping cranes that carefully place containerized cargo onto huge cargo ships. On the return trip, these same cranes unload ships coming from faraway places like Hong Kong and put the containers onto trucks. Many of the containers then end up on trains that deliver goods all over the country. I guess it’s the fascinated kid in me that can’t get over man’s ability to achieve such great things with such ingenuity and efficiency. I always want to know “the way things work” and I learn best by just watching. In the case of the shipping industry though, there is something else I’m interested in. It just strikes me, as I watch the cranes loading their cargo onto the ships, that the world has become very small indeed…. and we have increasingly become very intertwined and interdependent with one another. For example, I was curious to see a huge pile of what looked like scrap metal out at the port. When I asked about this I learned that the United States ships this metal to China where it is melted together to make new metal “things”. I suppose for some reason it’s cheaper to do this in China. So…. we do this constant “trade” with other countries and all of our economies have become one big “global” economy. We really do need each other. We are all “One” in some sense.
The politics of “Trade”
I realize of course that a case can be made for who the “power” players are in the business of world trade. I’m not an expert in this area, so I won’t even go there. It just seems to me that there is a universal “truth” that transcends current political realities. The truth is that we all just share this one earth and we have great examples of how to cooperate and collaborate with one another in such a way that everyone can benefit. I like to think of the shipping industry as being an example of that human ability. I like to imagine Chinese dock workers…the equivalent of our longshoremen and teamsters…. unloading goods and transporting stuff where it needs to go. I imagine it works much the same there as here.
Am I Naive?
Ok…Ok…. I’m totally aware of oversimplifying the flow of energy and goods all over the world. I’m guilty of this belief that there is some kind of magnanimous force for good at work that is moving us all closer to each other…albeit not always smoothly and “fairly”. For me, the evidence is all around that this is so… maybe I’m just choosing to see what I choose to see because it gives me a sense of peace and faith to so choose.
We all have our worldview. And this is part of mine.