January – Worldwide Ties
Ever considered what it takes to make your laptop, your soda, your pencil?
That last one has gained a life of its own. Economists and logistics gurus will constantly evoke the phrase “making a pencil” as the ultimate example of the complexity of today’s interconnected world. For something so ubiquitous, pencils are incredibly complicated. The wood comes from nearly anywhere, whether it be the forests of north California or the woods of South America. The rubber could come from a rubber tree plantation in Liberia, or it could be raised in southeast Asia. The aluminum band holding the eraser to the pencil probably starts out as a raw material mined in Jamaica, but would have come from Bauxite, AR at one point. The graphite could come from any one of hundreds of places around the world.
The same applies to almost any other object. Prius batteries are made from lithium in Canada. For anyone who bought one of the newer GTOs that Pontiac released a few years back, you were really buying an Australian car with an American badge on it. Boeing, when building its new 787, builds the main fuselage in Taiwan and then flies it to Washington state to assemble it later. We live in a world where nothing is truly “made” in America, China, Taiwan, Korea, Vietnam or anywhere else.
This month, Arkansas:Abroad will be focusing on this issue. We’re going to have pieces on international businesses here in Arkansas that embody this, we’ll have interviews with individuals playing a crucial role in this new world standard and we’ll have editorials about the pros and cons of our new international, interconnected world. On top of this, we’ll be running the usual articles on issues that matter most to Arkansans, and we’re going to start posting our first pieces from students in our state’s universities.
In addition, I’d like to announce a very special addition to the Arkansas:Abroad staff. Chris Ledbetter, an alum of Arkansas Tech, is currently undergoing a whirlwind tour of 11 nations with a missions group. As he leaves each country, he will be writing articles for us describing the culture, the people and his experiences. So, make sure to check back regularly for these new updates.
We’re looking forward to this month. Come along for the ride.
Founder, Managing Editor
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