The Theory of Comparative Advantage

Economics is called the "dismal science" for reasons obvious to those who have studied it. Supply and demand curves, marginal costs, and incomprehensible instructors were all part of my Economics 1a and 1b experience. There was, however, one principle that I did comprehend: the Theory of Comparative Advantage. The theory holds that individuals, investments, resources, etc. are best put to use in those activities where the economic returns are highest. The textbook example goes like this: If the best lawyer in town is also the fastest typist in town, where is the lawyer's time best spent: typing or practicing law? The answer is obvious, especially in view of the huge legal fees generated by some recent malpractice awards. What does some obscure economic theory have to do with the jewelry business? Actually, quite a lot. It has been my experience that many manufacturing and retail jewe
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