Sunday, October 11, 2015

Video Series Highlights the Importance of Agriculture

An interesting YouTube series entitled "How to Make Everything" has recently made the rounds in the media. The big story was about Andy George's experience making a chicken sandwich literally almost from scratch. He spent 6 months and $1,500 to make the sandwich.

What struck me about his experiences was that they show the importance of agriculture in our everyday lives. In the sandwich and suit videos, George brings the viewer face to face with the production of wheat, vegetables, poultry, wool, and cotton necessary to feed and clothe us. We can hope that these videos pique the curiosity of viewers who don't know where their food and fiber come from.

These videos also highlight the immense complexity of our modern economy. They are real-world examples of the "I, Pencil" story. They can be economically instructive as well, as Arnold Kling notes in his post:
I just don’t think you capture the phenomenon of specialization and trade with textbook economic models. It is not two-by-two trade.
We owe our immense modern standard of living to the mechanization of agriculture and the specialization it has allowed. George's videos are well worth your time and could certainly be used in an introductory economics course.

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