Running The Rails : Absolute And Comparative Advantage Essay

Running The Rails : Absolute And Comparative Advantage Essay

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Running the Rails: Absolute and Comparative Advantage
In the middle of the 19th century, America found itself in the midst of enormous expansion. Born out of the idea of manifest destiny, America sought to expand its borders, from the east coast all of the way to the west coast. One of largest and most important public project of the time was the construction of the transcontinental railroad, to deliver people and supplies to the west. As the railroad neared completion, it was suggested that the railroad could import cheaper British steel rails to complete the transcontinental railroad, to which Abraham Lincoln responded, “It seems to me that if we buy the rails from Britain, then we’ve got the rails and they’ve got the money. But if we build the rails here, we’ve got our rails and we’ve got our money.” It seems illogical that Lincoln would pass up on the opportunity to reduce the cost of a project of that magnitude without reason, but to understand his motives we have to discuss both the absolute advantage and comparative advantage of the situation.
Absolute Advantage
Absolute adva...

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