Where the Real Action Is

By March 22, 2005General

While all the other blog wannabes are off trying to curry favor with CNN’s blog beat reporter Jacki Schechner and producer Abbi Tatton, yesterday our blogger-in-chief was where the real action is, molding young minds, speaking to the 7th and 8th graders at St. Bernadette’s School in Springfield, Va.

Thanks to Mrs. Zadrozny — a great social studies teacher — for the invite. The topic was trade, always a dicey subject. We started out by comparing a few products — bricks, textiles and pharmaceuticals, and their various cost drivers — R&D, capital, labor, transportation, etc. Then we compared those cost drivers here in the US to China.

Next we looked at all the things that drive a nation’s competitiveness: wage rates, utilities (cost and reliability), infrastructure, education and skill level of the workforce, innovation, etc. The US looks pretty good as compared to China in most of these categories, and is what makes us still a world leader in competitiveness.

In any event, a good session all around. Talked about non-production costs, where we lead the world (unfortunately), like legal costs and taxes. Good for the students to hear it. They all got some NAM tchotchkes and some other manufactured products from the Mars Company, for which they were most grateful.

A special thanks to “Mrs. Z” and to the Principal, Sr. Maureen Vellon, for the opportunity, and to 8th grade stand-outs Tom Heitbrink, Kevin Hoonan , Victor Calix and Eric Rasmus and to 7th grade trade experts in the making Joe Kvartunas, Emma Gauthier, Mark McDonnell and Morgan Duffy.