I'm trained as an economist, and I understand the theory of comparative advantage, but I still have not figured out how the world's economic system makes it possible for this bottle of water to find its way from Fiji to Boston, a distance of about 8000 miles. It is not just the water, it is the plastic bottle, which is either manufactured somewhere and imported to Fiji, or the raw ingredients of which have to be imported to Fiji and made into a bottle there. Then, the bottle and the water both have to be shipped around the world to this market.
But what I really don't understand is why anyone would buy this water. (I acquired this bottle at a hotel in Boston, where I was attending a conference. Do they really think that we make choices about hotels based on which bottled water is served?)
A 24-pack of the Fiji 500 ml bottle weighs 27 pounds and costs $38.00 on this website. That's 12 liters for $38.00, or over $3 per liter.
A comparable pack of San Pelligrino from Italy costs $26.00, or a little over $2 per liter.
Poland Spring water from Maine costs $7.49 per pack, or less than $1 per liter.
Tap water in Boston costs $6.oo per 1000 gallons, which is roughly 3780 liters, for a price of .16 cent per liter.
Another part of economics is the theory of rational choice, which basically says that people consider the costs and benefits of their actions before making purchases or taking other economic steps.