Global Trade: The Road to Ruin

In Shanghai not long ago, I took a walk from my hotel along Nanjing Road to the Bund, the promenade on the banks of the Huangpu where visitors from China’s hinterland gather to gaze across the river, awestruck, at the ultramodern skyscrapers of Pudong that have transformed the city’s skyline in not much more than a decade. It wasn’t what was on the far side, though, that got my attention: it was the traffic on the river itself, great container ships, chuffing lighters, bulk carriers, every sort of waterborne vessel you could imagine carrying every imaginable cargo, churning up the waters