This is a pencil. There isn’t a single person in the world who could make this pencil.
The wood from which it was made came from a tree cut down in the state of Washington.
To cut down that tree, it took a saw.
To make that saw, it took steel.
To make that steel, it took iron ore.
The black center of the pencil, which we call ‘lead’, is actually made from compressed graphite.
It comes from mines in South America.
The eraser, made from rubber, likely comes from Malaysia.
The rubber tree wasn’t native to Malaysia. It was imported from South America by businessmen with the help of the British government.
The brass fairing that holds the eraser probably came from the Midwestern United States, where computerized machine tools stamp, roll, finish and convey them.
The yellow paint, the glue that holds it together… literally thousands of people cooperated to make this pencil.
People who don’t speak the same language. Who practice different religions. Who might hate one another if they ever met. When you visit a store and buy this pencil, you are — in effect — trading a few minutes of your time for a few seconds of time from all those thousands of people.