I don’t think so, considering it takes about a month to cross the Atlantic by sail. In our increasingly globalized society, that is simply to slow for the current speed of commerce. Even if we were patient, the rate at which money exchanges hands, currency shifts in value, and supplies of goods and resources increases and decreases, it would be an economic nightmare. Not only would the time frames shift drastically but the amount of goods able to be shipped would drastically decrease.
It will probably never happen, although I don’t think it would be such a bad thing if it did. In fact it would be a blessing. It might force countries to produce goods within their own borders, therefore drastically reducing the energy used to ship goods all over the world. It would also create many jobs that are lost to cheap labor abroad, not in the financial sector of course, but for the rest of us.
We could only transport certain types of goods by sailboat, which brings the whole concept into question. Perishable items, such as produce or meat, would not be able to cross an ocean without spoiling. This would drive the price of food up drastically around the world and therefore wouldn’t happen. Many products are calibrated to an extremely sensitive setting, and a potential month travel on a boat that sways could lead to product inefficiency and therefore companies would not accept it. Also, considering that we have not perfected the ability to judge the wind it would be nearly impossible to know exactly how long an oversea shipment would take. All in all, it would simply create too many problems and it is not feasible.
Yes it is not feasible to ship most food via boat, but it is ridiculous how far our food needs to travel in the first place. Food can be produced all over the world locally, as it has been done since the Neolithic Revolution and the Sumerians around 3,500 BC. There is no good reason to ship food across the world when fresher and better food could be produced locally, using much less energy. Especially in developed countries, I believe the food demand could be met with a better farm subsidies policy.
No, it would definitely take a catastrophe or a complete change in economic demand to make sail boats a viable supply option.
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