Yesterday, I took the afternoon to explore around Vancouver and ended up taking a seaplane ride around the coast. As we were heading back in, I saw empty container ship after container ship at anchor. I reminded me that the US imports more goods (from China) than they export. But then I realized what the US exports (or what Developed Nations export) doesn't really fit on a container ship.
Developed Nations (and I'm talking about North America, Europe and parts of Asia: Korea and Japan) don't necessarily export goods. They export ideas. And most of these ideas can be exported in a way that doesn't take months to cross the earth. These ideas are exported - shared - via the Internet.
So while the US may have more goods imported from developing nations, it exports it's (our) ideas (and influence of those ideas) far wider and faster than a container ship could hope to.
* photo by jdnx