I’ve never heard of such a term but there is a place for it. Arbitrage is taking a price differential among multiple market goods and benefiting from the differences. Arbitrage is usually done with currencies but it can be done with anything.
One year when I went to the Soviet Union I was told to take a Seiko watch that I could buy in Stockholm for $200 and sell in Moscow for the dollar equivalent of $400. I did and I got $400 worth of ruples.
Unfortunately, I couldn’t....
Unfortunately, I couldn’t find anything in communist Moscow to buy that would fetch any price back in the USA. The deal would have been perfect arbitrage if I had found a fur neck piece for $400 worth of ruples worth the same of more in the U.S.A
I wish I had had a good example of arbitrage to tell you about. Instead, I was lucky to get $200 for my ruples on the black market and break even while breaking the law.
I think of cultural arbitrage because the U.S. has had a $25 million
reward for Osama B. L. for four years and it hasn’t worked. I think
there is a cultural problem.
If I knew the languages or even had one reliable friend in the Paki-Afghani mountains I would put out notices that turning in Osama to me would be worth 500 camels and 300 goats to the person who gave me information. Animal herds most likely mean more to the mountain folk hiding Osama than millions of dollars. I could then pocket the $24.990 million difference. Cultural arbitrage.
By the way, still on point, has the State Department gone back to its old ways as suggested by Reuel Marc Gerecht in the latest Weekly Standard? Here is the quote regarding Bernard Lewis: “ … Lewis's nuanced writings on democracy in the Muslim world, ….. probably helped to flesh out the administration's rapidly evolving understanding of Middle Eastern politics and faith after 9/11. (An understanding that may now be vanishing as the Near East Bureau at the State Department regains control of American policy in the Middle East.)”
I hope Gerecht is wrong but he deals with the State Department folk all the time and he is probably right.
Bad, bad news.