With imagination, one can add value to, literally, anything. While we know that, we seem to ignore it when we fret ceaselessly over what happens as we lose our underwear factories to China. Answer: Turn to water! Consider this news item from AOL last night: "With 600 brands to choose from, bottled water now outsells soft drinks. However, instead of buying a beverage made from a secret formula (Coca-Cola), we're spending $100 billion annually worldwide to drink what pours from our own taps. ... In 2005, the Beverly Hills company Bling H20 introduced its limited edition spring water selling for $34 a liter that's become a Hollywood signature."
Not the basis for a "sound economy," you rebut! Well, it has been for about the last 60 or so years as branding of mundane stuff has become the main engine of value-added. Perhaps the only news is not water, but the fact that, in a wildly competitive global economy, we now have to brand ourselves to survive. You know, the "brand you" bit.