Common Senselessness

by Don Boudreaux on October 15, 2011

in Balance of Payments, Myths and Fallacies, Trade

Here’s another letter to The Nation:

Thomas Geoghegan writes that “Of course no country should run a trade deficit. That’s common sense” (“What Would Keynes Do?” Sept. 27).

Let’s translate the first sentence into terms more revealing: “Of course no country should ever have a net inflow of capital.”

Appending “That’s common sense” to this translation of Mr. Geoghegan’s sentence seems, well, to contradict common sense.

Thundering against trade deficits is a shoddy and easy means of rousing the economically illiterate to support destructive protectionist policies.  But such histrionics remain very bad economics.

Donald J. Boudreaux


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