Quotation of the Day…

by Don Boudreaux on November 29, 2013

in Balance of Payments, Myths and Fallacies, Trade

… is from page 232 of Melvin Reder’s 1999 collection, Economics: The Culture of a Controversial Science (footnote omitted):

The basic feature of the mercantilist conceptual organization is that an economy is akin to a profit-maximizing enterprise whose objective is [financial-] capital accumulation.  Beyond the minimum necessary for maintenance of the work force, consumption is considered wasteful, so increasing per capita real income would not promote the community welfare.

Reder goes on to correctly point out that politicians’, the punditry’s, and the ‘man-in-the-street’s’ fear today of imports – and the applause these same people give to policies that allegedly increase “our” exports without increasing either “our” imports or “our” current-account deficit – reflect the continuing grip of mercantilist superstitions on the popular mind.

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