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Antediluvian Mercantilist

Here’s a letter to the Washington Post:

Harold Meyerson notes that “a large number of American businesses, in a campaign coordinated by the U.S.-China Business Council, oppose” legislation to ‘punish’ China for its allegedly undervalued currency (“The real un-Americans,” Sept. 24).  He continues: “The question here is whether the 220 corporations that belong to the council – household names such as Coca-Cola, Bank of America, Ford, GM, Wal-Mart, Intel, Microsoft, Hewlett-Packard, J.P. Morgan Chase, Chevron, Exxon Mobil and Boeing – are already so deeply invested in China as manufacturers, marketers or retailers that buy goods there to sell them here that their interests are more closely aligned with China’s than with America’s.”

That Mr. Meyerson’s view of trade is distorted is revealed by his presumption that firms’ interests are not aligned, or only weakly so, with those of the countries in which they sell their outputs.  That Mr. Meyerson’s understanding of America’s interests is mistaken is revealed by his belief that those interests are furthered by legislation that raises the prices Americans pay for goods and services.

Donald J. Boudreaux

Relatedly, here’s the always-excellent Stuart Anderson.