… is from page 198 of the late Robert Bartley’s 1992 book about America during the years 1983 through 1989, The Seven Fat Years:
And yet America has still not come to terms with its integration into the world economy. Somehow we have trouble remembering that commerce takes place between consenting adults, that the bargain makes both sides richer in one way or another. Instead, we tend to view trade as some kind of nationalistic competition. Winning, as best as I can figure out, is selling more to the rest of the world than we buy from it. Laying aside the fact that this is ultimately impossible, why? If we could do it, what would we do with the proceeds, bury them in Fort Knox?