Fixations on trade balance (e.g., balance with each partner) is especially dumb for the country of the main international reserve currency

Active management of trade policy to have equal imports/exports on each trade account with trading partners (or even the aggregate trade account) tends to lead to bad economic policy that is mostly politically motivated (e.g., getting contracts for friends).

The concern should be more about competition, which underlies innovation and technical progress, which are themselves the main thing (aside from effective and generally impartial institutions) which underlie growth in well-being.

It’s not dumb to concern about trade deficits. But to fixate on them is bad, and among those whose opinions on the matter is professional, such a fixation would be discrediting to their peers.

If the above is not obvious, one should take the time to understand the following, as it is very important. The US dollar is the reserve currency for many countries (and companies). The stability and liquidity of the currency mean that there is relatively higher demand, which makes the US dollar “overpriced”. This is a major cause of US trade deficits being practically baked into the global finance and trading system. Also, it can be noted that, yes there are (trade) deficits, but US international buying power is also immediately upgraded due to what is mentioned above (for corporations this means they can get a higher volume of real investments for the same amount of US currency), while at the same time a high US dollar tends to additionally weed out uncompetitive activities and thus contributes to higher competitiveness in the long run.

The billionaires all understand this. However, it is not always better for all groups (especially in the shorter run), and diverse groups should enjoy significant political freedoms (i.e. free of oppression by the state and moreover enjoying the active protection of the state to do so) to research, express and organize to represent their interests both within and outside of the main established political processes and organizations.

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