Archive for the 'GDP' Category

Feb 19 2008

Weak dollar to the rescue – how exports may save the US economy

Defining the macroeconomic problem – Paul Krugman – Op-Ed Columnist – New York Times Blog

Paul Krugman, economics columnist for the NYT, shares his views the true problem with the US macroeconomy. Krugman thinks that the source of instability today is too much consumer spending and too few exports in the last decade.

Basically, I’d say, the problem is twofold. First, in the mid-00s the U.S. economy got badly unbalanced — too much dependence on housing and housing-inflated consumer spending, too big a trade deficit.

The table here (from Krugman’s piece) shows the net change in consumer spending, investment (non-residential or business investment, and residential investment) and net exports between 2007 and the average for the last 20 years of the last century. Continue Reading »

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Nov 20 2007

Exports, good – Imports, ALSO GOOD!

Foreign Policy: Why We Trade

Professor Russ Roberts, host of the EconTalk podcast, has an essay in the latest issues of Foreign Policy journal titled “Why We Trade”. In this piece, Roberts defends the benefits of trade from a broad perspective, beyond the popular political view of trade, usually along the lines of “exports, good – imports, bad”. Roberts compares this line of thinking (characteristic of presidential candidates of both the Republican and Democratic parties), to the 14th century, pre-Adam Smith view of world trade, known as mercantilism.

Mercantilism was a view of global economic interaction that placed emphasis on the accumulation of gold and other precious metals from abroad in exchange for your country’s exports. The doctrine failed to recognize the importance of imports from abroad, as this was viewed as a loss of wealth to foreigners. Mercantilists viewed wealth in terms of bullion or the amount of precious metals a country owned. Today, of course, our understanding of wealth has evolved to account for the amount of output, or products (goods and services), we are able to consume. Herein lies the flaw in the rhetoric of modern politicians who, “are always talking about the necessity of other countries’ opening their markets to American products. They never mention the virtues of opening U.S. markets to foreign products.”

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