Steven Landsburg on Trade Deficits

On page 205 of his book More Sex is Safer Sex, Steven Landsburg offers and excellent explanation on why we shouldn’t be concerned about trade deficits:

Here’s the final thing to keep in mind when you read about the nation’s overall trade deficit: the nation is nothing but the sum of individual households.  But there are limits to how much you ought to care about what goes on in other people’s households.  Even if you are convinced that the average American spends too much, or earns too little, or spends too little, or earns too much, it’s not entirely clear why it’s any of your business.  As long as you have your own household in order, fretting about your neighbor’s spending habits is a lot like fretting about the color of his living-room rug.  Maybe lime green was a big mistake, but it’s his mistake to live with.

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