Why We Trade


Publication Date: January 2008

Publisher: Hoover Institution on War, Revolution, and Peace

Author(s): Russell Roberts

Research Area: Economics; Trade

Keywords: Economy; Trade Deficit; China

Type: Brief

Coverage: United States


The world would be a better and more peaceful place if we stopped measuring the trade deficit. Mercantilism is an outdated concept. We don’t export to create jobs. We export so we can earn money to buy the stuff that’s hard for us to make—or at least hard to make cheaply. We export because that’s the only way to get imports.

This essay appeared on the Foreign Policy website on November 19, 2007.