Trade, Aid, or What? A Report Based upon a Conference on International Economic Policy at the Merrill Center for Economics, Summer, 1953

By Willard L. Thorp | Go to book overview

CHAPTER X
Some Further Complications

THE COMPLICATION OF DOMESTIC POLICY

NO nation can determine its international economic policies apart from their relationship to its objectives in noneconomic fields. For example, it has already been noted several times that if military security is a dominant consideration at a particular period of time, then the use of resources will have to take that into account and other objectives become secondary. Similarly, noneconomic objectives in the international field may underlie a set of exceptional policies, as in the case of East-West trade.

However, even within the economic field, there can be and frequently is a real conflict between domestic and international objectives. It is not always easy to achieve compatibility among such domestic economic objectives as full employment, price stability, and economic progress, and it may be even more difficult to deal with them in ways which take the trade and payments situation into account. How much the policy-makers must take foreign economic relationships into account depends on the importance of foreign transactions to the economy, as indicated not only by the importance of foreign transactions in goods and services in relation to the gross national product but also by the adequacy of potential output from domestic resources in relation to the policy-makers' ideas of needs (consumption plus investment plus government expenditure). How difficult the problem of harmonization is (at least in concept if not in practice) will turn on the firmness of the various

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