International Economics

International Economics

International Economics

International Economics

Excerpt

The United States is about the only country (and the Soviet Union possibly another) in which the international part of the study of economics can be separated from the rest, and embodied in courses and textbooks that are optional, not required, for the college economics major. Compared with the economies of other countries, the American economy is remarkably isolated, and affected very little by economic trends in the rest of the world. Barely 3 or 4 per cent of American production is shipped abroad; a similar percentage of the goods and services consumed in this country comes from abroad. Even the argument that we badly need the nickel, coffee, or tin that we buy abroad would not necessarily imply that there are related problems of policy so important that every college economics student needs to be familiar with them.

The situation is far different in, for instance, Britain, Japan, Saudi Arabia, or Brazil. The economics of Britain without international trade would be like the economics of the United States without the federal budget and tax system. The basic structure of the British economy reflects international trade; movements in the British price level reflect international prices and currencyexchange rates; shifts in British economic policy can often be understood only by reference to Britain's trade with the rest of the world. Because of a common language and intellectual heritage, Americans and British use each other's economics books, and what often surprises an American is that international phenomena -- which in American books may be brought in only in a . . .

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