The billions of people in developing nations who work tedious menial labor jobs probably don’t find it “fair” that we Americans use the savings we gain from their work to build our unprecedented wealth. Is it fair that some countries sit atop vast amounts fossil fuels or prime farmlands while others sit on arid or barren land? Let’s hope trade doesn’t get “fair” for us any time soon.
When Navarro writes that G7 nations’ trade practices “contribute to America’s more than $500 billion annual global trade deficit in goods and services,” he means American citizens, using their free will, purchased goods and services they prefer from other countries. Sometimes these products were completely foreign-made, sometimes they are partially foreign-made — German car companies, for instance, are invested in more than 250 plants in the United States — but Americans always get something in return for their money. As economist Milton Friedman argued long ago, the real gain from international trade isn’t what we export but what we import.
More importantly, one reason the United States is running a trade deficit is that we’re wealthy and larger and can spend more on foreign-made goods and services than others can spend on U.S.-made goods and services.