“Book that ski trip to St. Moritz” – long live free trade!

Here is Scott Sumner:

“Off topic, but a few months back I did a post pointing out that the combined current account surplus of the “Nordic bloc” (Norway/Sweden/Denmark/Holland/Germany/Switzerland), was nearly 50% more than China’s surplus.  Recall that old Keynesians like Paul Krugman think current account surpluses depress world AD and cost jobs in America.  That’s true whether they occur naturally or due to government policy.  BTW, both the Nordic and Chinese surpluses are partly natural and partly a result of explicit government policies to encourage saving.

I just checked The Economist, and the new figures are even more lopsided:

China:  $259.3 billion CA surplus

Nordic bloc:  $484.0 billion CA surplus.

That slave labor in the Nordic bloc is stealing all our jobs!  If I was an old school Keynesian protectionist I’d be worried right now that the Nordic bloc was a sort giant blob that was sucking all the life out of the world economy.  Especially Norway and Switzerland, which combine for more than $165 of the surplus, despite having only 1/10th of the Nordic bloc population, and 1/100th of China’s population.  But I’m not an old school Keynesian protectionist, so I’m not worried at all.  Go ahead and book that ski trip to St. Moritz, and don’t feel guilty about it.”

What can I say? Scott is of course completely right – once again. He might of course also had noted that monetary policy is overly tight in the “Nordic bloc” – something which hardly is helpful for the “Nordic bloc” itself or the US economy.

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