The Perils of Adversarial Trade

“WHY IS THE WEST OBSESSED WITH OUR EXPORTS”? every Japanese visitor asks. “The Germans export even more and their trade surpluses are also growing rapidly.” But there is a difference, though the Japanese are oblivious to it. The Germans do indeed top the Japanese as exporters of manufactured goods: only the United States exports even more of them than the Germans. But the Germans are also the world’s second-largest importers of such goods—again topped only by the United States. The Japanese, however, only sell; they do not buy. They practice adversarial trade.

The original eighteenth-century model ...

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