Two years ago during his State of the Union address, Barack Obama issued a promise to double American exports over five years. Many found it unrealistic at the time, but Annie Lowrey points out that we’re on pace to meet the target so far, in part because Obama picked a low point for exporting when launching the goal.
In general, I think the global case of export envy that everyone has these days is fascinating. If it turned out that Germany’s export-driven low unemployment was really a mirage and all those manufactured goods are being dumped into the middle of the Pacific Ocean rather than consumed in Asia, everyone would be shocked and appalled. But the social and economic benefits of obtaining full employment by dumping manufactured goods into the Pacific would be similar to the benefits of obtaining full employment by running a large permanent trade surplus.