I am listening to an NPR story right now on the conflicts over the construction of the new pipeline to bring Canadian heavy crude oil from the tar sands to the US. Steve Inskeep introduced the story by observing that as Canadian tar sands production increases, US consumers will “become more dependent on Canada”.
This error is more than just a rhetorical one; it’s an error of logic and a failure of basic economic understanding, because it shows that Inskeep and his staff don’t grasp the reciprocity and the mutuality of trade and exchange. You could just as easily say that more oil transactions between US consumers and Canadian producers makes Canada “more dependent on the US”, because the revenue they earn from selling us oil is income that they use to do what they want to do in their lives, in much the same way that the oil we buy from them is a product that we use to do what we want to do in our lives.
Failing to incorporate the reciprocity and mutuality of exchange into your analysis is an all-too-common logical flaw, particularly in the increasingly breathy and Chicken Little media. They should know better.