February 25, 2016
Are Corporate Profits Unimportant for American Prosperity?
Posted by David Zaring

Justin Fox thinks that the answer may be yes:

Some of the biggest names in U.S. business are particularly dependent on overseas markets. Apple, for example, got 59.8 percent of its revenue and 62.8 percent of its operating income from outside the Americas in its 2015 fiscal year. In the most recent fiscal year for which numbers are available, Exxon Mobil got 67.3 percent of revenue from outside the U.S., Alphabet 57.3 percent, Microsoft 54.1 percent, Facebook and General Electric 52.5 percent.

Overall, corporate earnings have become less dependent on the health of the U.S. economy. The big question is whether this also means that the U.S. economy has become less dependent on them.

It's an interesting thesis, if true.  Many American regulators have expanded their efforts to coordinate with their foreign counterparts because of the idea that globalization means that things that happen abroad can have real effects at home.  But if Fox is right, the fact of globalization could reduce the influence of foreign shocks on the domestic economy.  I think the jury's out on this, but file it under food for thought.

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