Frank Knight’s name is largely forgotten, except by some economists. But he was one of the big names in the field in the first half of the 20th century. Here he is on the idiocy of export driven policy:
The serious fact is that the bulk of the really important things that economics has to teach are things that people would see for themselves if they were willing to see. And it is hard to believe in the utility of trying to teach what men refuse to learn or even seriously listen to. What point is there in propagating sound economic principles if the electorate is set to have the country run on the principle that the objective in trade is to get rid of as much as possible and get as little as possible in return, if they will not see that imports are either paid for by exports, as a method of purchasing the imported goods more efficiently, or else are received for nothing … [emphasis added]
Every single one of us, from the island we call our self, exports labor … and most of us hate it. But we have the good sense to recognize that our goal is not to fritter away our time, but rather to import more important things, like food and entertainment.
From Don Boudreaux’s Quotation of the Day at Café Hayek. Don’s quote is a bit longer.