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Mysteries of macro

1. Consider two countries, America and China. Suppose (only suppose) China manipulates its currency to keep it low, thereby making exports cheaper and imports expensive, benefiting its balance of payments and mercantile ambitions, harming America’s.

2. Now consider America alone, with two subpopulations: borrowers and savers. Suppose someone at the top manipulates T-bill prices, keeping them high (i.e. keeping interest rates low), benefiting the borrowers and harming the savers.

My question:

Why is 1. often considered reprehensible and unfair, while 2. is merely business as usual and unremarkable, even praiseworthy? Is there something fundamentally different about 1. when compared with 2.? Are bonds fundamentally different from currencies, stocks, real-estate, other assets?

Or does it just depend on who you are?



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