Consider international economics (which is the balance of payments) as a national accounting measure that looks at
the flow of goods and services into and out of an economy in a given period of time. It also shows capital flows into and out of a country. Until 1980, the United States tended to run a positive-to-neutral balance of payments position and was a creditor nation. In the course of the past 30 years, the United States has moved to a negative balance of payments and to being a debtor nation.