If your strategy is to trade only with people that speak English that’s going to be a poor strategy.
Top US economist Larry Summers recently tweeted this in relation to America’s focus on its so-called special relationship with the UK. And he’s right. The economic impact on the US – or any other country – that closes off its trade barriers with countries that are different to it would be enormous.
Language matters on a large-scale national level and at the level of smaller businesses. One famous cheese steak shop in Philadelphia, Geno’s, used to refuse sales to customers placing their orders in languages other than English. Its sign announcing this to customers was only taken down in 2011.
The sign on Geno’s shop window, which was taken down in 2011. Brian Zambrano / flickr, CC BY-NC-SA