Against the Tide: An Intellectual History of Free Trade by Douglas A. IrwinAgainst the Tide: An Intellectual History of Free Trade by Douglas A. Irwin

Against the Tide: An Intellectual History of Free Trade

byDouglas A. Irwin

Paperback | January 11, 1998

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About two hundred years ago, largely as a result of Adam Smith'sWealth of Nations, free trade achieved an intellectual status unrivaled by any other doctrine in the field of economics. What accounts for the success of free trade against then prevailing mercantilist doctrines? And how well has free trade withstood various theoretical attacks that have challenged it since Adam Smith's time? In this readable intellectual history, Douglas Irwin explains how the idea of free trade has endured against the tide of the abundant criticisms that have been leveled against it from the ancient world and Adam Smith's day to the present. An accessible, nontechnical look at one of the most important concepts in the field of economics,Against the Tidewill allow the reader to put the ever new guises of protectionist thinking into the context of the past and discover why the idea of free trade has so successfully prevailed over time.

Irwin traces the origins of the free trade doctrine from premercantilist times up to Adam Smith and the classical economists. In lucid and careful terms he shows how Smith's compelling arguments in favor of free trade overthrew mercantilist views that domestic industries should be protected from import competition. Once a presumption about the economic benefits of free trade was established, various objections to free trade arose in the form of major arguments for protectionism, such as those relating to the terms of trade, infant industries, increasing returns, wage distortions, income distribution, unemployment, and strategic trade policy. Discussing the contentious historical controversies surrounding each of these arguments, Irwin reveals the serious analytical and practical weaknesses of each, and in the process shows why free trade remains among the most durable and robust propositions that economics has to offer for the conduct of economic policy.

Douglas A. Irwinis Professor of Economics at Dartmouth College. He is the editor ofJacob Viner: Essays on the Intellectual History of Economics(Princeton).
Title:Against the Tide: An Intellectual History of Free TradeFormat:PaperbackDimensions:280 pagesPublished:January 11, 1998Publisher:Princeton University Press

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0691058962

ISBN - 13:9780691058962

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Table of Contents

List of Illustrations


Introduction 3

Ch. 1 Early Foreign Trade Doctrines 11

Ch. 2 The English Mercantilist Literature 26

Ch. 3 The Emergence of Free Trade Thought 45

Ch. 4 Physiocracy and Moral Philosophy 64

Ch. 5 Adam Smith's Case for Free Trade 75

Ch. 6 Free Trade in Classical Economics 87

Ch. 7 Torrens and the Terms of Trade Argument 101

Ch. 8 Mill and the Infant Industry Argument 116

Ch. 9 Graham and the Increasing Returns Argument 138

Ch. 10 Manoilescu and the Wage Differential Argument 153

Ch. 11 The Australian Case for Protection 172

Ch. 12 The Welfare Economics of Free Trade 180

Ch. 13 Keynes and the Macroeconomics of Protection 189

Ch. 14 Strategic Trade Policy 207

Conclusion: The Past and Future of Free Trade 217

References 231

Index 253

From Our Editors

ZFree trade enjoys an intellectual status unrivaled by any other doctrine in the field of economics. A professor of economics explains how free trade achieved this position and has endured against the tide of abundant criticisms and theoretical challenges from Adam Smith's day through the present. "Full of new insights and unexpected delights. . . . A work that is not only interesting and inspiring but of great practical use".--Paul Krugman, "Journal of Economic Literature". 14 photos

Editorial Reviews

"This is a useful and valuable book that brings together a wide range of historical arguments for and against free trade. It may keep many an analyst of trade policy from the need to reinvent the wheel."-Jerry Z. Muller, Catholic University of America