Neither Free Trade Nor Protection


Neither Free Trade Nor Protection

A Critical Political Economy of Trade Theory and Practice

9781783471928 Edward Elgar Publishing
Bill Dunn, Professor, Department of Economics, Kingston University, UK
Publication Date: 2015 ISBN: 978 1 78347 192 8 Extent: 240 pp
This book challenges both sides of the debate around international trade. Most mainstream economists advocate free trade as a mainstay of national and global prosperity. Meanwhile, many critics see trade causing inequality and poverty. Unfortunately, supporters and opponents share many assumptions about trade and the character of the international economy and produce similarly abstract and asocialized theories. Their propositions need to be investigated critically, and in doing so, this book begins the task of assessing when and how trade matters.

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Neither Free Trade Nor Protection provides a critical exploration of mainstream and alternative theories of international trade and presents original evidence of trade’s consequences. It rejects the choice between openness and closure. Mainstream economists almost always support ‘free trade’ but their arguments for this are flawed and too often rely on a caricature of their opponents as simple-minded protectionists. Meanwhile, many critics successfully emphasize shortcomings of the orthodoxy but struggle to identify a more positive agenda, either seeing free trade as a desirable, if unachievable, end or equally simplistically blaming trade for international inequality. Both sides of the trade debate share much in terms of how they understand the objectives of national wealth and in how they overlook other economic processes and social questions. Bill Dunn’s examination covers:

• critical interrogation of both mainstream and heterodox theories
• systematic evaluation of contemporary evidence
• historical context
• trade, restructuring and the crisis of the 2000s
• economics as a social science

Written in plain English, this book will appeal to students, researchers and political activists alike. It is an indispensible resource to those seeking a deeper understanding of alternative approaches to the mainstream theories of trade and economics.

Contents: 1. Introduction: Contesting the Conservative Antinomies of Trade Theory 2. The Making of World Trade 3. Free Trade Theory and its Critics 4. Market Imperfections and State Strategies 5. Marxism, Trade and the Limits of Radical Nationalism 6. Evaluating Trade and Growth 7. Factor Endowments, Trade and Growth 8. International Trade and Inequality within Countries 9. Trade Opening and the Decline of Industrial Action 10. Global Restructuring, Trade and the Crisis of 2007-09 11. Conclusions Index
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