Protectionnism and Free Trade in Economical Doctrines — страница 3

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international trade: the physiocratic model the absolute advantage theory the theory of comparative advantage Physiocratic model The mercantile policies imposed in the 16th - 17th century, which proclaimed the accumulation of wealth through trade, in the form of money capital, had ridden the most of European countries (maybe except Germany and, in some measure, Britain) into a state of a downfall of production, especially of agricultural one. Gradually there appeares the idea that the wealth consists of goods. In this sense, physiocrats can be considered the pioneers. Supporting that the wealth is the totality of agricultural goods, physiocrats leave money the role of a means of exchange only. In these conditions, the new conception about the international trade appears. Once the

wealth derives from agriculture, it is not created by trade, therefore the trade must be based only on the exchange of equivalents, while money are no more than a means of exchange. The physiocrats oppose to the active ("favourable") balance, as it results from the export of wealth (in the form of goods), and the import of money (which are not wealth). They fight to realise an equilibrated balance in international trade. Quesnay The founder of the Physiocratic School, Quesnay, in all probability heavily indebted to Cantillon, brought out the fact that the state of the balance of trade between nations is neither an indicator of the advantages of foreign commerce nor that of the wealth of nations. But he was the author of theory which contained the idea that when a

country imports luxury goods, selling the most necessary or most useful commodities, it prospers, because it means that the people are able to produce beyond its basic requirements. The Absolute Advantage Theory The British school of "classical economics" began in no small measure as a reaction against the inconsistencies of mercantilist thought. Adam Smith was the 18th-century founder of this school; his famous work, "The Wealth of Nations", is in part an anti-mercantilist tract. In "The Wealth of Nations", Smith emphasized the importance of specialization: in a world where the productive resources are scarce and human wants cannot be completely satisfied, each nation should specialize in the production of goods it is particularly well equipped to

produce; it should export part of this production, taking in exchange other goods that it cannot so easily turn out. Adam Smith Adam Smith's attack was probably the boldest one on the "mercantile system" which was already tottering both because economic changes had given some of these doctrines an antiquarian flavor and because the piecemeal invalidations of these doctrines by the many forerunners of economic liberalism hardly left it a "leg to stand on". All the same, without Smith's vigurous, forceful, and systematic statement of its weaknesses, it might have lingered much longer than it did. On the other hand, Smith was unfortunately not capable of precisely formulating a general theory of international trade. Apart from his building up an imposing

structure of arguments in favor of freedom from restrictions on foreign trade activities, his contributions to this theory are relatively minor, as Smith considered mistaken that a producer needs an absolute advantage to export its products. The basic concepts of Smith's teory of international trade may be considered the following: 1. The international commerce is close related with the social division of labor. 2. The international trade after Smith is based apon the freedom of action and the incentives of economic agents. 3. In international trade the competition is free and perfect (without monopolies and any governmental restrictions in the form of protectionist policies). From these concepts the following indications on international economic relations result: 1. In the

result of labor division it is not necessary and even possible that every country produce inside all the products it needs. It is because different states are provided with the factors of production of different types and quality in different proportions. As the result every country must specialize in production of that goods, for which the costs of production are the lowest. 2. Every country imports the goods for which it pays a lower price than it would cost him in case it produced this product domestically. 3. The difference between the domestic cost of production and the import price is the absolute advantage obtained through the international trade, this rule being general for all countries. 4. At the domestic range the state must not interfere in economy, as it always