Against the Tide: An Intellectual History of Free Trade

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Overview

"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

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Editorial Reviews

Journal of Economic Literature
An entertaining, informative account of the emergence of the concept of free trade ... full of new insights and unexpected delights.... A work that is not only interesting and inspiring but of great practical use.
— Paul Krugman
The Wall Street Journal
Against the Tide...reviews thinking on free trade from ancient times to the present day. It is encyclopedic in its scope, yet it is very well written and accessible to nonspecialists, fair to the critics of free trade while leaving no doubt that the author finds their argument fatally flawed.
— Bruce Bartlett
The Economist
Against the Tide is an impressive intellectual achievement. As the history of an economic idea, it pays less attention to the political and economic setting in which different theories were promoted than to their analytical rigour.... A delightful as well as an educational read. It should be a set text for anyone interested in trade policy.
The Wall Street Journal - Bruce Bartlett
Against the Tide...reviews thinking on free trade from ancient times to the present day. It is encyclopedic in its scope, yet it is very well written and accessible to nonspecialists, fair to the critics of free trade while leaving no doubt that the author finds their argument fatally flawed.
Journal of Economic Literature - Paul Krugman
An entertaining, informative account of the emergence of the concept of free trade ... full of new insights and unexpected delights.... A work that is not only interesting and inspiring but of great practical use.
From the Publisher

One of Choice's Outstanding Academic Titles for 1996

"Against the Tide...reviews thinking on free trade from ancient times to the present day. It is encyclopedic in its scope, yet it is very well written and accessible to nonspecialists, fair to the critics of free trade while leaving no doubt that the author finds their argument fatally flawed."--Bruce Bartlett, The Wall Street Journal

"Few economic debates have raised more emotion over the last two centuries than that between the champions of free trade and the advocates of protectionism. Irwin chronicles this controversy in great detail. . . . The debate is still very much alive today--from EEC to NAFTA, to the campaign rhetoric in this year's presidential primaries."--Publishers Weekly

"An entertaining, informative account of the emergence of the concept of free trade ... 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

"Against the Tide is an impressive intellectual achievement. As the history of an economic idea, it pays less attention to the political and economic setting in which different theories were promoted than to their analytical rigour.... A delightful as well as an educational read. It should be a set text for anyone interested in trade policy."--The Economist

The Economist
Against the Tide is an impressive intellectual achievement. As the history of an economic idea, it pays less attention to the political and economic setting in which different theories were promoted than to their analytical rigour.... A delightful as well as an educational read. It should be a set text for anyone interested in trade policy.
The Wall Street Journal
Against the Tide...reviews thinking on free trade from ancient times to the present day. It is encyclopedic in its scope, yet it is very well written and accessible to nonspecialists, fair to the critics of free trade while leaving no doubt that the author finds their argument fatally flawed.
— Bruce Bartlett
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Few economic debates have raised more emotion over the last two centuries than that between the champions of free trade and the advocates of protectionism. Irwin chronicles this controversy in great detail from the demise of mercantilism in the 17th century and the beginnings of free-trade ideology with Adam Smith to the present. As Free Trade was an essentially British invention, most of the book's cast of characters are of that nationality, Irwin also traces the thinking of John Maynard Keynes, who, after being an ardent advocate of free trade, went through a reversal to become a supporter of protectionism. "Free trade, combined with great mobility of wage rates, is a tenable intellectual position," he wrote, but "it presents a problem of justice so long as many types of money [wages] income are protected by contract and cannot be made mobile." The debate is still very much alive todayfrom EEC to NAFTA, to the campaign rhetoric in this year's presidential primaries. Although Irwin takes an historical approach, he clearly a supporter of free trade. Irwin is a professor of Business Economics at the and is affiliated with the American Enterprise Institute, both of which are bastions of supply-side theory, which is free trade in its purest form. The book will be most readable for those with more than a passing knowledge of economics. (July)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780691058962
  • Publisher: Princeton University Press
  • Publication date: 12/22/1997
  • Edition description: REPRINT
  • Pages: 278
  • Sales rank: 1,432,874
  • Product dimensions: 6.15 (w) x 9.18 (h) x 0.69 (d)

Table of Contents

List of Illustrations
Acknowledgments
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
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