There are few debates that economists take only one side in and trade is one of them. Textbooks argue that trade creates prosperity always and everywhere. Students are required to answer questions on the benefits of trade and the costs of protectionism. There is a strong attempt to give the impression that all economists support free trade and the debate is only between those who understand economics and those who don’t. What is strange about all of this is how shaky the foundations for this belief are. It is mostly reliant on the “Law” of Comparative Advantage, which as I shall discuss, has some very significant flaws. Continue reading “Challenging Economics – Theory Of Comparative Advantage”
I have just finished reading How Rich Countries Got Rich . . . And Why Poor Countries Stay Poor by Erik Reinert. The book is interesting for it engages what should be the main question of economics, why are some countries rich and other countries poor? This crucial question is woefully under researched and barely discussed in mainstream economics. I have completed two years of economics study in university without yet having heard an explanation for this phenomenon.
Reinert’s main argument is that the wealth of a nation is based upon the economic activities it specialises in. Poor countries are poor because they specialise in agriculture and the production of raw materials. This is an economic dead end as it does not allow for increases in productivity or innovation, which is how countries get rich. On the other hand, rich countries got rich by industrialising and building up a manufacturing base. Continue reading “How Rich Countries Got Rich . . . And Why Poor Countries Stay Poor”