In 18th century Europe figures such as Adam Smith, David Ricardo, Friedrich List and Jean Baptiste Colbert developed theories regarding international trade, which either embraced free trade seeing it as a positive sum game or recommended more cautious and strategic approaches to trade seeing it as a potential danger and a rivalry and often as a zero-sum game. What about today?
Ha Joon Chang exposes the main ideas of his book Bad Samaritans, namely that historically states have developed and industrialized by making policy interventions related to industry protection, tariffs and subsidies and not by opening their markets to free trade. Chang elaborates on the examples of Japan, the US, Singapore and Germany amongst others to show that an interventionist path to development has been the regularity and not an anomaly. In the end of the lecture, he argues that they idea of a level playing field should be replaced by a trade order that accounts for differences in power and economic capacities of different countries. The last 20 minutes are questions and answers.
This infographic gives a summary of the 2018 Trade Wars. This simple, compiled overview is suitable for those without a strong political or economic background. The infographic explains briefly basic concepts related to trade and provides a short timeline of events. It furthermore checks Trump administration's arguments to launch the the trade war against facts and estimates of how the 2018 trade war can affect the global and North-American economy.
How can we establish new institutions and practices in order to use fare-free public transport as a beacon for sustainable mobility and a low-carbon lifestyle? The author of this essay elaborates on how practice theory and institutional economics can help to answer this question.
An honest discussion of free trade and how nations can sensibly chart a path forward in today’s global economy.
Free, Fair & Alive is a foundational re-thinking of the commons, the self-organized social systems that human beings have used for millennia to meet their needs.
Trade disputes are usually understood as conflicts between countries with competing national interests, but as Matthew C. Klein and Michael Pettis show in this book, they are often the unexpected result of domestic political choices to serve the interests of the rich at the expense of workers and ordinary retirees.
Stiglitz answers the question why globalization and world trade has not delivered on its promise of increased well being as much as classical economists thought, by pointing to the power asymmetries: firstly, between industrialized nations and developing nations and secondly, between special corporate interest and social interests. In his analysis, developed countries and MNCs were able to extract the benefits, while shifting the costs (i.e. pollution) to states and communities with lesser power. Amongst many other historical examples the pharmaceutical and the mining industry are discussed to some length.
In this webinar for the Princeton Bendheim Center for Finance, Nobel Prize winner William Nordhaus explains the main problems regarding the economics of a low-carbon energy transition.
A central question in development economics literature is, “Why do countries stay poor?” The key disagreements are whether the lack of economic growth stems from institutions or from geography (Nunn 2009). From an institutional perspective, hostile tariff regimes and commodity price dependencies form a barrier to a sectoral shift that would otherwise lead to economic development in developing countries (Blink and Dorton 2011) (Stiglitz 2006).[i]
Understanding international trade is central to economics and is currently a hot political issue. It’s an area where popular perceptions of mainstream economics are low, since they have historically missed some important downsides of trade agreements, especially the hollowing out of former manufacturing hubs in the Western world. et economists have for long time had a theory of trade with an impressive amount of scientific clout behind it: the gravity trade model.
Despite the Doha declaration of November 2001, the failure to start a new round of global trade negotiations at Seattle in December 1999 and the hostility of protesters to the trade liberalization process and growing global economic and social disparities was a wake-up call for the World Trade Organisation (WTO).
In both economics textbooks and public perceptions central banks are a fact of life. On the wall of my A-level economics classroom there was the Will Rogers quote “there have been three great inventions since the beginning of time: fire, the wheel, and central banking”, summarising how many economists view the institution. There is a widespread belief that there is something different about money which calls for a central authority to manage its operation, a view shared even by staunch free marketeers such as Milton Friedman. This belief is not without justification, since money underpins every transaction in a way that apples do not, but we should always be careful not to take existing institutions for granted and central banking is no exception. In this post I will look at the idea of private or free banking, where banks compete (and cooperate) to issue their own currency.
This paper starts with an evaluation of three common arguments against pluralism in economics: (1) the claim that economics is already pluralist, (2) the argument that if there was the need for greater plurality, it would emerge on its own, and (3) the assertion that pluralism means ‘anything goes’ and is thus unscientific. Pluralist responses to all three arguments are summarized. The third argument is identified to relate to a greater challenge for pluralism: an epistemological trade-off between diversity and consensus that suggests moving from a discussion about ‘pros’ and ‘cons’ towards a discussion about the adequate degree of plurality. We instantiate the trade-off by showing how it originates from two main challenges: the need to derive adequate quality criteria for a pluralist economics, and the necessity to propose strategies that ensure the communication across different research programs. The paper concludes with some strategies to meet these challenges.
In this refreshingly revisionist history, Erik Reinert shows how rich countries developed through a combination of government intervention, protectionism, and strategic investment, rather than through free trade.
This video animates part of the talk “On Economics” by Ha-Joon Chang in which he states that economics is not a science for experts but for everyone. Chang further argues why it is important to take into account different perspectives on economics – he identifies at least nine school of thoughts which all have their strengths and weaknesses and presents examples on free trade and well-being. Chang further elaborates on the difficulties of changing the economic status quo.
Dani Rodrik, Professor of International Political Economy at Harvard's Kennedy School of Government, is teaching in this online session about the global rules under which the modern (free trade-focused) type of globalization operates and why, under such institutions, international community fails to deal with the climate change and pandemics.
In the second video of the series Investigating International Finance, an alternative view on capital controls is given contrasting with the paradigm of classical trade theory which suggests that the removal of trade and capital barriers is associated with higher market efficiency. After explaining the conceptual mechanisms underlying capital controls, examples are introduced where countries actually apply capital controls and how these controls have been associated with a lesser exposure to international financial crises spillovers.
In the second video of the series Investigating International Finance, an alternative view on capital controls is given contrasting with the paradigm of classical trade theory suggesting that the removal of trade and capital barriers is associated with higher market efficiency. After explaining the conceptual mechanisms underlying capital controls, examples are introduced where countries actually apply capital controls and how these controls have been associated with a lesser exposure to international financial crises spillovers.
Global Value Chains (GVCs) started to play an increasing and key role in the global economy from the 1990s on. The market mechanism in GVCs supports industrialisation in the Global South and under certain conditions product and process upgrading. But GVCs do not lead to the catching-up of countries in the sense of them approaching real GDP per capita levels comparable with developed countries. These arguments are supported by a critical interpretation of the traditional trade theory, the New Trade Theory and specific approaches to explain GVCs, especially different governance structures and power relationships. Several case studies support these arguments. For catching-up, countries need comprehensive horizontal and vertical industrial policy and policies for social coherence. The small number of countries which managed to catch up did this in different variations.
"Yuliya Yurchenko is a senior lecturer and researcher in political economy at University of Greenwich. She is currently in Ukraine on an extraordinary leave. And while she writes that she is, for the moment, in relative safety, that could change any moment. Being a Ukrainian, an activist and an academic, Yuliya traveled to Ukraine on Feb 19, 2022 as part of a fact-finding and solidarity mission with a number of MPs, trade unionists and journalists. The goal, she says, of this mission is to connect with civil society organizations, trade unions, activists and politicians, and “to express direct, cross-border solidarity from the UK working class to the Ukrainian working class.”
In this essay the author reviews empirical studies in economics that analyze factors behind the rise of nationalist and populist parties in Western countries. He stresses that economic factors (e.g., trade shocks and economic crisis) play a crucial role in the rise of populist parties; however, the discussion of mechanisms driving this trend remains unsatisfying
Diane Perrons and Sigrid Stagl combine feminist and critical environmental economics perspectives to develop a critique of the free market growth model and offer new ideas for a more sustainable gender equitable model of development in the interests of all.
Part I: Basic Economic Problems Is Economics a Science? Is It Useful? (Lawrence Boland, Ian Parker) Is There Such a Thing as a Free Market? (William Watson, Robert Prasch) Part II: Consumers and Firms Is Homo Economicus an Appropriate Representation of Real-World Consumers? (Joseph Persky, Morris Altman) Is the Consumer Sovereign?
Esther Duflo discusses the fact that in social policy one cannot check the big questions, i.e. whether development assistance as an aggregate is helpful, because there is no counterfactual. She then suggests to focus on smaller questions such as what prevents or incentiveses people from immunizing their kids or whether mosquito bednets should be distributed for free. These questions can be answered by using randomized control trials as in the medical sciences. Thus, she argues, by bringing the experimental method to social policy analysis better decisions as to where allocate funds can be made.
Paul Mason presents the main arguments of his book PostCapitalism. First, he argues that capitalism runs out of its capability to adapt to crises and second states that information technology challenges the capitalist system. In a nutshell, he argues that a society which fully exploits information technologies can't include concepts such as intellectual property, free market or private ownership. This has far-reaching consequences for the organisation of wages and work. The talk stops at minute 37.30.
This self-paced free course by Perry Merhling guides you to his "Money View" approach that integrates the fields of economics and finance. The course can easily be understood by people interested people without technical economic knowledge or training as it is primarily a tool for analysis.
This Micro-Masters program on Circular Economy looks at the concept and its application from different angles, covering a very wide variety of topics (From Fossil Fuels to Biomass: A Chemistry Perspective; Circular Economy: An Interdisciplinary Approach; Economics and Policies in a Biobased Economy). It offers a well-rounded, multidisciplinary perspective, using sciences and humanities together for a deeper understanding of the topic. A great start for newbies with Circular Economy! The access to the course is for free, but you can also apply for full-time on-campus graduate-level programs, be it Wageninged or other universities.
A free online course at Masters-level will enable you to understand the past, present and future role of money in society.
Want to learn more about behavioural economics and its application to public policy? Take this free course from the Behavioural Economics Team of the Australian Government.
Neoliberalism is dead. Again. After the election of Trump and the victory of Brexit in 2016, many diagnosed the demise of the ideology of Margaret Thatcher, Ronald Reagan, Augusto Pinochet, and the WTO. Yet the philosophy of the free market and the strong state has an uncanny capacity to survive and even thrive in crisis.
'This Cambridge professor delights in paradox. And myth-busting . . . he does this with charm and a desire to see how things work in the real world' Guardian, 'In Praise of Ha-Joon Chang' In this revelatory book, Ha-Joon Chang destroys the biggest myths of our times and shows us the truth about how the world really works, including- there's no such thing as a free market.