Syllabus on International Relations

By Parker Thomas Moon; Institute of International Education (New York, N.Y.) | Go to book overview
2. Conflict of theories as an obstacle to solution of international problems.
3. Tendency of public and political parties to concern themselves more with such theories than with ascertainable economic facts.

D. PRELIMINARY SURVEY OF CHIEF CONFLICTING VIEWPOINTS.
1. The individualist or free-trade viewpoint.

References:--* Fisk and Peirce, International Commercial Policies, ch. iii. * Encyc. Britannica, article on "Free Trade," XI, 88 ff.* Taussig, Free Trade, the Tariff, and Reciprocity, ch. i.* Ogg, Economic Development, 82-9, 256-303. # Adam Smith, Wealth of Nations, Book IV. Gide and Rist, History of Economic Doctrines, 27-32, 93-102, 163-5, 363-6. W. Cunningham, Rise and Decline of the Free Trade Movement. Trevelyan, Life of John Bright. Morley, Life of Richard Cobden. Hobson, Cobden the International Man.

a. Primary aim--economic prosperity.
b. Basic principles, as regards international relations.
i. Economic unit--the individual, rather than the nation.
ii. Specialization of labor--hence, freedom for individuals to engage in any industry offering largest rewards; hence, abandonment of any attempt to make nation self-sufficient.
iii. Freedom to buy in cheapest market--hence, abandonment of all prohibitions, restrictions, or tariff duties on imports; hence, also, no need for political control of raw materials, if latter may be purchased freely.
iv. Freedom to sell in dearest market--hence, abandonment of restraints or duties on exports; hence, also, desire for international free trade.
c. Pacific tendency of such principles.
i. Would emphasize economic interests of individuals, rather than of nations, and thus lessen international antagonism.
ii. Would eliminate tariff wars and international struggles for raw materials.
iii. Would promote mutual dependence and common interests, rather than rivalry and jealousy among nations.
d. Brief historical sketch of the doctrine.
i. Formulation of laissez-faire theories by Physiocrats, Adam Smith, Ricardo, and other early economists.
ii. Cobden, Bright and the "Manchester School."
iii. Prevalence in period 1846-79, shown by lowering of tariffs in England and Europe; due partly to theories, partly to fact that Industrial Revolution occurred first in England, giving English manufacturers almost monopoly of certain industries (N.B., textiles and iron).
iv. Reaction against free trade, since 1861 in U. S., since 1870's in Europe; due partly to spread of Industrial Revolution and resulting international competition in industries formerly monopolized by English; also due to agricultural development of Russia, America, and Australasia, resulting in demands for tariff protection of farmers; due also to development of steam transportation, facilitating international competition.

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