Academic journal article Journal of Australian Political Economy

Bill Dunn: Neither Free Trade nor Protection: A Critical Political Economy of Trade Theory and Practice

Academic journal article Journal of Australian Political Economy

Bill Dunn: Neither Free Trade nor Protection: A Critical Political Economy of Trade Theory and Practice

Article excerpt

Bill Dunn

Neither Free Trade Nor Protection: A Critical Political Economy of Trade Theory and Practice

Edward Elgar, Cheltenham, 2015, 227pp.

Bill Dunn has established a strong reputation as an analyst of international and global economic issues with his previous books Global Political Economy: a Marxist Critique (Pluto Press, London, 2009) and The Political Economy of Global Capitalism and Crisis (Routledge, Abingdon, 2014). In this latest book he criticises the influential claims about the universal benefits of free trade and rival claims for blanket protection against the unfairness of trade. Rather, he says that international exchange needs to be seen in broader perspective by looking at its social, economic and historical context. He describes the standard 'free trade versus protection' dichotomy as an example of what Bordieu terms doxy or doxa, a conservative terrain of debate that pushes more important concerns from sight. He wants to bring back in the Marxian emphasis on production and to re-focus on the class, gender and ecological implications of trade. The latter implications do not loom large in the book, however, because its main concern is with an assessment of the currently dominant theories and policy stances. As such, it is a powerful critique. Dunn is particularly clear in explaining the history of ideas about trade, presenting summaries and careful consideration of the posited arguments. …

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