Monday, April 6, 2009

Is free trade dying?

By Prof. Srimanta Bhaumik

Self-interest had been the driving force behind the opening up of trade between and among nations — not altruism to do good to others. It was pure and simple, perceived and revealed, self-interest. The English classical economists put it in a philosophical manner called utilitarianism, which attached significance to something that reduced pain and increased pleasure. Nations did trade and still do it because it increases the mass of commodities and the sum of enjoyment. However, instances surfaced when some nations deviated from free trade and did something opposite of it. For instance, despite their vigorous advocacy of the merits of free trade, one of the classicists, namely, David Ricardo, continued his support of the Corn Laws, brought in the wake of the Continental System simply because it raised the share of landed interests in Britain against other income groups till they were repealed in 1846.


Source: The Economic Times

Prof. Srimanta Bhaumik is the faculty of Economics in Globsyn Business School