Rethinking Trade and Commercial Policy Theories

Rethinking Trade and Commercial Policy Theories

Development Perspectives

P. Sai-wing Ho

This controversial book offers a unique approach to rethinking the trade and development literature and will therefore strongly appeal to researchers, academics, and students of trade and development as well as those involved in the history of economic thought.

Chapter 8: List: Unleashing Productive Powers and Reciprocal Effects through a Multitude of Policy Instruments

P. Sai-wing Ho

Subjects: development studies, development economics, economics and finance, development economics, international economics


8.1 INTRODUCTION I Just as the lineage of the infant-industry argument for trade protection was claimed by the mainstream to have descended from Hamilton's Report, a similar assertion has been made with respect to List's works. 2 Thus, as Bastable put it, 'It is hardly necessary to remark that List's doctrines are a development of those of Hamilton' (1912, p. 126). 'All that is really suggestive and powerful in protectionist theory', he added, 'can be traced back to Hamilton and List' (ibid.). Having attributed the 'infantindustry argument for tariffs' to Hamilton's Report (see section 7.1 above), Haberler went on to argue that the ideas contained therein 'were brought to Germany by Friedrich List. 3 In his celebrated National System of Political Economy he expounds and popularises them with wearisome verbosity and a vast display of historical "illustrations'" (1937, p. 278). Baldwin's similar affirmation of this in his oft-cited (1969) article has already been quoted in section 7.1 above and does not need to be repeated here. 4 Not surprisingly, List's name is sometimes paired with the postwar policy of development that is known as IS (Balassa 1989, pp. 68-9). Just as in the case of Hamilton, the next step in composing this mainstream story of the lineage of the infant-industry argument is to label List as a proponent of solely tariff protection. Bastable thus observed that '[t]he system advocated by List contains the leading ideas that have influenced continental, American, and colonial statesman in adopting the tariff systems'...

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