International Trade and Economic Growth in Open Economies

International Trade and Economic Growth in Open Economies

The Classical Dynamics of Hume, Smith, Ricardo and Malthus

John Berdell

In this enlightening book, John Berdell addresses the widely-held belief that classical economics distanced itself from policy issues and public debates regarding the effects of international trade on economic growth in advanced economies. He argues, through a detailed consideration of the evolution and structure of Hume’s, Smith’s, Ricardo’s and Malthus’ analyses, that it is not only contemporary international economic theory which takes account of these issues.

Chapter 1: Historical Dynamics: Cosmopolitan and International

John Berdell

Subjects: economics and finance, economic psychology, history of economic thought, international economics


I Historical Dynamics : Cosmopolitan and International To declaim against the present times, and magnify the virtue of remote ancestors, is a propensity almost inherent in human nature. David Hume, OfRefinement in the A r t s I Vision and Analysis T h e past, it is often observed, must be viewed from the present. Indeed, histories of economic thought are often as revealing of the period in which they were written as they are of the period they examine. I n these essays I seek to further our understanding of Hume’s, Smith’s, Ricardo’s, and Malthus’s conception and analysis of economic growth and openness in ‘advanced’ countries. A t the moment classical economics is most often called t o the assistance of a sub-discipline called development economics. As Myint’s work brilliantly illustrates, there is much to be learned from the classical economists which is relevant to the understanding of presently developing countries. There is, however, an unfortunate tendency to lose sight of the fact that the better part of classical writings consciously addressed the situation of relatively advanced nations.’ We will see that each of our authors was conscious of living-at least part of the time-in a nation that enjoyed a generally high standard of living relative to the past and, more importantly, high relative to neighboring countries. An advanced economy n o t only enjoyed a high standard of living; it was also ‘improved’: a catch-all phrase indicating the possession of skill, capital, and above all technology. While America enjoyed...

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