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The Economics and Ideology of Free Trade
An Historical Review
The Economics and Ideology of Free Trade makes an important contribution to the debate on globalization by providing much needed intellectual and historical perspective on the issue of Free Trade versus Protection. The book does so by reviewing and integrating doctrinal history and past policy debates. Firstly the book deals with the doctrinal evolution of the economics of free trade from the mercantilists onwards (including the reaction against classical economics by Friedrich List and the American national economists). It then goes on to critically examine the debates, policies and events that mark over two centuries of fierce but intellectually stimulating controversy over free trade and protection (including the debate on the Corn Laws, the British Tariff Reform Controversy 1903, and Keynes on Protection). In this stimulating and highly informative volume, the author summarizes and encapsulates a vast amount of material in a singularly economical and succinct manner that will appeal to academics and students interested in the history of economic thought, international economics, economic history and also international relations.
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What Reviewers Are Saying
'A very good book. The writing is clear and concise and it covers a remarkable range of literature in a highly readable style; it offers an excellent introduction to the history of trade policy. In the current economic climate, where free trade ideology is the ascendant, the book may serve to remind economists that, even though there are good reasons for free trade, the case for protection needs to be taken very seriously.' -- Roger E. Backhouse, Journal of the History of Economic Thought 'An outstanding feature of Gomes' book is its skillful blending of trade theory, trade policy, the politics and ideology of free trade, the economic events that shaped them, and the forces leading to or away from globalisation in various epochs. It is rare to come across an author who is conservant with so many different facets of the history of trade theory and policy. His book can be recommended...' -- Andrea Maneschi, The European Journal of the History of Economic Thought 'Gomes deserves praise for an excellent presentation and assessment of a large body of economic literature, and for incisive observations regarding history of thought and events.' -- Lawrence H. Officer, EH.Net 'Leonard Gomes has written a masterful account of the history of the concept of free trade, its underpinnings in economic theory, the controversial implementation of free trade policies in the past two centuries. A distinctive feature of this book is its encompassing perspective on the history, economics, politics and ideology of free trade. Gomes examines how the economics of free trade was interpreted by the mercantilists, the classical and neoclassical economists, and the present-day "new trade theorists". After tracing the evolution of commercial policy through successive eras of freer trade and backlashes against it, Gomes concludes with a thoughtful analysis of the current meaning, benefits and costs of globalization. This readable and scholarly book is an ideal supplementary text for any course in trade theory.' -- Andrea Maneschi, Vanderbilt University, US 'The book is an impressive scholarly contribution that draws important lessons from economic history and intellectual history for some crucial contemporary problems. It will immensely enrich the current debate on the role of international trade and globalisation.' -- Ha-Joon Chang, University of Cambridge, UK 'Leonard Gomes is the author of three splendid books on the history of international trade theory. In this new book, he brings his knowledge of economic history and the history of economic thought to bear on the current controversy over globalisation. With a masterly command of the literature, he sorts out the sense and nonsense of the great dispute between the Washington consensus and the global protesters.' -- The late Mark Blaug, formerly of the University of London and University of Buckingham, UK