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November 26, 2007

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Henri Tournyol du Clos, Paris

"For much of our period the pattern of XXXXX can only be understood as being the outcome of some military or political equilibrium between contending powers."

The problem with this sentence is that you can actually fill the XXXXX space with quite a few words. "Trade" is just one of them. "Religion" would fit well, too, for a start, as would "slavery", "peace", "diplomacy", etc.

Frankly,I am relieved that the authors, poring over the last millenium of history, manage to find it kind of brutal. If they had not, I would have been downright worried about what kind of bloodthirsty creatures US Academia can breed nowadays...

chris

I have not yet read this book, but the quote above seems rather pessimistic. Surely this is not the characteristic of trade expansion that characterized the Imndustrial Revolution? That largest expansion of wealth and prosperity occurred because of emerging liberal ideals took hold for a short period of time (eventually to be replaced by Progressivism). To be sure, mercantilism has been the norm for the past 1000 years, and it is often violent, but that simply makes it all the more important for the economists to teach that greater returns are possible via peaceful, voluntary exchange and the enforcement of property rights.

Jeremy Duckworth

I haven't as of yet read Findlay's and O'Rourke's book, but it is interesting and to me—and revealing—that you should find it such a riveting read. I'm intrigued because a well known failure of neoclassical theory is that it ignores history and indeed sociology, politics, and psychology. So, I have a suggestion: why not take Heckscher-Ohlin off the syllabus next year and instead study this text? I bet students would get much more out of Findlay's and O'Rourke's book than memorising yet another model that they'll never use.

Manfred

I'm relieved to hear that also economics professors sometimes do not work as strictly as they should, but instead enjoy reading something else!
That's good news for a self-critical, but eager student of economics like I am :)

dale

"Surely this is not the characteristic of trade expansion that characterized the Imndustrial Revolution?"
I've got an old roll up wall map of Africa from the early 1900's- just before WWI. Virtually every section of Africa is listed as a colony of a European nation. And that's not counting India and Asia, or the US sphere of influence in Latin America. Or Oceania.

So no Chris. I don't think these authors are being overly pessimestic.

Dominic

Ha. Well I took most of this day off work to read YOUR book, Danni.

What goes around comes around ;)

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