Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Dani Rodrik — The New Mercantilist Challenge

Short summary of mercantilism v. liberalism.

Project Syndicate
The New Mercantilist Challenge
Dani Rodrik | Professor of International Political Economy at Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government

Neoliberalism combines features (and bugs) of mercantilism and liberalism.


Ralph Musgrave said...

I've never found Dani Rodrik very inspiring, and that article confirms my impression.

Ryan Harris said...

So impressed that this is coming from Harvard of all places. I never thought I'd see the day that it would be acceptable for Rodrik, a neo-liberal prof to write a thoughtful article on trade. This is controversial stuff to contemplate trade as a whole worldwide system.
The idea of maximizing productivity by quantifying costs and externalities to identify when trade is beneficial is revolutionary among this crowd.
Maybe they are going to move beyond the glib and topical analysis of trade using comparative, game and other abstract forces and begin to incorporate the messy political, strategic and capital reality into the analysis. Imagine what it will do for labor and the environment and political stability when economists do this right instead of burying their heads in the sand.
If these big name economists stop pushing political leaders into free trade agreements with mercantilist nations that end run around the regulatory frameworks and instead provide protections to citizens of each country we could end the giant race to the bottom.
Maybe once they study it and understand it, they can even design a system that works. Cool. Hopeful. Probably too late for Obama before he finishes the latest trade agreements that are setting the rules for the next couple decades using his neo-liberal agenda but at least our grandchildren might benefit if they think about these things now.

Matt Franko said...

"Smith showed, in particular, that money should not be confused for wealth. As he put it, “the wealth of a country consists, not in its gold and silver only, but in its lands, houses, and consumable goods of all different kinds.”

Not according to Hamilton: "The prosperity of commerce is now perceived and acknowledged by all enlightened statesmen to be the most useful as well as the most productive source of national wealth" - Federalist 12