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International Free Trade and World Peace

analytical Essay
6207 words
6207 words
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International Free Trade and World Peace

When analyzing trade’s effect on state behavior, it is not the mere existence of trade between countries that should be central, rather, the nature of trade that is crucial. This distinction will be explored by studying the arguments of key economic and political thinkers of both the 18th and 20th centuries. The general nature of trade, the role of national government regarding trade and security, trade's capacity to befriend belligerent nations, and finally, the influence of international economic institutions will be explored. In an attempt to present a fairly broad range of sources, this study features the ideas of four influential authors from two time periods and continents: from the 18th Century, Adam Smith and Alexander Hamilton, and from the 20th Century, John Maynard Keynes and Secretary of State Cordell Hull.

My thesis is that the four authors examined actually agreed with one another on the connection between free trade and peace, despite the discordant resonance of their arguments. Due to the nature of trade in Hamilton and Smith's time, their assertions that trade had ambiguous, if not adverse effects on state behavior is equivalent to Hull's statement that trade under the auspices of international organizations ensured peace. Almost all trade, up until the foundation of post-W.W.II international economic bodies, was practiced in an opaque, unfair, and mercantilist manner. Both Keynes and Hull, who argue that trade is pacific, lived in a rapidly liberalizing environment where international organizations were gaining legitimacy and influence. Thus, the conclusion of all four authors can be modified to state that trade is pacific only when it is conducted in an open, fre...

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...The Memoirs of Cordell Hull. New York: Macmillan.

Keynes, John Maynard. 1919. The Economic Consequences of the Peace. London: Macmillan.

________. 1922. A Revision of the Treaty. New York: Harcourt, Brace and Company.

______. In: Moggridge, Donald. ed. 1980. The Collected Writings of John Maynard Keynes: Activities 1941-1946. London: Macmillan.

Kramnick, Isaac. ed. 1987. The Federalist Papers. London: Penguin Books. [1788]

Moggridge, Donald. ed. 1980. The Collected Writings of John Maynard Keynes: Activities 1941-1946. London: Macmillan.

Raphael, D.D. 1985. Adam Smith. London: Oxford University Press.

Smith, Adam. 1766. "Lectures on Jurisprudence." Cited in: An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations.

________. 1981. An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations. Indianapolis: Liberty Fund. [1776]

In this essay, the author

  • Analyzes the nature of trade, the role of national government regarding trade and security, and the influence of international economic institutions.
  • Argues that the four authors examined agreed with one another on the connection between free trade and peace, despite the discordant resonance of their arguments.
  • Explains that due to the ambiguous and problematic nature of key terms such as "free trade," "war," and "peace," this study must be qualitative.
  • Argues that trade's function in promoting peace or inciting conflict exposes the fundamental antagonism between economic versus political thought.
  • Analyzes how adam smith argued in the wealth of nations that the mercantilist system was futile and destructive to society as a whole.
  • Explains that smith was born in 1723 in kirkcaldy, scotland, to a widowed lawyer. he enrolled in the university of glasgow for three years and attended oxford university for six years.
  • Analyzes smith's view that foreign trade brought two distinct benefits to its practitioners: it carries out surplus part of the produce and brings back in return for it something else for which there is a demand.
  • Analyzes how smith's struggles with this issue are apparent as he addresses the trade war of 1672 between france and holland.
  • Analyzes how hamilton formed a decidedly mercantilist opinion of international trade based on numerous examples, including the pelponnesian war and british imperialism.
  • Analyzes hamilton's argument that rivalships and competitions between commercial nations are one of innumerable "causes of hostility." smith limited proper government involvement in trade strictly to security-related industry.
  • Analyzes how hamilton supported smith's ideas by advocating the elimination of trade barriers between the states. hamilton argued that free trade would "extinguish that secret jealousy which disposes all states to aggrandize themselves at the expense of their neighbors."
  • Analyzes how cordell hull and john maynard keynes offered more insightful narration on the dual nature of trade.
  • Explains that cordell hull was born in 1871 to a poor farming family in tennessee. he was elected to the sixtieth congress in 1907 and served until 1933 when he was named roosevelt's secretary of state.
  • Argues that unhampered trade doesvetail[s] with peace; high tariffs, trade barriers, and unfair economic competition, with war. if we could get freer flow of trade, we might have a reasonable chance of lasting peace.
  • Analyzes how john maynard keynes' book, the economic consequences of the peace, catapulted his career almost overnight, making him one of very few economists in history to achieve such widespread fame and recognition.
  • Analyzes how theorists differed on their views of national governments' role in trade. smith believed government was superfluous to a properly functioning system of trade, while hamilton argued the opposite. keynes offered insight into the paradox of liberalism.
  • Analyzes how adam smith's disdain for government involvement in all but a few, distinct areas is expounded throughout his works. smith finds no place in private business for the intervention of government.
  • Describes the duties of protecting society from the violence and invasion of other independent societies, and the duty of erecting and maintaining public works and public institutions.
  • Analyzes smith's limitations, stating that hamilton included the protection of domestic industry into this category. smith states that navigation regulations are the wisest of all commercial regulations in england.
  • Analyzes smith's statement as a single concession to government involvement in trade. smith admitted that national security was the only area where he believed government regulation to be prudent and effective.
  • Analyzes how hamilton's report on manufactures was written in response to congress' request for information regarding the economic independence and security of the young united states.
  • Analyzes how hamilton modified smith's division of labor argument to fit his interpretation of trade in his time.
  • Analyzes how keynes' approach to the national government is similar to smiths' in that the current reality bore no resemblance to his ideals.
  • Analyzes how keynes criticizes the naiveté with which the president approached the treaty. wilson lacked the cunning quality of which smith spoke.
  • Analyzes keynes' portrayal of public opinion as a spoiled, irrational child, and states that dishonesty is necessary to maintain popularity while doing what is truly best for society.
  • Argues that if free trade is pacific, it must promote long-term peace between friendly nations and repair bad relations between states. keynes' economic consequences of the peace is one large argument in support of it.
  • Analyzes how smith refers to belligerent states in his discussion of standing armies.
  • Analyzes how cordell hull supported the idea of an international agency which could keep the peace among nations. he was not convinced that trade alone is expedient enough.
  • Analyzes how hull doubted the ability of trade to positively transform relations between states. he refers to unfair trading practices such as the smoot-hawley tariff act, as "economic warfare."
  • Analyzes how hamilton prescribes a commercial union between the states. hamilton's argument centers around the idea that states go to war due to mutual fear and weakness.
  • Opines that keynes' prescriptions for post-wwi germany follow this same line of thought. each suggestion aims to insure germany's long-term economic stability.
  • Analyzes how smith's writings advocate the utility of trade as a tool of instituting good government.
  • Explains that commerce and manufactures gradually introduced order and good government, and with them, the liberty and security of individuals, among the inhabitants of the country, who had before lived almost in a continual state of war with their neighbors and of servile dependency upon their superiors
  • Opines that trade, not military oppression, brought about real political and social change in this case.
  • Analyzes how smith rebuts his argument on the utility of force in cultivating belligerent states in his discussion of colonies.
  • Opines that nothing seems more likely to establish this equality of force than that mutual communication of knowledge and of all sorts of improvements which an extensive commerce from all countries naturally, or rather, carries along with it.
  • Explains that smith believed that trade is capable of establishing international justice in the long term.
  • Opines that the role of international institutions in the promotion of fair trade is an issue that necessarily dates our authors. the 18th century world of smith and hamilton did not provide the necessary environment for such organizations.
  • Explains that the league of nations, founded in 1918, was the first of many formalized bodies that would have astonished smith and his contemporaries.
  • Analyzes how keynes' sequel to consequences, a revision to the treaty places impressive confidence in the league's potential in his statement that "the wisdom of the world may yet transform [the treaty] into a powerful instrument of peace."
  • Analyzes how keynes' involvement in the transition to peace after w.w.ii, specifically through the bretton woods conference, demonstrates his conviction of the vital role of international economic organizations.
  • Explains cordell hull's belief in the potential of international institutions can be found in his "eight pillars of peace" address to a conference in 1936.
  • Opines that international law should be reestablished, revitalized, and strengthened. armies and navies are no permanent substitute for its great principles.
  • Analyzes how hull's speech expounds the importance of involvement in the international arena despite u.s. refusal of league membership.
  • Explains that trade, according to theorists, has two faces. it can be used against one's trading partner or as a mutually beneficial method toward society’s improvement.
  • Analyzes how adam smith and alexander hamilton reached seemingly opposite conclusions about the effects of trade on state behavior. smith focused first on the merits of free trade and then on mercantilist reality.
  • Explains that john maynard keynes and secretary of state cordell hull advocated free trade and the establishment of international organizations with the intent of stabilizing the global economy.
  • Opines that today's leaders cannot claim to lack evidence of the effectiveness of international institutions such as the wto.
  • Explains that smith's discussion of europe after the fall of the roman empire examines how the commerce of towns contributed to the improvement of a country. the result of trade between the two can tell us something about how smith viewed trade.
  • Argues that smith sees only benefit from their exchange due to their improved productivity. hamilton's writing is in direct contradiction to this claim.
  • Explains that the rtaa of 1934 gave negotiating authority to the president in bilateral agreements for reciprocal tariff reductions. the act allowed the united states to take part in the first five gatt rounds.
  • Opines that the debate is especially significant in the post-cold war world. military action was taken with the justification that iraq had broken international law by invading kuwait.
  • Describes cole's industrial and commercial correspondence of alexander hamilton anticipating his report on manufactures.
  • Explains earle, edward mead, adam smith, alexander hamilton, friedrich list: the economic foundations of military power.
  • Cites the industrial and commercial correspondence of alexander hamilton anticipating his report on manufactures.
  • Explains that moggridge, donald, ed. 1980, the collected writings of john maynard keynes: activities 1941-1946.
  • Explains that moggridge, donald, ed. 1980, the collected writings of john maynard keynes: activities 1941-1946.
  • Cites smith, adam, in an inquiry into the nature and causes of the wealth of nations.
  • Cites liberty fund's 1981 an inquiry into the nature and causes of the wealth of nations.
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