Re: [OPE-L] Six book plan, foreign trade

From: Rakesh Bhandari (bhandari@BERKELEY.EDU)
Date: Mon Sep 25 2006 - 12:07:05 EDT

>I think as regards foreign trade, that what Marx would have done in his
>critique is to start off not with expanded reproduction, but with a critique
>of Ricardo's theory of comparative advantage.

Are you looking for a critique on the basis of the acceptance of
Ricardo's assumptions?

Yet Marx did not accept the Ricardian assumptions that capital could
not be exported across national borders and that trading countries
could in fact produce the imported commodities on their own.
Moreover, if I remember Carchedi's argument, Marx analyzes foreign
trade from the perspective of its effect on profitability, not simply
as a labor saving device.

For these reasons, Marx seems not so much to have critiqued the
Ricardian ca theory, but never to have accepted in the first place
the assumptions on which it was based.

Drawing from Gunnar  Myrdal, Michael Hudson very helpfully lays out
all the many untenable assumptions built into Ricardo's theory of
comparative advantage (again if I remember correctly).

I don't think Marx accepted many of those assumptions--mobility of
labor, mobility of capital, fixed technology, etc.

Since Marx never accepted the assumptions on which Ricardian theory
of ca is based, it's not clear to me that he had to develop an
explicit critique of it in order to demonstrate the possible multiple
effects of foreign trade on the expanded reproduction of capital.

So I think I am less persuaded by your counter point the more I think about it.


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