[OPE-L:2832] Re: "basic concepts and method" & alterntive conceptions of the world market

Gerald Lev (glevy@pratt.edu)
Thu, 22 Aug 1996 17:56:34 -0700 (PDT)

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I wrote previously:

> >(2) We could begin by locating a particular topic (in this case, the world
> >market) within the logical structure of capitalism and ask: (a) what
> >aspects of the theory need greater specification before we can examine
> >that subject? For instance, can we agree that the theorization of
> >capitalist crises, the state, and international trade need further
> >development for us to be able to extend the theory to the point where we
> >are able to systematically examine the world market? Of course, depending
> >on your interpretation of the adequacy of the theory, other subjects such
> >as landed property and wage-labor might require further theorization as
> >well.; (b) what are the specific aspects of the world market that need to
> >be theorized? [I trust we can agree that explanations given by general
> >equilibrium theory are not sufficicient for understanding world markets].

Paul C responded in [OPE-L:2818]:

> I would suggest that a starting point should be an assesment of the Ricardian
> theory of international trade.

This is a path that a number of others have followed, I believe (see for
example Anu's writings on international value and trade). While I
agree that an accessment of the Ricardian theory of trade is essential,
isn't the further theorization of the state a prerequisite for the
analysis of trade? That is, shouldn't we first further develop the "closed
model" before considering the "open model" with trade?

[BTW, I also think that a critical evaluation of general equilibrium
theories of trade, e.g. H-O-S theories of comparative advantage, should be
undertaken at some point. J. Robinson and I. Steedman wrote some pretty
trenchant articles on that subject, but it seems to me that the alterative
conceptualization that they present is weaker than their attack on H-O-S].

> I think that in terms of method it is important to approach the question
> first from the standpoint of a labour value analysis before we introduce
> the complications associated with international capital movements and
> second order effects like different rates of profit in different countries.

I think we would need to have some discussion about the meaning of what
you call "second order effects." I'm not convinced that varying rates of
profit (among firms in) different countries can be described as being
second-order effects. I guess I would need to hear more of what you mean
before commenting further.

In OPE-L Solidarity,