Free Trade?
Jason Green-Lowe
11

Wrong. wrong. wrong. #1 is obviously wrong. #2 at least has a venerable tradition behind the claim, though it’s wrong in the case of pre-war Japan, which lacked tariff autonomy until 1912. #3 is spectacularly and utterly wrong. 3a: Capital from that pillaging was a pittance and did not contribute much to the industrial revolution. 3b: Colonial markets were not very important for European industry in the 19th century, though India was an exception for the British cotton industry. Industry in the colonies were not ‘explicitly prohibited’. To the contrary, 3rd world industrialisation began in the late 19th century under colonialism. #4 is even wronger! In the post-war global system, under the GATT, the industrial countries acquiesced to “asymmetric protectionism”. Rich countries’ trade barriers would be minimal, whilst the developing countries could practise import-substitution industrialiation (i.e., high tariffs for imports). Developing countries only changed their trading regimes during the 1980s.

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