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The Market and International Trade. What we will discuss today. A closer look at the illegal drug trade Some downsides of liberal economic theory Markets and states: the tension Markets, states, and the Financial Crisis What’s the difference between liberals and conservatives?

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what we will discuss today
What we will discuss today
  • A closer look at the illegal drug trade
  • Some downsides of liberal economic theory
  • Markets and states: the tension
  • Markets, states, and the Financial Crisis
  • What’s the difference between liberals and conservatives?
  • Liberal theory of International Trade
  • In an ideal economic system, goods worth more than they cost to produce get produced, goods worth less than they cost to produce do not;
  • In a perfectly competitive private property system, producers pay the value of the inputs they use when they buy them from their owners
  • and receive the value of what they produce when they sell it. If a good sells for more than it costs to produce, the producer receives more than he pays and makes a profit;
  • if the good sells for less than it costs to produce he takes a loss. So goods that should be produced are produced
  • and goods that should not be produced are not.
illegality distorts prices
Illegality distorts prices
  • Hard-to-get drugs means demand is high but supply is restricted
  • Raising the price artificially
  • Producers are rational….. So…….
  • High prices encourage production
so it s rational to produce cocoa
So It’s rational to produce cocoa…..

Corn: $150 per acre

Livestock: few $ per acre

Cocoa: $5-10,000 per acre

What crop would a rational farmer grow?

What should government do in the face of the rationality of spontaneous markets? It should ensure competition, not suppress free markets
  • Competition is the best!
  • Thus, the state should create laws to ensure competition.
  • It’s the most efficient
  • Ensures the most freedom
  • Any other method the state uses to guide economic activity will create huge problems. (like making certain activities illegal)
  • If the state doesn’t ensure competition, monopolies will develop

Fred Hayek

so the state does have an important role
So the State does have an important role:
  • Limit working hours
  • Require certain sanitary arrangments
  • Provide social services
  • All three fully compatible with competition if applied to all…..
  • The state’s main job is to “create conditions in which competition will be as effective as possible, prevent fraud and deception, to break up monopolies-- these tasks provide a wide and unquestioned field for state activity. " 
why should the state ensure competition because monopolies oppose freedom
Why should the State ensure competition? Because Monopolies oppose freedom
  • Because they limit alternatives for consumers
  • Because they block competitors from entering a market
  • And therefore block freedom of exchange
  • Therefore governments must determine and eforce rules of competition……
So…applied to the drug trade: Illegality and high prices create drug lords with market monopoly. Monopoly creates…..

Obscene profits for drug lords

govt efforts to make the market illegal means using the military to try to get rid of the market
Govt. efforts to make the market illegal means using the military to try to get rid of the market
irrational penalties
Irrational penalties……

Small drug

Dealers vs.



  • People make rational choices to produce and sell
  • Rational people create spontaneous markets, even risking state efforts to destroy markets
  • Thus markets are “natural” and should be free
  • Exchange should be free
  • Price would not be distorted if exchange is free
  • Thus states should stay out of markets…..
  • Their job is to ensure competition
  • They will never be powerful or wise enough to suppress natural and spontaneous markets
some downsides that liberal theory tolerates
Some downsides that Liberal Theory tolerates
  • Markets don’t ensure the same economic growth for everyone
  • inequalities in income and wealth are likely
  • Inequality is likely to be tolerated in private economic relations
  • because the growth will make everyone better off even if there is inequality
that s the market perspective what s the state perspective markets undermine state sovereignty
That’s the market perspective: what’s the “state” perspective? Markets undermine state sovereignty
  • States and markets have different purposes.
  • Markets can reduce the functions of the state
  • They can reduce state power
  • They don’t recognize territorial boundaries
  • They destabilize
  • national society
the liberal s the business cycle government s only role ensure competition
The liberal’s The Business Cycle (government’s only role: ensure competition)
  • Prosperity
  • Transition
  • Trough
  • Recovery
II. So why the current financial crisis?Is it just a dip in the business cycle or is it the ABSENCE of the government?
fred hayek again remember the state does have an important role
Fred Hayek again: Remember.The State does have an important role:

The state’s main job is to “create

conditions in which competition will be

as effective as possible, prevent fraud

and deception, to break up monopolies–

these tasks provide a wide and unquestioned field for state activity.”

let s follow the crisis
Let’s Follow the crisis….
  • 3. Deregulation of financial markets
  • 4. Easy money 
  • easy mortgages as bets on  in housing prices +
  • No regulation/ oversight: Run of CDOs and derivatives + borrowing to buy them (betting on  in value) + rating fraud + easy insurance (AIG)  highly leveraged banks

Housing supply overwhelms demand  housing prices fall + mortgage defaults 

CDOs lose value + Bank stock prices fall  credit drys up  Begin the bailout  (hopefully) more credit  (hopefully) save businesses and jobs  (hopefully) economic growth

so the state did not do it s job even according to liberals
So the state did not do it’s job, even according to Liberals…….
  • Absolute Freedom is impossible (it’s anarchy)
  • So the economy needs to be governed: Does that mean that markets aren’t natural? Is there a contradiction in Liberal Theory?
iii let s clear up come confusions or at least make them even more confusing
III. let’s clear up come confusions (or at least make them even more confusing)
  • Why are liberals opposed to conservatives?
    • Social conservatives – restrict individual freedom
    • Social liberals – increase individual freedom
    • Political conservatives—increase market freedom
    • Economic conservatives—classical liberals
  • Political Liberals– evolution of the term “liberal”
iv liberalism and the international economy
IV. Liberalism and the International Economy
  • A. Goal-efficiency, growth, and good life for all.
  • B. Perspective: The Liberal sees the international system as the appropriate arena for economic activity.
  • C. Instruments—by which global efficiency and welfare are to be produced: Comparative advantage.
theory of comparative advantage
Theory of Comparative Advantage




production with specialization before trade
Production with specialization before trade
  • Before Trade: Resources put where they are most efficient (specialization

Total goods produced = 27 note: efficiency increases total number of goods available

with specialization and trade
With Specialization and Trade

England trades Portugal 4 units of cloth for 4 units of wine

Exchange rate is 1 to 1.

Total goods produced is still 27 but each country is better off than before trade and both are better off than before “efficiency”

assumptions of ricardo s theory
Assumptions of Ricardo’s Theory
  • assumes static givens in a country’s economy
  • and doesn’t discuss technology as a factor of production.
  • labor theory of value
  • What?

David Ricardo 

labor theory of value
Labor Theory of Value
  • The real price of every thing, what every thing really costs to the man who wants to acquire it, is the toil and trouble of acquiring it. What every thing is really worth to the man who has acquired it, and who wants to dispose of it or exchange it for something else, is the toil and trouble which it can save to himself, and which it can impose upon other people.(Wealth of Nations Book 1, chapter V)
hechscher ohlin samuelson modernizes ricardo
Hechscher-Ohlin-Samuelson modernizes Ricardo
  • This model maintains that a nation’s comparative advantage is determined by the relative abundance and most profitable combination of its several factors of production, such as capital, labor, resources, management, and technology.
krugman expands on hechscher olin and wins nobel prize
Krugman expands on Hechscher-Olin and wins Nobel Prize
  • Krugman noticed that the accepted model economists used to explain patterns of international trade did not fit the data.
    • The Hecksher-Ohlin model predicted that trade would be based on such factors as the ratio of capital to labor, with "capital-rich" countries exporting capital-intensive goods and importing labor-intensive goods from "labor-rich" countries.
  • Mr. Krugman noticed that most international trade takes place between countries with roughly the same ratio of capital to labor.
    • The auto industry in capital-intensive Sweden, for example, exports cars to capital-intensive America, while Swedish consumers also import cars from America.
paul krugman defends free trade
Paul Krugman Defends Free Trade
  • "Ricardo's Difficult Idea,”
  • People will specialize in producing the goods and services in which they have a comparative advantage.
  • The result is that we never need to worry about low-wage countries competing us out of jobs;
  • the most they can do is change those goods and services in which we have a comparative advantage.
krugman free trade is the cause of economic development in poor countries
Krugman: Free Trade is the cause of economic development in poor countries
  • “The raw fact is that every successful example of economic development this past century--every case of a poor nation that worked its way up to a more or less decent, or at least dramatically better, standard of living--has taken place via globalization; that is, by producing for the world market rather than trying for self-sufficiency.” (Krugman in Slate 1999)
comparative advantage is dynamic
Comparative Advantage is Dynamic
  • While the United States has long imported oil and other raw materials from the third world, we used to import manufactured goods mainly from other rich countries like Canada, European nations and Japan.
  • But recently we crossed an important watershed: we now import more manufactured goods from the third world than from other advanced economies. That is, a majority of our industrial trade is now with countries that are much poorer than we are and that pay their workers much lower wages (Krugman 2007)
sum effects of free trade
Sum: Effects of Free Trade
  • Efficiency  Growth  Good life for everyone
  • Harmonious International Relations
  • Role of the State: To let producers produce most efficiently—to separate politics and economics:
  • the key actors for liberals are firms and consumers, not states.
  • Commerce  Peace Why?
  • Efficiency should be the basis of all political relations
  • Does Free Trade make the state obsolete?