Episode 0031: Free Trade Doesn’t Work – Part 2

The historical record shows that countries that rise to economic greatness did so through a strong industrial policy, which incorporates tariffs and non-trade barriers.  Moreover, at their apex these powers tended to adopt free trade, some vainly thinking that in doing so they might change the world for the better, but nevertheless be able to kick away the ladder upon which others might follow to industrial might.  In Part 2 of this special edition of Stocks-in-Depth, we review what economist Ian Fletcher calls the “forgotten history” of trade, and show how it contradicts the premises of classical economist David Ricardo’s theories of comparative advantage.  We also devote much of this podcast to presenting the many flawed assumptions behind Ricardian economic theory, as illustrated by the realities of the emergence on the world scene of great economic powers: England, the United States, Japan, and China.