TRADE history, myths + realities

Small Indian vessels used on ancient Malabar Coast

see also >slavery gg-copy   8/2021 The birth of Western imperialism – Forgotten anniversary – Archaeology correspondent David Keys considers how historians and archaeologists are revealing the real story of Spain’s conquest of the Aztecs  11/2021 Kealey and Protectionism: Further Thoughts  By Bryan Caplan  –  “While I found Terence Kealey’s case for protectionism underwhelming, it definitely got me thinking.  Here are my further thoughts…”…

Kealey and Protectionism: Further Thoughts


Still Swimming Against the Tide?

40 Years of Thinking on Trade and Development – YSI EVENT WORKSHOP YSI | AUG 1–7, 2021

The 4th UNCTAD YSI Summer School celebrates the approach and legacy of UNCTAD’s annual Trade and Development Report (TDR). The school will bring together UNCTAD experts, academics, diplomats, and young scholars from across the globe for lively and stimulating intellectual debates.

more rethinking trade and development videos here –  list (hetero economist) speakers

  • Yilmaz Akyüz – Former Director of the Division on Globalization and Development Strategies, United Nations Conference on Trade and Development
  • Richard Kozul-Wright – Director, Division on Globalization and Development Strategies, UNCTAD
  • Eric Helleiner – Professor of Political Science, University of Waterloo
  • Michael Franczak – Postdoctoral Fellow, University of Pennsylvania
  • Susan K. Sell – Professor, School of Regulation & Global Governance, Australian National University
  • José Gabriel Palma – Emeritus Senior Lecturer, Faculty of Economics, University of Cambridge, Professor of Economics , Faculty of Business and Economics, University of Santiago de Chile (USACH)
  • Robert Wade – Professor of Global Political Economy , Department of International Development, London School of Economics
  • Özlem Ömer – Assistant Professor, Haci Bektas Veli University
  • Sharmini Peries – Journalist + Co-Founder of TheAnalysis.News +TheRealNewsNetwork
  • Gul Unal – Senior Economist, UNCTAD
  • Alex Izurieta – Senior Economic Affairs Officer , Division on Globalization and Development Strategies, UNCTAD
  • Amitava Dutt – Professor of Economics and Political Science, Notre Dame University
  • Fiona Tregenna – Professor of Economics, University of Johannesburg
  • Guilherme Magacho – Economist, Agence Française de Développement
  • Penelope Hawkins – Senior Economic Affairs Officer, Debt and Development Finance Branch, UNCTAD
  • Stephanie Blankenburg – Head, Debt and Development Finance Branch, Division on Globalization and Development Strategies, United Nations Conference on Trade and Development
  • Pablo Gabriel Bortz – Analyst, Banco Central de la República Argentina
  • Anastasia Nesvetailova – Professor of International Political Economy, City, University of London
  • ​Orsola Costantini – Economic Affairs Officer​, UNCTAD
  • Cédric Durand – Associate Professor, University of Geneva
  • Diana Barrowclough – Senior Economist, Division on Globalization and Development Strategies, UNCTAD
  • Jayati Ghosh – Professor of Economics, University of Massachusetts, Amherst ,Former Professor of Economics, Jawaharlal Nehru University
  • James K. Galbraith – Lloyd M. Bentsen Jr. Chair in Government and Business Relations, University of Texas at Austin
  • Ann Pettifor – Director, Policy Research In Macroeconomics
  • Andrés Arauz – Former Minister of Knowledge and Human Talent, Ecuador
  • Isabella Weber – Assistant Professor of Economics, UMASS, Amherst
  • Rob Davies – Former Minister of Trade & Industry, South Africa   6/2021 The economics of deep trade agreements: A new eBook   Ana Fernandes, Nadia Rocha, Michele Ruta  23/6/2021  China and the Supply Chain: A Comment on the June 2021 White House Review   By James K. Galbraith

…”…the central unstated message of this 100-day Review is that the greatest risk to the supply chain, in each of the four areas, is disruption of normal trade relations with China. In short, as an objective economic matter, we learn here, the United States has an overwhelming interest in peace.”…  2020 “Savings Glut” Fables and International Trade Theory: An Autopsy   By Lance Taylor  

A “global saving glut” was invented by Ben Bernanke in 2005 as a label for positive net lending (imports exceeding exports) to the American economy by the rest of the world. However, there is a more plausible explanation for the persistent trade imbalance between the US and its major trading partners. The structure of the US economy began to shift markedly 40 or 50 years ago. The profit share of income grew across business cycles at 0.4% per year, or by more than 20% (that is, by eight percentage points) over five decades. Driven by rising profits, the size distribution of income shifted strongly toward households in the top one percent. The economy became increasingly dualistic, with big employment increases in low wage/low productivity sectors (Taylor with Ömer, 2020). Foreign trade was part of this transformation. …” …

INET has published a response by Andrew Smithers to Taylor’s working paper, as well as a rebuttal from Taylor    2009  Decline and gradual recovery of global trade financing: US and global perspectives
Jesse Mora, William Powers 27 November 2009

(summary:) Reputation and Coalitions in Medieval Trade: Evidence on the Maghribi Traders by Anver Greif

“… In conclusion we can say that the Maghribi traders in the Fatmid Caliphate formed the basis of the pre-modern pre-capitalism and developed a system of „anarchic cooperativism”. A good example is the functioning of the italian Mafia in USA in the early XX century. System based on reputation and trust, based on a „organisation” or „coalition” of members, that may even dont know each other, but still capable to „trade”.”

source here 5/ 2021 The panopticon of Germany’s foreign trade: New facts on the first globalisation, 1880–1913
Wolf-Fabian Hungerland, Nikolaus Wolf

The history of globalisation is usually told in two parts, separated not only by two world wars but also by changes in technology, institutions, and economic logic. This column reconsiders that narrative. Using detailed new evidence on Germany’s foreign trading practices from 1800 to 1913 (the ‘first’ globalisation), it finds that most growth took place along the extensive margin, while 25–30% of trade was intra-industry. If the first globalisation saw substantial heterogeneity within countries and industries, it may be time to re-think the ‘classical’ versus ‘new’ trade paradigm. …

… Still, classical trade models are obviously not dead. At a very broad level, they seem to capture how countries specialised before 1914 – after all, they were invented to capture exactly this. Germany did specialise in manufacturing products, while agriculture in Germany and elsewhere in Europe was increasingly exposed to import competition: the ‘European grain invasion’ (O’Rourke 1997) was very real. Farmers responded either by giving up and leaving agriculture, lobbying for protection, or shifting to different products (Suesse and Wolf 2020). To us this suggests thinking about globalisation along the lines of a hybrid model such as Bernard et al. (2007) that combines comparative advantages at the country-level with heterogeneity at the firm-level. Doing so might have far-reaching implications for our interpretation of the costs and benefits, the winners and losers, and hence for the political economy of globalisation. With more disaggregated trade data available for more countries – hopefully in standardised and comparable form – this is opening the door for a new understanding of the history of globalisation. With Oscar Wilde: “The one duty we owe to history is to rewrite it.”     read or download here  12/2020 “Foreign Trade and Economic Convergence”  by Emilio José Calle Celi

Video Presentation of the Book

Empire of Cotton: A Global History

goodreads  –  kindle sample

more amazon reviews here

“Masterly. . . . Deeply researched and eminently readable, Empire of Cotton gives new insight into the relentless expansion of global capitalism. With graceful prose and a clear and compelling argument, Beckert not only charts the expansion of cotton capitalism . . . he addresses the conditions of enslaved workers in the fields and wage workers in the factories. An astonishing achievement.”–Thomas Bender, New York Times

“Important . . .a major work of scholarship that will not be soon surpassed as the definitive account of the product that was, as Beckert puts it, the Industrial Revolution’s ‘launching pad.'” –Adam Hochschild, New York Times Book Review

“Breathtakingly comprehensive, informative and provocative.” –Glenn C. Altschuler, Tulsa World

“Persuasive . . . brilliant . . . Beckert’s detailed narrative never scants the rich complexity of the cotton trade’s impact on many different societies.” –Wendy Smith, Boston Globe

Empire of Cotton proves Sven Beckert one of the new elite of genuinely global historians. Too little present-day academic history is written for the general public. ‘Empire of Cotton’ transcends this barrier and should be devoured eagerly, not only by scholars and students but also by the intelligent reading public. The book is rich and diverse in the treatment of its subject. The writing is elegant, and the use of both primary and secondary sources is impressive and varied. Overviews on international trends alternate with illuminating, memorable anecdotes. . . . Beckert’s book made me wish for a sequel.” –Daniel Walker Howe, The Washington Post

“Momentous and brilliant . . . Empire of Cotton is among the best nonfiction books of this year.” –Karen R. Long, Newsday

“Compelling . . . Beckert demonstrates persuasively how the ravenous cotton textile trade in Europe was instrumental in the emergence of capitalism and draws a direct line from the practices that nourished this empire to similar elements in the production of goods for today’s massive international retailers. Those who long to know more about how and why slavery took hold in Europe, Africa and the Americas will find this book to be immensely enlightening. Better still, those who live out the troubled legacy of the exploitation and enslavement of workers in the service of the cotton empire will find in it added inspiration for their continuing efforts to realize a just and more equitable society.” –Ruth Simmons, President Emeritus of Brown University

“Intellectually ambitious . . . a masterpiece of the historian’s craft.” –Timothy Shenk, The Nation

“A highly detailed, provocative work.” —Booklist

“Hefty, informative, and engaging . . . Beckert’s narrative skills keep the story of capitalism fresh and interesting for all readers.” —Publishers Weekly

“[Beckert’s] close-up study of the cotton economy is a valuable model for the study of capitalism generally, an economic system in which slavery and colonialism were not outliers but instead integral to the whole . . . a valuable contribution.” —Kirkus

“Fascinating and profound. . . . Global history as it should be written.” –Eric Foner  2019  interview-sven-beckert-empire-of-cotton  2016  Sven Beckert’s Empire of Cotton: A Reductionist Summary  by pseudoerasmus

“Historian Sven Beckert’s widely acclaimed book, Empire of Cotton: A New History of Global Capitalism, is a good agrarian, business, and labour history of a single commodity. But as economic history it’s not so good. Since African slavery and the Atlantic economy have gotten so much attention in the reviews of The Empire of Cotton, I have tried to stress the aspects of EOC so obviously inspired by Polanyi and various neo-Marxists. But I think the book is really, truly, powerfully pervaded by Polanyi. In fact today most historians are neo-Polanyists, since they are too cynical for Marxian optimism and utopianism.”  2019  Sven Beckert – The Empire of Cotton – A New History of Global Capitalism   by Deep Kanta Lahiri Choudhury

… “Beckert is impatient with terms like mercantilism or the phrase used by Gallagher and Robinson, ‘Imperialism of Free Trade’. In his second chapter, he argues that the period before formal empire should be termed ‘war imperialism’. Laissez-faire or free market mantras enabled and continue to enable developed countries to exploit the less developed countries. During the fifteenth, sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, Europe inserted itself into pre-existing cotton textile connections across India, China, Africa and the Americas, networks both internal and international. As Beckert points out, they used brutal and vicious force to subvert, manipulate and subjugate markets, routes and peoples. Slavery was crucial to this period of forced cultivation of cotton in the Americas and the world of cotton.” …   2014  Empire of Cotton – Cotton is so ubiquitous as to be almost invisible, yet understanding its history is key to understanding the origins of modern capitalism.

… “The industry that brought great wealth to European manufacturers and merchants, and bleak employment to hundreds of thousands of mill workers, had also catapulted the United States onto center stage of the world economy, building “the most successful agricultural industry in the States of America which has been ever contemplated or realized.” Cotton exports alone put the United States on the world economic map. On the eve of the Civil War, raw cotton constituted 61 percent of the value of all U.S. products shipped abroad. Before the beginnings of the cotton boom in the 1780s, North America had been a promising but marginal player in the global economy.

Now, in 1861, the flagship of global capitalism, Great Britain, found itself dangerously dependent on the white gold shipped out of New York, New Orleans, Charleston, and other American ports. By the late 1850s, cotton grown in the United States accounted for 77 percent of the 800 million pounds of cotton consumed in Britain. It also accounted for 90 percent of the 192 million pounds used in France, 60 percent of the 115 million pounds spun in the Zollverein, and 92 percent of the 102 million pounds manufactured in Russia.

The reason for America’s quick ascent to market dominance was simple. The United States more than any other country had elastic supplies of the three crucial ingredients that went into the production of raw cotton: labor, land, and credit. As The Economist put it in 1861, the United States had become so successful in the world’s cotton markets because the planter’s “soil is marvelously fertile and costs him nothing; his labor has hitherto been abundant, unremitting and on the increase; the arrangements and mercantile organizations for cleaning and forwarding the cotton are all there.” By midcentury, cotton had become central to the prosperity of the Atlantic world. Poet John Greenleaf Whittier called it the “Hashish of the West,” a drug that was creating powerful hallucinatory dreams of territorial expansion, of judges who decide that “right is wrong,” of heaven as “a snug plantation” with “angel negro overseers.” …

The Oxford Handbook of the Political Economy of International Trade

oxfordhandbooks   2015  The Political Economy of InternationaL Trade –  Edited by Lisa L. Martin

“Drawing on models of economic interests and integrating them with political models of institutions and society, political scientists have made great strides in understanding the sources of trade policy preferences and outcomes. The twenty-sevenchapters in thishandbook include contributions from prominent scholars around the globe and from multiple theoretical and methodological traditions. The handbook considers the development of concepts and policies about international trade; the influence of individuals, firms, and societies; the role of domestic and international institutions; and the interaction of trade and other issues, such as monetary policy, environmental challenges, and human rights.” 2018 The Making of the Middle Sea review – fascinating, intelligent and provocative – It is artefacts, not people, that shape this award-winning, challenging history of the Mediterranean

“When Cyprian Broodbank promises in the subtitle to this award-winning book that he will start “from the Beginning”, he should be taken at his word. Indeed, it is not until page 65, by which time we have reached the Miocene period (22 to 5m years ago), that something vaguely recognisable as the Mediterranean actually makes an appearance, although not all of its geographical features were in their proper place: “Crete, for example, broke off from Turkey some 9m years ago, carrying with it horses, deer and crocodiles, then disintegrated and foundered, before arising again, looking more like its modern self some 2-3m years ago.”

At this point, the Mediterranean functioned more as a barrier than a meeting point. It allowed the separate development of Neanderthals on the northern shore and Homo sapiens on the south. Broodbank is anxious to correct the impression of Neanderthals as ice-age specialists; he insists that they were cold-enduring, not cold-loving, creatures, and they enjoyed some prime Mediterranean real estate in caves at the foot of Gibraltar, along the coast of Croatia and on the Costa del Sol. They were soon mostly outbred, outeaten or indeed eaten by our ancestors. …”