David Ricardo was the first economist to elaborate the theory of comparative advantage in his book On the Principles of Political Economy and Taxation. Ricardo wrote:
Under a system of perfectly free commerce, each country naturally devotes its capital and labour to such employments as are most beneficial to each. This pursuit of individual advantage is admirably connected with the universal good of the whole . . . It is this principle, which determines that wine shall be made in France and Portugal, that corn shall be grown in America and Poland, and that hardware and other goods shall be manufactured in England. (1817, p. 188)
Read more at On the Principles of Political Economy and Taxation
Think about the 10-year historical period you chose for your final project. Identify trade policies of the time and discuss the following points:
- What are the main goods and services the United States traded internationally?
- What trade barriers were in place during that decade?
- What are two pros and two cons of the trade barriers used?
Play devil’s advocate and attempt to debunk two peers’ opinions on the advantages and disadvantages of an open economy.