Friedrich List, a 19th century German economist, is best known for his critique of free trade. In many ways, his work responds to Adam Smith's theories on growth
Friedrich List, a 19th century German economist, is best known for his critique of free trade. In many ways, his work responds to Adam Smith's theories on growth and trade. A dominant theme in List's work is the understanding of the dynamism of manufacturing. He believed the preconditions for economic success in Great Britain were manufacturing, a well-developed domestic industry, shipping, marine trade, and modern transportation. List advocated for "limited protectionism" through tariffs to protect England's manufacturing sector, and believed that once the manufacturing base was superior to other nations, those tariffs could be repealed. But, once protectionist measures are in place, they are very difficult to repeal because of the various special interests at play.
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Is there heavy discounting of trade theory from those such as List due to the highly divergent living standards of the present compared to the time of List and Ricardo? That is, in their time, they were writing on policy at the scale of men /colonial powers/ and hobbits /their colonies and the other non-European players/, wheras now there are economic giants such that his advice seems quite out of place. For instance, whereas pro-manufacturing policies once built industrial bases in the now-mature powers, now they produce development enclaves of limited footprint.