Harmonic and Conflict Views in International Economic Relations: a Sraffian view
Research on the recent European financial crisis has prompted exploration of the harmonic and disharmonic views of international economic relations. The former, more liberal view is based on the Ricardian and Neoclassical trade theories. The latter is derived from pre-Smithian mercantilist conflict views of international trade. Here we investigated the contribution that Sraffian theory can offer the latter stream of thought. This contribution cannot be underestimated since it provides a rigorous analytical rebuttal of the Neoclassical theory of international trade and capital flows and supports the existence of absolute advantages, which are a source of potential trade conflict between nations. Kaleckian theory may also vindicate mercantilist attention to trade surplus. A disharmonic view of the international economic relations also springs from Political Realism, a major tradition in political science. Mercantilism and Political Realism converge in International Political Economy (IPE), a field that arose in the early 1970s as an attempt to bridge the gap between the disciplines of international economics and international relations. The nationstate is at the centre of Mercantilism and IPE. The Classical and Marxist approaches are not on easy terms with the notion of nation-state, so that it was also impossible to avoid this topic. This paper is a preliminary exploration of the complementarity of the Classical conflict view of income distribution and the disharmonic traditions of IER in opposition to the harmonic beliefs of economic and political liberalism
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