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Harmonic and Conflict Views in International Economic Relations: a Sraffian view

Listed author(s):
  • Sergio Cesaratto


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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Paper provided by Department of Economics, University of Siena in its series Department of Economics University of Siena with number 651.

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Date of creation: Aug 2012
Handle: RePEc:usi:wpaper:651
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  1. Sergio Cesaratto, 2010. "Europe, German Mercantilism and the Current Crisis," Department of Economics University of Siena 595, Department of Economics, University of Siena.
  2. List, Friedrich, 1885. "The National System of Political Economy," History of Economic Thought Books, McMaster University Archive for the History of Economic Thought, number list1885, November.
  3. Sergio Cesaratto, 2012. "Neo-Kaleckian and Sraffian controversies on accumulation theory," Department of Economics University of Siena 650, Department of Economics, University of Siena.
  4. Garegnani, Pierangelo, 1984. "Value and Distribution in the Classical Economists and Marx," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 36(2), pages 291-325, June.
  5. Lars Jonung & Eoin Drea, 2009. "The euro: It can't happen, It's a bad idea, It won't last. US economists on the EMU, 1989-2002," European Economy - Economic Papers 2008 - 2015 395, Directorate General Economic and Financial Affairs (DG ECFIN), European Commission.
  6. Sergio Cesaratto, 2012. "Controversial and novel features of the Eurozone crisis as a balance of payment crisis," Department of Economics University of Siena 640, Department of Economics, University of Siena.
  7. Ronald L. Meek, 1971. "Smith, Turgot, and the “Four Stages” Theory," History of Political Economy, Duke University Press, vol. 3(1), pages 9-27, Spring.
  8. Garegnani, Pierangelo, 1979. "Notes on Consumption, Investment and Effective Demand: II," Cambridge Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 3(1), pages 63-82, March.
  9. Brewer, Anthony, 1985. "Trade with fixed real wages and mobile capital," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 18(1-2), pages 177-186, February.
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