The Classical Theory of Commercial Policy

  • Lord Robbins


This lecture is an attempt to get into reasonable perspective what may be called the Classical Theory of Commercial Policy — that is to say, the theory which is to be found in the works of the English Classical economists, including in this particular context economists who are usually described as neo-Classical: Sidgwick, Marshall, Edgeworth. In any estimate of the possibilities of international economic reconstruction account must be taken, not only of financial, but also of commercial policy: and, since most of the discussion in this latter field relates to projects which in one way or other make appeal to the propositions of Classical Theory in this respect, it seems a useful approach to this question first of all to try to state what that theory was, its nature, its main propositions, the exceptions and the general conclusions; and then to enquire to what extent it has been shaken by certain recent criticisms. I shall reserve to a further lecture my own judgment on its adequacy as a guide to the problems of commercial policy in our own day.


Classical Theory International Relation Economic Freedom Classical Tradition Comparative Cost 
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  1. 1.
    See J. S. Mill, Some Unsettled Questions of Political Economy 1844 ), P. 25.Google Scholar

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© Lord Robbins 1971

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  • Lord Robbins

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