INEFFICACY OF THE ‘INVISIBLE HAND’
A MAJOR INFLUENCE IN THE DEVELOPMENT OF ASIAN ECONOMIES

Das nationale System der politischen Oekonomie … Erster Band: Der internationale Handel, die Handelspolitik und der deutsche Zollverein [all published].

Stuttgart, J.G. Cotta, 1841. 

8vo, pp. lxviii, [2], 589, [1 (blank)]; closed tear in one leaf just touching text, occasional light foxing and some mild offsetting, but a very good copy; in contemporary half calf with marbled sides, spine gilt; spine and extremities lightly rubbed; modern collector’s gilt morocco bookplate to upper pastedown.

£12000

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US $15289€14085

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First edition, the first work to articulate developing economies’ need for protective regulation, one of the earliest and most severe critiques of Adam Smith and his followers.

List ‘held that universal free trade was an ideal that could be achieved only in the far distant future.  For the time being, he argued, each nation should foster the development of its own manufactures by import duties and even outright prohibitions.  Only by such means could countries like Germany, Russia and the United States ever hope to achieve the industrial efficiency that would enable them to compete on equal terms with Britain. 

‘List never used the term “infant industry” but the infant industry argument is clearly what he had in mind because he specifically excluded agriculture from all his protectionist arguments and even conceded that global free trade was an ultimate desirable goal … In recent times, List has been hailed not so much as a spokesman for protectionism as a champion of the ambitions of underdeveloped countries.  No doubt he was one of the first to recognise the role of national power in the international division of labour and present-day advocates of the dependency school of economic development may legitimately regard him as a forerunner’ (Blaug, Great Economists before Keynes, p. 129 ff.).  Though held as generally heterodox in the prevailing economic culture of the West, List’s model has been hailed as a major influence in the development strategies of Asian economies, such as in Japan, South Korea, and China.

Goldsmiths’ 31957; Humpert 8113; Kress C.5545; PMM 311; not in Einaudi or Menger. 

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