Books on Trade
This collection of books provides a basis for your understanding of Free Trade and its benefits. Each book can be accessed for free online by following the link.
“Economic Sophisms” by Frederic Bastiat
is free trade’s greatest popularizer. This book collects his principal essays exposing the flaws that infect all arguments against free trade. This book contains dozens of Bastiat’s most lively essays. If you are looking for just one to sample, try his classic candle-making satire: Chapter 7, A Petition. Each essay is short, witty, clear, and focused on a particular fallacy. Bastiat’s critique of dozens of arguments for tariffs and other import restrictions is devastating. Economic Sophisms also provides a superb lesson in persuasive writing. Noted for his mastery of the reductio ad absurdum, Bastiat excelled across the board in writing both to persuade and to teach. Click here
Debates about free trade between opposing parties often deteriorate into frustration because of a lack of facts. Frank Taussig clarified the debates with an open mind, and confronted such questions as comparative advantage, protectionism, the “young” or “infant industry argument,” and dumping. He fearlessly summarized the economic issues on both sides, and then meticulously analyzed the history of three heavily protected industries: sugar, iron and steel, and textiles to see how the facts contributed to these economic debates.
Taussig’s combination of careful-yet-entertaining-to-read research is both inspiring and convincing. In only one small case, that of a limited portion of the silk industry, can the facts be construed as supporting protectionism in any form (in this case, the infant-industry argument). The moral of his many case studies was that what the United States does well is to invent time- and labor-saving machines (does the computer revolution of the latter 1900s ring a bell?); and that these advances were the results of comparative advantage, not protection of young industries or a young nation. Taussig’s enthusiastic research remains a model of what industry studies in economics should be: not mere tales of this or that company or technological advance, but fascinating presentations that filter through the morass of history, politics, and data to address the economic questions at hand. Click here
The book concludes that land rent grows as population increases. It also presents the theory of comparative advantage, the theory that free trade between two or more countries can be mutually beneficial, even when one country has an absolute advantage over the other countries in all areas of production. Click here
Mill never claimed to be adding new academic economic insights to the existing body of thought, but his meticulous organization of and elaboration on what was available, working to make consistent the existing ideas of Smith, Ricardo, and other English and French academics, made it possible for generations of contemporary and succeeding economists to understand and sort out what was known from what was unknown. Click here
This essay is by the American economist Leland Yeager who has written on monetary policy and international trade issues. He summarizes the case for free trade very nicely and even argues that the unilateral declaration of free trade by a nation would bring considerable benefits to its consumers. Click here
In this anthology, Mises offers an articulate and accessible introduction to and critique of two topics he considers especially important: inflation and government interventionism. According to Mises, inflation, that is monetary expansion, is destructive; it destroys savings and investment, which are the basis for production and prosperity. Government controls and economic planning never accomplish what their proponents intend. Mises consistently argues that the solution to government intervention is free markets and free enterprise, which call for reforming government. For that, ideas must be changed to “let the market system work.” There is no better “planning for freedom” than this. Click here
“Guyot provides a history of French tariff policy from the time of Colbert and a discussion of its effects on particular industries such as textiles and food. He then discusses protection in the US and Germany and refutes many arguments in favour of tariffs.” Click here
“The great Austrian economist Ludwig von Mises provides a concise and tightly-argued one volume defense of classical liberalism, focusing on the core concepts of private property, limited government, peace, and the free market.” Click here
“A collection of essays written in the early 1830s as part of a campaign in favor of free trade. The second edition of 1840 contains the minutes of a Free Trade Convention held in Philadelphia in 1831 as well as a dedication to Colonel Biddle the editor of Jean-Baptiste Say’s American edition of the Treatise on Political Economy.” Click here
George was not just an advocate of the single tax on the unimproved value of land, but also a strong defender of free trade, as this work demonstrates. Click here