Emmanuel was not late to point out that his theory fitted well with the observed absence of such solidarity, particularly between high- and low-wage countries, and, in fact, made the nationally enclosed workers movements into the principal cause of unequal exchange. This obliged the economy to function below its full potential and made it prone to crises such as the one he had himself experienced during the Great Depression. Since neither the wage- nor the consumption levels of the well-off countries could be internationally equalised - upwards for both ecological reasons and because it would eat up all profits, and downwards for political reasons in the same rich countries - unequal exchange was the necessary consequence, in a sense saving the capitalist economy from itself. Studied at the High School of Economics and Commerce from to and then at the Faculty of Law until , from where he went on to work in commerce in Athens until
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The paper can be divided into four main sections. The critique of the theory of comparative advantage is extended to deal more fully with the Heckscher-Ohlin theory of factor proportions. The second section deals with the formation of international values. The Theorem of Unequal Exchange is then stated and proven in terms of the Sraffa system modified to encompass international exchange.
The section ends with an analysis of the tendency towards the international equalization of the rate of profit. The third section examines in some detail the economic and political factors which determine wages, and the final section deals with the question of unequal exchange and uneven development.
Here, the relationship between consumption and accumulation, and the revolutionary consequences of the analysis are set out. But neither the social division of labour nor the international division necessarily implies a private exchange of the product.
This is important for it is on this point that the basic mistake of Adam Smith lies. On the one hand, he noticed that no human society could exist without some division of labour, human needs being too great to be satisfied by an individual effort. He considered, on the other hand, that in the societies known to him the distribution of the products was indeed carried on through exchanges between independent producers.
He therefore came to the conclusion that the propensity to exchange privately is as much an integral part of human nature as is the division of labour. Now, we should of course admit that individual man — a social animal — having to appropriate nature in order to reproduce himself, is unable to do so without some sort of collaboration with other men.
This entails the dividing up of the many tasks that this appropriation involves. It is, further, to be admitted that such cooperation in production implies a distribution of the whole product among the participants. But it does not follow at all from these premises that the only way of distribution is the private one. In the primitive tribal community, a social division of labour does exist, but there is no private exchange, except occasionally, and to such a marginal degree that the essential process of the reproduction of social life is in no way interfered with.
The same holds for the future socialist society when the market will have disappeared. In these two types of integrated society, the social division of labour and the subsequent distribution of the product forma single inseparable process, set up ex ante by a single direct act of the decision-making centre, be it the chief and elders in tribal collectivism, or the plan in the advanced socialist society.
On the contrary, in the type of society where the distribution of the product is carried out by means of a system of privately agreed-upon exchanges mercantile relations , it is those exchanges and their ex post outcome that determine indirectly the social division of labour through a series of micro-economic decisions taken at the level of independent producers.
Social division of labour is indeed a permanent constituent of the social nature of man; private exchange and commerce are just one of its historic elements. Private exchange and the international framework Things are somehow different when considered in the international context.
The Central planning of either division of labour or distribution of the product has never existed. Even in the epoch of tribal collectivism, when the primitive communities exchanged their products between them, they always did it on a transactional basis and it is this fact that led some economists to contend that foreign trade historically preceded domestic trade. As regards the present, even the so-called States of transition towards socialism, more or less planned, regardless of the extent to which they have abolished their domestic trade, still present themselves internationally as independent bargaining dealers.
One can perfectly well conceive of a socialist world plan implementing centrally the division of labour and the distribution of the produce on a planetary scale. The determination of the International division of labour When we say that the International division of labour has always, up to now, taken place on a private trade basis, we must add an important qualification.
Although not centrally co-ordinated planned the international division of labour was nonetheless to a certain extent socio-historic institutionally and politically instead of being geo—economic. Instead of being the outcome of objective laws, that is, the effect of the variety of the natural resources of each country, the international division of labour has often been determined, if not globally, at least piecemeal, for the dominated countries by the deliberate action of the dominant countries.
Products which today seem indigenous such as cocoa, palm oil, and groundnuts in Western Africa, grapes in Algeria, cotton in Egypt, maize, maioc, many varieties of bananas in Black Africa have often been the object of either entirely artificial transplantation or a deliberate expansion of preexisting cultivation, far exceeding the proportions which would be suggested by the geo-climatic environment.
The famous comment by Marx in his Discourse on Free-Trade seems in this connection quite plausible. Two centuries ago, nature which does not care about trade, had put there neither coffee nor sugar-cane.
We can include under the first heading all official measures implemented in the context of conquest and colonization, ranging from the open violence of direct plunder to the enactment in dependent territories of customs tariffs favourable to the home country.
In the second category — deliberate interference with free trade without the political domination of the partner — we include all protectionist measures, direct or indirect, taken within the advanced countries themselves. Direct measures include prohibitions or quotas on certain imports or exports, legislative restrictions on the free circulation of monetized metals etc. Mercantilism The official steps mentioned above, were, during the whole period, from about the beginning of the 16th to the end of the 18th century, influenced by the economic infrastructure of the dominating country.
Mercantilism is less a system of Political Economy and more a doctrine of economic policy. Mercantilist authors, particularly those of the 16th, 17th and the early 18th century, are not theoreticians and it is admitted that Economics did not yet exist as a science. These authors appear as experts who endeavoured to create for their respective governments useful trade policies for the beneficial management of the affairs of the State, particularly in the field of its economic relations with foreign countries.
They did not worry about rationalizing the world economy, the very concept of which was beyond their scope. According to Colbert, trade is like war. The victory of the one party meant ipso facto the defeat of the other. Obsessed by the fear of unemployment which notwithstanding widespread opinion to the contrary was in their time more severe than in any other later period under advanced capitalism, the mercantilists were mainly interested in seeking outlets abroad for the national product.
For this purpose, they recommended two sorts of measures, the first one quantitative, the second, qualitative. A policy of simultaneous autarky and trade expansion.
The apparent contradiction between these two targets was resolved by a one-way trade, that is, by a permanent surplus on the balance of trade. A policy of close selection of exports and imports so that the exports embody the most possible, and the imports the least possible amount of living labour.
This meant that they attempted to export manufactured goods and import raw materials. John Law, who was not a mercantilist in the proper sense, was nonetheless clearly asserting towards the end of the 17th century that the greatest blessing in foreign trade was for a country to be supplied with raw materials from other countries and to find a market for its own manufactured products in those same countries. In this context, he complained about French wool being sent out to Holland and coming back afterwards under the form of manufactured articles.
The orthodox mercantilists of the 16th and 17th centuries were more outspoken. He blamed the Europeans, particularly the British, for having let sugar-refineries be established in the colonies which produced sugar.
But regarding foreign trade, it is Adam Smith and Ricardo in England who mark the decisive turning-point in economic thought. For the first time a class — the industrialists — came into power that was interested in a two-way trade, in real exchanges, which would widen the international division of labour. This class did not wish merely to import raw materials and export manufactured goods, something which everybody agreed upon. It also needed cheap provisions for its workers and this was something which ran totally counter to the interests of landowners whose rents weighed considerably on corn prices.
It is on this point that Ricardo diverges from Adam Smith. It is the equilibrated balance of trade with a greater turnover in both directions which was the goal to reach. However, by linking international exchange to absolute cost, Adam Smith prevented the solution to the problem. For, in absolute terms, Britain was more productive than the rest of the world not only in manufactures, but also, to a lesser, but still considerable degree, in agricultural production.
That is, it was not clear if substantial imports of corn were to provide a counter-part, or if corn outflows — however irregular were to be added to the export side. It is the solution of this problem that Ricardo attempted with his comparative costs theorem.
The solution consists in suggesting that, notwithstanding the superiority of Britain in corn production, free exchange would not induce exports of corn but imports because her superiority in manufactures was even greater than the one she enjoyed in production from the land.
For, though the Capital employed in cultivating at home might bring an excess of profit over the Capital employed in cultivating abroad, yet, under the supposition. Ricardo completed his theorem with the famous example of Portuguese wine and British cloth: Portugal is able to produce one unit of wine with 80 units of labour hours, days, etc.
Emmanuel was not late to point out that his theory fitted well with the observed absence of such solidarity, particularly between high- and low-wage countries, and, in fact, made the nationally enclosed workers movements into the principal cause of unequal exchange. This obliged the economy to function below its full potential and made it prone to crises such as the one he had himself experienced during the Great Depression. Since neither the wage- nor the consumption levels of the well-off countries could be internationally equalised - upwards for both ecological reasons and because it would eat up all profits, and downwards for political reasons in the same rich countries - unequal exchange was the necessary consequence, in a sense saving the capitalist economy from itself. Studied at the High School of Economics and Commerce from to and then at the Faculty of Law until , from where he went on to work in commerce in Athens until While his later works clearly identify him as a Marxist or communist of sorts, it is still uncertain when and under which circumstances he began considering himself as such. In , Emmanuel volunteered for the Greek Liberation Forces in the Middle East, and was active in the April left-wing uprising of the Middle Eastern forces against the government-in-exile in Cairo.
Arghiri Emmanuel y el intercambio desigual
Arghiri Emmanuel: UNEQUAL EXCHANGE REVISITED