De Montbrial, Thierry
October 1975
Foreign Affairs;Oct75, Vol. 54 Issue 1, p61
Academic Journal
This paper emphasizes the need for a reorganization of principles governing international economic relations taking into account the changes in power relationships and attitudes from 1940s to the 1970s. Another characteristic of the era which began in 1945 has been the emergence of the Third World. However, it is particularly the success of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries in 1973 that has jolted the developed nations into full awareness of the influential power of the proletarian nations. Thus one must accept the politicization of economic relations as a given fact. On the national as well as the global level, monetary stability is a prerequisite for economic stability. Instability of exchange rates prevents any planning on the part of exporting companies. The theory of free trade states that in an economic universe where the means of production are not mobile, an international division of labor based on the hierarchy of comparative advantage leads to a higher global production of all goods than would be achieved in the absence of this division of labor. In sum, agriculture is a sector where the theory of comparative advantage of particularly open to challenge. Within zones specifically seeking integration, free trade must be maintained. Still, the problem of the long-term management of the world's natural resources remains to be solved. To deal with this matter, a resolutely normative, even utopian, approach must be taken.


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