Economics and World History: Myths and Paradoxes

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University of Chicago Press, Sep 1, 1995 - Business & Economics - 184 pages
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Paul Bairoch deflates twenty commonly held myths about economic history. Among these myths are that free trade and population growth have historically led to periods of economic growth, and that colonial powers in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries became rich through the exploitation of the Third World. Bairoch shows that these beliefs are based on insufficient knowledge and wrong interpretations of the history of economies of the United States, Europe, and the Third World, and he re-examines the facts to set the record straight. Bairoch argues that until the early 1960s, the history of international trade of the developed countries was almost entirely one of protectionism rather than a "Golden Era" of free trade, and he reveals that, in fact, past periods of economic growth in the Western World correlated strongly with protectionist policy. He also demonstrates that developed countries did not exploit the Third World for raw materials during the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, as some economists and many politicians have held. Among the many other myths that Bairoch debunks are beliefs about whether colonization triggered the Industrial Revolution, the effects of the economic development of the West on the Third World, and beliefs about the 1929 crash and the Great Depression. Bairoch's lucid prose makes the book equally accessible to economists of every stripe, as well as to historians, political scientists, and other social scientists.
 

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Contents

Parti Major Myths About the Developed World
1
Was there a Golden Era of European Free Trade?
16
Was there Free Trade in the Rest ol the World?
30
Has Protectionism Always had a Negative Impact?
44
Major Myths on the Role of the Third World in Western
57
The other raw materials
67
Was Colonialism Important in Triggering the Industrial
80
Notes
86
The wealth of the future Third World confirmed
106
The More Tropical Products Exported the More Food
119
the More the Better?
126
Minor Myths and Unnoticed Turning Points
133
Generally Unnoticed Historical Turning Points
150
The Paradox of Economic History or
164
Index
178
Copyright

Major Myths About the Third World
99

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