The National System of Political Economy: All Four Books and the Appendices in a Single Volume (Paperback)

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Friedrich List's daring economic thesis, which challenges the prevailing theories of Adam Smith and David Ricardo, comprises of four books and appendixes, all of which are contained in this volume.
One of the first challenges to the orthodoxy of unfettered free trade, this book undertakes a comparison between the economies of the United States and Germany - who used protectionism - and the economy of Great Britain, which was broadly aligned to free trade. List demonstrates that the unbridled free trade acts to foster inequality and lopsided development; in the case of the British Empire, the colonized lands benefit far less than the colonizers. Domestic industry in Britain during the 19th century was characterized by extreme poverty of the workers; a dire situation which would eventually spur the creation of trade unions.
List notices that living standards in Germany and the USA during the 19th century consistently rose. In other nations the correlation between tariffs and protectionism, and general living standards for the wider populace, are established. While tariffs on foreign goods were incrementally imposed, the resulting taxes were reinvested into the domestic economy; industry and public infrastructure were improved, and standards for labor were higher, than those in the laissez-faire economy of Great Britain.
A stark opponent of unbridled capitalism, List instead favors a system whereby the state and the business economy work together to create decent conditions for all. He strongly believed that nations had a duty to look after their citizens, create an identity, promote industrial growth and prowess, and regulate both capital and labor to beneficent ends. This is contrasted with free markets, wherein the state's role is minimal and the consequences are shown to be mass exploitation and poverty.
List's body of work, while having faded from view somewhat in the modern day, forms an important milestone in economics. They represent the first major departure from laissez-faire system, and their criticisms of unregulated markets still ring true in the modern day. Although marginalized both during and after his lifetime, and scarcely present in many modern economics courses, Friedrich List's writings were a valuable addition to the discourse.
The translation of the text to English is by Sampson S. Lloyd, a British politician in the late-19th century who agreed with the arguments List presented.


Product Details
ISBN: 9781976016578
ISBN-10: 1976016576
Publisher: Createspace Independent Publishing Platform
Publication Date: September 2nd, 2017
Pages: 176
Language: English