Journal of Evolutionary Economics

, Volume 5, Issue 3, pp 313–326 | Cite as

Against free trade: Neoclassical and steady-state perspectives

  • Herman E. Daly
Global Economic Evolution: Knowledge Variety and Diffusion in Economic Growth and Development IV Global Potentialities, Constraints and Redistributional Challenges


The author argues against free trade as a “default position” for international trade. He shows that arguments for free trade based on comparative advantage do not hold in reality. First, free trade makes cost-internalization for single countries difficult leading to standard-lowering competition and misallocation. Second, the international mobility of capital leads to absolute rather than comparative advantage for single countries, thus leading to maldistribution. Finally, the ecological basis seriously limits the scope for catching-up. Priority should be given alternatively to domestic production of a steady-state type with balanced trade.

Key words

International trade Standard-lowering competition Capital mobility Steady-state Ecological basis 


F19 F21 Q32 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1995

Authors and Affiliations

  • Herman E. Daly
    • 1
  1. 1.School of Public AffairsUniversity of MarylandCollege ParkUSA

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