Wicksteed on Trade

Philip H. Wicksteed’s 1910 textbook The Common Sense of Political Economy is accurately titled. Though not as well known today as his rough contemporary Alfred Marshall, Wicksteed influenced a number of prominent economists, including Nobel laureate James Buchanan. On p. 667, Wicksteed makes an important point about trade policy:

Thus the matter of investigation is the policy of directing a man’s bargaining along lines which he would not choose for himself in order to benefit certain people in whom we are specially interested at the expense of others in whom we are interested less or not at all. The area and grounds of our interest may be important in many ways, but they do not affect the economic theory.

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