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The Bias of the World: Theories of Unequal Exchange in History

Brolin, John LU (2007) In Lund Studies in Human Ecology
Abstract (Swedish)
Popular Abstract in Swedish

Detta är en histora över teorier om ojämnt utbyte och deras upphovsmän. Den börjar med merkantilismen och Richard Cantillons jordvärdeteori, ger en kort beskrivning av tidig klassisk ekonomi och Gerald Fitzhugh. Bland det tidiga 1900-talets marxistiska ekonomer spelade ojämnt utbyte en roll i Otto Bauers tolkning av nationalistiska motsättningar, och i Henryk Grossmanns verk som en faktor motverkande kapitlismens sammanbrott. Tillskottet till marxistisk teori av internationell kapitalrörlighet (dvs internationell utjämning av profitkvoten) var eventuellt bara möjligt pga den förvirring som rådde kring nationell gränsdragning i Habsburg. Beträffande Harold A. Innis så föreslås det att han kunde... (More)
Popular Abstract in Swedish

Detta är en histora över teorier om ojämnt utbyte och deras upphovsmän. Den börjar med merkantilismen och Richard Cantillons jordvärdeteori, ger en kort beskrivning av tidig klassisk ekonomi och Gerald Fitzhugh. Bland det tidiga 1900-talets marxistiska ekonomer spelade ojämnt utbyte en roll i Otto Bauers tolkning av nationalistiska motsättningar, och i Henryk Grossmanns verk som en faktor motverkande kapitlismens sammanbrott. Tillskottet till marxistisk teori av internationell kapitalrörlighet (dvs internationell utjämning av profitkvoten) var eventuellt bara möjligt pga den förvirring som rådde kring nationell gränsdragning i Habsburg. Beträffande Harold A. Innis så föreslås det att han kunde vara av större nytta för teoribygget kring ojämnt utbyte som historiker om kommunikationsmediernas snedvinklande och avskärmande effekter än som upphovsman till den sk stapeltesen. Raúl Prebischs roll som upphovsman till debatten om ojämnt utbyte ifrågasätts och hans mång a likheter med merkantilister påtalas. Det påvisas hur debatten kring Prebisch-Singer teoremet snart nog kom att demonstrera hur bytesförhällandet inte var så mycket förklarades av specialisering på råvaror resp. industrivaror som av underutvekling resp. utveckling i sig. W. Arthur Lewis modell, utarbetad i sökandet efter en icke-kommunistisk utvecklingsväg, löste delvis detta dilemma genom att lyfta fram ojämna lönenivåer, i sin tur beroende av produktivitetsskillnader, och av politiska migrationshinder för dessas utjämning. Därigenom gjorde han bytesförhållandet för varor beroende av det för produktionsfaktorer. Arghiri Emmanuel integrerade merkantilistiska, klassisk ekoonomiska och marxistiska perspektiv och kom att fungera som historisk katalysator för idén om ojämnt utbyte. Hans teori var klart åtskild från en annars vanlig ?monopoltolkning?, och presenteras i marxistisk, sraffiansk och en ekologisk variant. Den specifika historiska roll som ojämnt utbyte spelade i hans perspektiv kopplas här till hans inte mindre originella argument om att värdet av produktionen (kostnaden) kontinuerligt underskrider inkomsterna (köpkraften) som genereras av samma produktion. Vidare studeras ekologisk teorier om ojämnt utbyte: Howard T. Odums ?emergi? teori, Georg Borgströms spökarealer, Hartvig Sætras genom tiden sträckta imperialism, ekologiska fotavtryck som anammades av Jan Otto Andersson, och ekologisk beroendeteori hos Stephen Bunker och Joan Martinez-Alier. Till skillnad från den överföring av ?arbets-? eller ?ekologiska värden? som dominerar flertalet marxistiska och ekologiska skrifter i ämnet, förespråkas här en föreställning om ?ojämnt utbyte? som lägger fokus på ?horizontellt? konfliktfyllda sociala relationer ? vidmakthållandet av en skillnad i konsumtionsnivåer, eller i anspråken på den totala ekologiskt-samhälleliga produktionen, inom de breda folklagren på Jorden ? och dessas återverkningar på relativa priser, eller bytesförhållandet. En sådan avgränsning är mera strikt än vad som är brukligt, men tar till vara originaliteten i frågeställningen och vad som varit mest användbart i föreställningens historia. (Less)
Abstract
This is a history of theories and theorists of unequal exchange. Starting with mercantilists and Richard Cantillon's theory based on land values, it briefly covers the early Classical economists and Gerald Fitzhugh. Among early 20th century Marxist economists, unequal exchange appeared in Otto Bauer's explanation of nationalist antagonism, and in Henryk Grossmann as countering the breakdown of capitalism. It is argued that the addition to Marxist economic theory of international capital mobility and transfers of value was prompted in part by the confusion regarding national boundaries in the Habsburg Empire. As to Harold A. Innis, it is argued that theories of unequal exchange could make more use of him as the historian of the bias of... (More)
This is a history of theories and theorists of unequal exchange. Starting with mercantilists and Richard Cantillon's theory based on land values, it briefly covers the early Classical economists and Gerald Fitzhugh. Among early 20th century Marxist economists, unequal exchange appeared in Otto Bauer's explanation of nationalist antagonism, and in Henryk Grossmann as countering the breakdown of capitalism. It is argued that the addition to Marxist economic theory of international capital mobility and transfers of value was prompted in part by the confusion regarding national boundaries in the Habsburg Empire. As to Harold A. Innis, it is argued that theories of unequal exchange could make more use of him as the historian of the bias of communication than as the originator of the ?staple thesis?. The role of Raúl Prebisch as the originator of the debate on unequal exchange is questioned and his many similarities with mercantilist theorists underlined. It is shown how the debate on the Prebisch-Singer theorem on the terms of trade soon demonstrated that it was not so much specialisation on raw materials or manufactures that determined the terms of trade as underdevelopment or development per se. Building on the Classical economic paradigm and trying in the cold-war context to understand the British industrial revolution, W. Arthur Lewis's model focused on unequal wage-levels due to productivity differences and their non-equalisation due to political restrictions on migration, thereby making the ?commodity? terms of trade determined by the ?factoral? terms. Arghiri Emmanuel became the historical catalyst for the idea of unequal exchange, integrating mercantilist, Classical, and Marxist perspectives. Distinct from the ?monopoly? interpretation, his theory is presented in its Marxist, Sraffian and ecological versions. The specific historical function of unequal exchange in his perspective is linked to the no less original argument on the disequilibrium between the value of output and the purchasing power of income. Ecological theories of unequal exchange are also examined: Howard T. Odum's ?emergy? theory, Georg Borgström's ghost acreages, Hartvig Sætra's three-tense imperialism, ecological footprints as adopted by Jan Otto Andersson, and ecological dependency in Stephen Bunker and Joan Martinez-Alier. Instead of the transfer of ?labour? or ?ecological values? dominating much Marxist and ecological writings, a conception of unequal exchange is advocated focusing on ?horizontally? antagonistic social relations ? retaining a difference in levels of consumption, or appropriation of total societal/ecological output of goods and services, between large masses of populations ? and their reverberation on relative prices, or the terms of trade. More strict than common usage would allow, this delimitation retains what is most useful and original in the concept's history as makes it distinct from other traditions. (Less)
Please use this url to cite or link to this publication:
author
supervisor
opponent
  • Prof. Jonsson, Ulf, Ekonomisk-historiska institutionen, Stockholms Universitet
organization
publishing date
type
Thesis
publication status
published
subject
keywords
History and philosophy of the social sciences, Nutidshistoria (från 1914), Contemporary history (since 1914), Ekologi, Ecology, political ecology, ecological footprint, emergy, underconsumptionism, post-Keynesian, unlimited supplies of labour, Prebisch-Singer, centre-periphery, terms of trade, staple thesis, ecologial economics, Marxist economics, classical economics, history of political economy, mercantilism, non-equvalent exchange, unequal exchange, Samhällsvetenskapernas historia och filosofi, Economics, econometrics, economic theory, economic systems, economic policy, Nationalekonomi, ekonometri, ekonomisk teori, ekonomiska system, ekonomisk politik
in
Lund Studies in Human Ecology
pages
383 pages
publisher
Human Ecology Division, Lund University
defense location
Hörsal 207, Zoofysiologen, Helgonavägen 3B, Lund
defense date
2007-01-26 10:15
ISSN
1403-5022
ISBN
978-91-628-7022-5
language
English
LU publication?
yes
id
f581d165-ad6f-4220-af9c-39aed92fcbfd (old id 25251)
date added to LUP
2007-06-05 14:01:24
date last changed
2016-09-19 08:44:52
@phdthesis{f581d165-ad6f-4220-af9c-39aed92fcbfd,
  abstract     = {This is a history of theories and theorists of unequal exchange. Starting with mercantilists and Richard Cantillon's theory based on land values, it briefly covers the early Classical economists and Gerald Fitzhugh. Among early 20th century Marxist economists, unequal exchange appeared in Otto Bauer's explanation of nationalist antagonism, and in Henryk Grossmann as countering the breakdown of capitalism. It is argued that the addition to Marxist economic theory of international capital mobility and transfers of value was prompted in part by the confusion regarding national boundaries in the Habsburg Empire. As to Harold A. Innis, it is argued that theories of unequal exchange could make more use of him as the historian of the bias of communication than as the originator of the ?staple thesis?. The role of Raúl Prebisch as the originator of the debate on unequal exchange is questioned and his many similarities with mercantilist theorists underlined. It is shown how the debate on the Prebisch-Singer theorem on the terms of trade soon demonstrated that it was not so much specialisation on raw materials or manufactures that determined the terms of trade as underdevelopment or development per se. Building on the Classical economic paradigm and trying in the cold-war context to understand the British industrial revolution, W. Arthur Lewis's model focused on unequal wage-levels due to productivity differences and their non-equalisation due to political restrictions on migration, thereby making the ?commodity? terms of trade determined by the ?factoral? terms. Arghiri Emmanuel became the historical catalyst for the idea of unequal exchange, integrating mercantilist, Classical, and Marxist perspectives. Distinct from the ?monopoly? interpretation, his theory is presented in its Marxist, Sraffian and ecological versions. The specific historical function of unequal exchange in his perspective is linked to the no less original argument on the disequilibrium between the value of output and the purchasing power of income. Ecological theories of unequal exchange are also examined: Howard T. Odum's ?emergy? theory, Georg Borgström's ghost acreages, Hartvig Sætra's three-tense imperialism, ecological footprints as adopted by Jan Otto Andersson, and ecological dependency in Stephen Bunker and Joan Martinez-Alier. Instead of the transfer of ?labour? or ?ecological values? dominating much Marxist and ecological writings, a conception of unequal exchange is advocated focusing on ?horizontally? antagonistic social relations ? retaining a difference in levels of consumption, or appropriation of total societal/ecological output of goods and services, between large masses of populations ? and their reverberation on relative prices, or the terms of trade. More strict than common usage would allow, this delimitation retains what is most useful and original in the concept's history as makes it distinct from other traditions.},
  author       = {Brolin, John},
  isbn         = {978-91-628-7022-5},
  issn         = {1403-5022},
  keyword      = {History and philosophy of the social sciences,Nutidshistoria (från 1914),Contemporary history (since 1914),Ekologi,Ecology,political ecology,ecological footprint,emergy,underconsumptionism,post-Keynesian,unlimited supplies of labour,Prebisch-Singer,centre-periphery,terms of trade,staple thesis,ecologial economics,Marxist economics,classical economics,history of political economy,mercantilism,non-equvalent exchange,unequal exchange,Samhällsvetenskapernas historia och filosofi,Economics,econometrics,economic theory,economic systems,economic policy,Nationalekonomi,ekonometri,ekonomisk teori,ekonomiska system,ekonomisk politik},
  language     = {eng},
  pages        = {383},
  publisher    = {Human Ecology Division, Lund University},
  school       = {Lund University},
  series       = {Lund Studies in Human Ecology},
  title        = {The Bias of the World: Theories of Unequal Exchange in History},
  year         = {2007},
}