Front Page Titles (by Subject) I. Introductory - Studies in the Theory of International Trade
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I. Introductory - Jacob Viner, Studies in the Theory of International Trade 
Studies in the Theory of International Trade (New York: Harper and Brothers, 1965).
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In this chapter an account will be presented of the history and the present status of the theory of the mechanism of adjustment of international balances, in terms throughout of the simplifying assumption of an international simple specie currency, i.e., with the circulating medium consisting solely of standard metallic money. It was in terms of this assumption that the theory was first presented, and it has served ever since as a convenient device whereby to segregate for separate treatment different problems connected with the mechanism. It should be noted that in this chapter, as throughout the book, the term “balance of payments” is used in its original sense of an excess of immediate claims on abroad over obligations to abroad, or vice versa, which must be liquidated by specie. It should be noted also that by a “disturbance” to international equilibrium will be meant a change in one of the elements in a preexisting equilibrium such as to require a new equilibrium, and that this change, whether it takes the form of a series of crop failures, of international tributes or loans, of new import duties, or of a relative change in the demands of the two countries for each other's products, is presumed to continue indefinitely, and its cessation is treated as a new change in the reverse direction. A wide variety of disturbances can be used to illustrate the theory of the mechanism of international trade, and each has its own sequence of stages and to some extent its own set of special problems. A selection must be made, therefore, and the reader is asked not to attribute to me or to the writers cited generalization of the conclusions reached from the analysis of cases specifically dealt with beyond what the context clearly shows to be intended.
The “classical” theory of the mechanism of international trade, as developed from Hume to J. S. Mill, is still, in its general lines, the predominant theory. No strikingly different mechanism, moreover, has yet been convincingly suggested, although there has been gain in precision of analysis, and some correction of undoubted error. In recent years, it is true, a number of writers have pointed out what they regard as major errors in the classical theory, and have claimed that to eliminate these errors would require major reconstruction of the classical doctrines. But the current notions as to what the classical doctrines actually were are, with respect to this as to other matters, largely traditional rather than the product of examination of the original sources, and even when, as sometimes happens, the critics do use classical texts as the basis for the interpretation of the classical doctrines, they confine their references almost wholly to Ricardo and to J. S. Mill, and to the compressed, elliptical, and simplified expositions of their doctrines which are to be found in short chapters, labeled as on international trade, in their Principles. But if an adequate notion of the classical doctrines as to the mechanism of international trade is to be had, it is necessary to examine the writings of other classical economists, and for Ricardo and J. S. Mill to read in their Principles beyond the chapters distinctly labeled as dealing with international trade and also to explore what they had to say on this subject elsewhere. It is also necessary to bear in mind that there were important differences of doctrine within the ranks of the classical economists themselves, so that on some important points it is impossible to find any one doctrine which can properly be labeled as the classical doctrine. The following account will, I trust, demonstrate that some at least of the much-emphasized discoveries and “corrections” of recent years either are to be rejected as erroneous or were current doctrine in the classical period.