Quotable quotes

Jurriaan Bendien bendien at tomaatnet.nl
Thu Sep 25 11:57:06 MDT 2003

Here's a howler in Marxist economic science:

"The Net Domestic Product represents the sum of incomes (gross) for the
whole of the economy"

- Prof. Jacques Gouverneur, Kapitalisme Vandaag [Capitalism Today], Berchem:
EPO, 1989, p. 280).

Here's a succinct heterodox statement on Ricardian "comparative advantage":

"Between 1600 and 1750, Portugal itself underdeveloped and was not able to
expropriate so much of its Brazilian satellite. Portugal was ever more
converted into a satellite. The treaties of the seventeenth century, and
especially the Treaty of Methuen in 1703, brought on the destruction of
Portugal's textile industries, the take-over by Great Britain of its foreign
and even domestic trade, and the conversion of Portugal into a mere entrepot
between Great Britain and Brazil and other Portugese colonies. Portugal did
become an exporter of wine, in exchange for the textiles it could no longer
produce because of the flooding of its market by British products - which
David Ricardo in 1817 had the temerity to interpret as a law of 'comparative
advantage'. Portugal became a satellite-metroplis which took an ever smaller
part of the economic surpkus of its own Brazilian satellite thanks to the
monopoly position it still retained, while Great Britain took over the
economic monopoly and spoils. Illuminating in this connection are the
observation of the Marquis of Pombal, Prime Minister of Portugal and its
second Colbert, who clarified the situation and therewith the roots of
Portugal's underdevelopment in 1755, some years before Adam Smith inquired
into the causes and nature of the wealth of nations, and half a century
before Ricardo assured the world that Portugal's production and exchange of
wine for Britain's textiles was a universal law for the good of all. Pombal
wrote: (...) "These foreigners, after having acquired immense fortunes,
disappeared on a sudden, carrying with them the riches of the country...".

- Andre Gunder Frank, Capitalism and Underdevelopment in Latin America.
Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1971, p. 183-184.

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