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Trade Policy Disaster: Lessons from the 1930s (Ohlin Lectures) Hardcover – October 21, 2011

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Trade Policy Disaster: Lessons from the 1930s (Ohlin Lectures) + The Battle of Bretton Woods: John Maynard Keynes, Harry Dexter White, and the Making of a New World Order (Council on Foreign Relations Books (Princeton University Press))
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Product Details

  • Series: Ohlin Lectures
  • Hardcover: 216 pages
  • Publisher: The MIT Press (October 21, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0262016710
  • ISBN-13: 978-0262016711
  • Product Dimensions: 5.4 x 0.6 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,426,779 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


"Douglas Irwin has emerged as the most influential economic historian of trade of his generation. Indeed, he ranks with the best scholars of international trade today. This splendid account of the 'trade wreck' of the 1930s shows why. It is masterly." -- Jagdish Bhagwati, University Professor, Columbia University

"The Great Credit Crisis of 2008-9 was the most serious financial crisis in nearly 80 years, but one respect in which we did better was in avoiding the disastrous trade policies of the 1930s. In this book Douglas Irwin explains why, shedding important new light on both that history and current policy." -- Barry Eichengreen, George C. Pardee and Helen N. Pardee Professor of Economics and Political Science, University of California, Berkeley

"There was much less resort to protectionist measures in the Great Recession than there was in the Great Depression. Douglas Irwin carefully reviews the disastrous protectionist policies of the 1930s and shows that countries that persisted in fixed exchange rates heightened protection much more than those that abandoned a peg. He concludes that the difference in 2007-9 was in significant part because many more countries had flexible exchange rates. This is a very important finding, and the book is a must-read for all those concerned with macroeconomic, trade, and exchange rate policy." -- Anne Krueger, Professor of International Economics, Johns Hopkins University, and Herald L. and Caroline Ritch Emeritus Professor of Sciences and Humanities, Stanford University

"Douglas Irwin's book reminds us why we should pay attention to the lessons of history. He recounts how policy constraints, combined with the orthodoxy to exert pressure on open trade relations in the 1930s, led to a fiasco that took decades to reverse. Irwin argues that the non-trade policy options available today have saved us so far from a protectionist explosion in the wake of the Great Recession. The danger of protectionism still haunts us today, and its impact could be even greater, given the role of global production chains today. This is an innovative book that helps us to understand and anticipate the policy reflexes of governments." -- Pascal Lamy, Director-General, World Trade Organization

About the Author

Douglas A. Irwin is Professor of Economics at Dartmouth College. He is the author of Free Trade under Fire, Peddling Protectionism: Smoot-Hawley and the Great Depression, and other books.

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

Format: Kindle Edition
I enjoyed this book. Think of it almost as a condensed version of "Lords of Finance," but with more focus on explaining trade mechanisms and defining terms (and with almost zero description of players involved). At the time I read this book, I was a beginner in finance, and I felt this was one in a group of literature that helped enhance my understanding of how managing a domestic economy can be vastly different from managing an economy within an international framework.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Surendra R. Bhandari on January 19, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
a must read book. i read it and l liked it a lot! it is very informative and useful for academia, researchers, and students.
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By Greg on October 27, 2014
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This is a brilliant piece of very important economic history: well-written, solidly researched, and with a top-flight economist's eye for telling details. Ought to be must-reading in every international-studies classroom. ---Greg Rushford (Editor and Publisher, The Rushford Report)
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