Friedrich List & Franz Neumann -or here: Bismarck

James Devine jdevine at
Sat Sep 26 07:41:53 PDT 1998

At 12:29 PM 9/26/98 +0200, you wrote:
>Gregory P. Nowell wrote: >>Autarchic theory is deeply rooted in German
experience and I think the Nazis could have come up with their ideas with or wihtout List.<

I'm not sure what is meant by "deeply rooted in German experience" but I guess I agree with the general sentiment. German experience with autarchy started when Napoleon conquered the various German states and then found himself slapped by a British blockade. This caused a short-lived hothouse style import-substituting growth process. And of course, people like Alexander Hamilton favored government replacements for the natural protection of industry arising from high transportation and communication costs across the Atlantic and the accidental protection arising from wars. Especially after the Civil War, the US pursued a import-subsituting industrialization behind tariff walls, taking advantage of the large domestic market. (A very successful story, I might add.)

In many ways, the Germans were imitating the US. (while I bet the US learned from Germany). The Germans' tendency toward autarchy arose from the fact that the Brits were dominating the world market in manufacturing. They had to pursue protection or get stuck with a comparative advantage in agricultural commodities and ores. Protectionism was part of the larger role of government in promoting industrialization that characterizes late industrializers (as compared to early industrializers, i.e., England), according to Alexander Gershenkron.

On top of that, it should be noticed that the unification of Germany in many ways meant the _increase in free trade_: many of the large number of German mini-states used tariffs as a major source of tax revenue; these were abolished with the establisment of the Zollverrein (sp?)

BTW, a protectionist/autarkic strategy sort of makes sense for Russia: first we have to make our domestic economy actually work; then we can deal with international trade. Of course, I'm afraid that that type of autarky would be linked to the worst kind of national chauvanism.

Jim Devine jdevine at &

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