Publication Type

Journal Article

Publication Date

8-2016

Abstract

This essay offers a critical reexamination of the works of Friedrich List by placing them in the context of nineteenth-century imperial economies. I argue that List's theory of the national economy is characterised by a major ambivalence, as it incorporates both imperial and anti-imperial elements. On the one hand, List pitted his national principle against the British imperialism of free trade and the relations of dependency it heralded for late developers like Germany. On the other hand, his economic nationalism aimed less at dismantling imperial core-periphery relations as a whole than at reproducing these relations domestically and expanding them globally. I explain this ambivalence with reference to List's designation of imperial Britain as the prime example of successful economic development and a model to be emulated by late industrialisers. List thereby fashioned his ideas on national development out of the historical experience of an empire whereby he internalised its economic logic and discourse of the civilising mission. Consequently, List's national economy culminated in an early vision of the global north-south relations, in which the global industrial-financial core would expand to include France, Germany and the USA, while the rest of the world would be reduced to quasi-colonial agrarian hinterlands.

Keywords

Friedrich List, liberalism, nationalism, capitalism, imperialism, free trade, mercantilism

Discipline

Political Economy | Political Science

Research Areas

Political Science

Publication

New Political Economy

Volume

21

Issue

4

First Page

380

Last Page

400

ISSN

1356-3467

Identifier

10.1080/13563467.2016.1115827

Publisher

Taylor & Francis (Routledge): SSH Titles

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.

Additional URL

http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/13563467.2016.1115827

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