Argument: Free trade promotes peace and stability internationally

Issue Report: Free trade

Extended argument


  • Norman Angell, Grand Illusion (1901) supports this proposition.
  • Martin Wolf, Why Globalization Works?. Yale University Press. 2004. ISBN 0-300-10777-3. pp 34. – “A country with secure property rights, scientific inquiry and technological innovation will become richer. But, since division of labour is limited by the size of the market, it will also benefit from trade, not just in goods and services, but in ideas, capital and people. The smaller a country is, the greater the benefits. Trade is far cheaper than empire, just as internal development is a less costly route to prosperity than plunder. This was the heart of [Norman] Angell’s argument in the Grand Illusion. Germans would become no richer, individually, if they controlled Alsace. In similar vein, when promoting fee trade in Britain in the first half of the nineteenth century. Richard Cobden, father of the Anti-Corn Law League argued that unilateral free trade would promote prosperity and peaceful relations with other countries.
  • Richard Cobden, father of the Anti-Corn Law League.
  • Golden Arches theory of international peace. Thomas Friedman. The theory posits that no two countries with a McDonald’s restaurant – liberal democracies – had ever gone to war. While some point to the fact that NATO bombed Serbia, a democracy with McDonald’s restaurants, Friedman defended his theory in his Lexus and the Olive tree by pointing out that the outcome was consistent with his theory, as Serbia had to decide whether it wanted ‘to be part of the broad economic trends and opportunities in the world today’ or whether they ‘want to keep Kosovo and become an isolated, backward tribal enclave’. The Serbs did choose the former, as it disposed of Mislosevic to do so.