A History of Thought on Economic Integration by Fritz Machlup (auth.)

By Fritz Machlup (auth.)

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In the history of the idea of economic integration not much has been written on public or collective goods in an explicit fashion, except when some arguments against free trade, and in favour of protection of domestic production, were made with reference to collective objectives such as military preparedness for the next war (to secure an ample supply of soldiers from a robust rural population and of arms from a strong defence industry). The overwhelming part of the literature, when the cases for national, regional, or global integration were argued, focused on short- and long-run economic efficiency in the production of ordinary (that is, private) goods and services as the major objective - and I cannot help thinking that the conventional writers' judgement in choosing this focus was sound.

7, pp. 534-41. , 1961) p. 84. 34 A History of Thought on Economic Integration stress this pair of antonyms. The second sense has been more customary. THE INCLUSION OF PUBLIC GOODS Definitions of integration that stress the opportunities for division of labour in the production of goods and services are likely to focus on economic criteria and to leave political and other aspects aside. A disregard of political concerns disturbs those who like to integrate all social sciences into a unified science of society.

This prescription would be fine if the countries were prepared to give up their autonomy over credit policy. Fixed exchange rates were possible 22 A History of Thought on Economic Integration as long as governments did not pursue monetary policies designed to aim at other targets, such as maintaining full employment, accelerating economic growth, counteracting fluctuations in business activity, or keeping price levels more stable than they are abroad. With other targets proclaimed as national goals to be attained or aided by monetary policy, a system of fixed exchange rates became inoperable.

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