Essay about Karl Marx And Free Trade

803 Words Dec 7th, 2015 4 Pages
First, we must look at the complicated relationship between Karl Marx and free trade. In contrary to popular opinion; Karl Marx was in favor of free trade. He spoke out against protectionist policies such as the Corn Laws in England which put restrictions and tariffs on imported grain. In a speech he delivered on the question of free trade in Brussels he said:
The Repeal of the Corn Laws in England is the greatest triumph of Free Trade in the nineteenth century. In every country where manufacturers discuss Free Trade, they have in mind chiefly Free Trade in corn or raw material generally. To burden foreign corn with protective duties is infamous, it is to speculate on the hunger of the people.
Marx believed that trade barriers hurt the working poor because trade barriers artificially increase the prices of goods, such as corn, that poor people need. Additionally, trade barriers limited the potential production of the manufacturing workforce. He thought protectionist policies were put in place because they helped certain members of the bourgeoisie who had a large amount of political clout, instead of the blue collar worker. However, the story becomes complicated because of Marx’s critiques directed at trade liberalization. Even though Marx is in favor of free trade he sees it has a tool used by the capitalists to exploit the working man. Marx later says in his speech:

Marx thought that under a capitalist system free trade would only widen the gap between rich and poor. He…

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