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Dear Jagdish Bhagwati
26th October 1999
It is generally assumed that Adam Smith?s The Wealth of Nations, published in 1776, provides an irrefutable justification for free trade as it is practised today. Nothing could be further from the truth. Smith did not advocate free trade as such, but free trade in conditions which are very different from those that prevail now.
Smith assumed that the market would be in the hands of small companies-too small to influence the market price. He abhorred monopoly power, especially if it was achieved by protecting trade secrets (what we now call ?intellectual…
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