The Theory of Comparative Advantage

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The theory of comparative advantage is the most important concepts in international trade and has been one of the major reasons behind the existence of WTO and its world wide success. The theory in the context of international trade explains the benefits of trade between two countries without any barrier even if one is more efficient at producing goods or services needed and produced by the other.


47). The terms like comparative or relative advantages have often failed to create same impression as that of absolute advantage and hence this concept of comparative advantage has often been misunderstood. The concept of absolute advantage as described by Adam Smith suggests that a commodity produced cheaper by a foreign nation should rather be bought from that nation and the resources available should be employed in a way which we have some advantage (Bromley et al., 2004, p. 46). This simplicity of absolute advantage has made the concept very popular and easy to comprehend. Moving on to the concept of comparative advantage given by David Ricardo; the concept is not at all intuitive at first go and will require explicit numerical examples for better explanation.
To begin, we consider two nations "Nation A" and "Nation B" and both producing two goods, cloth which is a manufactured good and fruit wine which can be considered as an agricultural product. Both the products are produced in these countries. As Ricardo had assumed, we start with Nation A which can produce fruit wine efficiently while Nation B is considered more productive and can produce both cloth and fruit wine efficiently. ...
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