ECN 220 - Evolution of the Global Economy Mid-term
Short Answer Questions
1. Briefly describe three reasons why many primary producing countries during the 1920s
experienced low and unstable export prices.
x International trade during WWI disrupted trade patterns, which had the effect on food
importing countries to increase reliance on their domestic agricultural industries. This
caused these industries to increase food production to offset the loss of imported food
goods. There was also a shift from cereal goods to more income-elastic goods such as
dairy products, which when combined with a domestic dependence on home-grown
foodstuffs made for a very turbulent international agricultural market once the war was
finished for these three reasons:
i. With the war finished, world trade had the potential to resume again at its
previous levels, but since countries that had once imported the majority of their
food were now producing their own, production did not slow down and
continued at the high levels seen during the war. This was because governments
could not suddenly tell their farmers that they were no longer needed.
ii. So instead of slowing down their domestic agricultural industries, governments
took to protectionist measures that restricted trade by use of tariffs in order to
protect their over-produced industries at home.
iii. This led to falling prices around the world for agricultural products and caused
2. Several countries which depended on exporting manufactures experienced slow and unstable
growth during the 1920s. Indicate (with brief explanations) two of the reasons for this.
x Much like the agricultural industries of industrialized countries during the war, primary
producing countries built up manufacturing industries during WWI that, because of the
lack of international trade, overproduced in certain industries such as textiles, iron, and
steel. Adoption of new technologies also contributed to slow and unstable growth to
these industries, because it brought new problems and difficulties that they were not
prepared to deal with. Again once the war was over, these countries with their over-
producing manufacturers did not want to slow down development and thus used it as
another reason to impose tariffs on trade. This protectionism was the biggest cause for
3. Briefly describe two effects of protectionism on the international trading and financial system
of the 1920s.
x The protectionist policies enacted during the 1õîì[µ}ou(}ZÁ}o
economy because they reduced world income as a result of the very nature of
protectionist measures which ignore the principle of comparative advantage that says
countries are capable of producing certain goods at a lower opportunity cost than
others, and so should be left to do so, with each country specializing in what it is best at
producing and trading with one another, creating a beneficial scenario for all parties