chapter  2
19 Pages

Some Aspects of the Pattern of World Trade

The actual pattern of international transactions in the world is a subject which offers an enormous and largely untouched field for systematic study-a very surprisingly untouched field in view of the obvious importance of the questions involved and of the fact that statistics of international trade-despite many difficulties of international comparability-have long been among the most complete and coherent of all numerical economic data. The purpose of this section is to present some approaches to the study of i t ; this may be done in two parts-first, some attention will be given to the measurement and the explanation of the very different extents to which different countries depend on international trade, and then some aspects of the world trade pattern, or parts of it, will be examined. The second part of this enquiry is to be taken as an experiment in technique and its numerical results as illustrations of what might be done by more extensive investigations, rather than as an analysis of even the main structure of the vast web of international commerce. There should not, however, be any need to apologise for it on that account.