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In a peripheral rural area like the Pyrenees, it is necessary to promote local resources, which can be converted in value-added activities with comparative advantages in relation with other areas. The Comparative Advantage Theory and Second-Best Option (SBO) methodology are presented here. Each local territory can develop activities or services, even though there are other places that may be more suitable for them, when these are the best specialization option for this territory. The idea of SBO methodology means engaging in activities that make it possible to achieve a comparative advantage. Four cases are discussed: a) transformation of dairy products into competitive value-added commodities; b) promotion of extensive cattle farming based on local natural grass feed; c) development of value-added tourist activities linked to local landscape; and d) planning value-added cultural activities related with cultural heritage.
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This paper puts forth a new scholarly approach to trade negotiations, for practitioners of international agreements, or simply to business students attempting to understand Ricardian trade theory. The paper hypothesizes that matrices can provide a simpler conceptual framework for considering Ricardo’s comparative advantage, especially when multiple goods and multiple countries are involved, in order to determine which countries should produce which goods. Numerous theoretical examples are presented, singularly, and jointly, as are different possible flaws and assumptions, additional applications, and alternative uses of the matrices, such as employing matrices to increase production of certain goods needed during crises or shortages. The article also argues that “terms of trade” should not be “assumed” in trade models but be based upon indifference curves, and addresses other influencing factors such as neoclassical changes in utility or in production. Found valid, the paper applies this method of trade simplification to pressing international situations, the question of “Brexit,” the sobriquet for the United Kingdom’s effort to withdraw from the European Union, which creates interesting possibilities for new trade deals, and the renegotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). The conclusion conceptually compares bilateral and multilateral trade, singularly, and with all countries together.
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