According to standard economic theory and modelling, liberalizing agriculture will result in important welfare gains. Because of price volatility, an alternative model, based in general disequilibrium in the Wicksellian tradition, provides much less optimistic conclusions, actually supported by the recent evolution of the world agricultural system, as well as by the history of the many attempts of agricultural trade liberalization since the 18th century.
Introduction�I. What can be Expected from the Liberalization of Agricultural Trade?: Ricardo's Parable; Risk Aversion; The Law of Large Numbers and Market Stabilization�II. Theoretical Criticism of Agricultural Liberalism: Galiani; The Notion of Demand Elasticity; Algebraic Expressions of the Cobweb Theorem�III. The Test of Facts�IV. Designing an Economic Model for International Trade: The CES Function; "First-order Conditions"; The LES Function and Consumer Behavior; The GTAP Database�V. How can Theory and History be Introduced in a Standard Model?: The Markowitz Model�VI. A Choice of Results�VII. Could We Do Better?: The Algebra of Futures Markets�VIII. Recent Developments�Conclusion