Of Nails and Needles: A Reconsideration of the Political Economy of Canadian Trade.


  • Paul Kellogg Trent University




The hegemonic view in Canadian political economy is that Canada’s trade profile is weighted towards the export of unprocessed products, and away from manufactured products. With the soaring value of Canadian energy exports, combined with an import history weighted towards the import of finished manufactured goods, left nationalist political economy seems to be on strong footing painting a picture of an economy with an underdeveloped manufacturing sector. This article will empirically re-examine Canada’s trade profile, question some common assumptions about what constitutes ‘manufactured’ exports, and argue that Canada’s trade profile is perfectly compatible with that of an advanced capitalist economy. Left nationalism has mistakenly relied on categories appropriate to dependent economies, categories inappropriate for Canada. A Marxist approach reveals an economy with a more or less developed ‘home market’ economy, where the ‘self-expansion of value’ is directed towards the Canadian capitalist class, not away from it, as would be expected in a dependent economy.

Author Biography

Paul Kellogg, Trent University

Paul Kellogg, Ph.D. (Queen’s), M.A. (York) teaches in the Department of International Development Studies at Trent University. Recent publications include “Regional Integration in Latin America: Dawn of an Alternative to Neoliberalism?” New Political Science, Vol. 29, No. 2, June 2007 pp. 187-209 and “Kari Levitt and the Long Detour of Canadian Political Economy” Studies in Political Economy 76, Autumn, 2005, pp. 31-60.