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This thesis deals with two theories of international trade: the theory of comparative advantage, which is connected to the name David Ricardo and is dominating current trade theory, and Adam Smith’s theory of absolute advantage. Both theories are compared and their assumptions are scrutinised. The former theory is rejected on theoretical and empirical grounds in favour of the latter. On the basis of the theory of absolute advantage, developments of free international trade are examined, whereby the focus is on trade between industrial and underdeveloped countries. The main conclusions are that trade patterns are determined by absolute production cost advantages and that the gap between developed and poor countries is not reduced but rather increased by free trade.