Introduction. This paper offers a new interpretation of the principles of absolute and comparative advantage. Theoretical analysis. The innovation of this study is its attempt to consider the old theories of international trade as the first models of the spatial economy. During the course of the theoretical research, analysis was performed not only on the semantic content of the referenced hypotheses, but also on the historico-economic and cultural backgrounds of their origins that incorporate in themselves a system of scientific views and values: ideas of natural balanced economic development to which A. Smith and D. Ricardo adhered. Results. As a result, the study has discovered several internal and external contradictions, which limit the explanatory power of the theories of A. Smith and D. Ricardo. The researchers have also determined the factors which allow these models to remain as the mainstream in economic theory and practice for a long time.

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