U.S. Politics and the Global Economy: Corporate Power, Conservative Shift

By Ronald W. Cox; Daniel Skidmore-Hess | Go to book overview

2
The Postwar Political Economy

In this book we advance a business conflict approach to understand the dynamics of U.S. foreign policy in the post—World War II period. The approach builds upon a scholarly tradition that has emphasized the interplay between global and domestic business interests and the U.S. government in the construction of international institutions during the postwar period. In order to explain key transitions in U.S. foreign policy, we develop an alternative terminology that differs from traditional conceptual models used in international relations and political science. We argue that the use of terms such as “state, ” “national interest, ” and “interest group” have tended to obscure the relationship between competing business interests and U.S. foreign policy officials. 1

We offer a conceptual approach that borrows from a venerable tradition of political economy to shed light on the interaction of private and public actors in the international arena. Our contribution is to extend the approach of a business conflict model to an extensive study of major transitions in U.S. foreign policy, including the construction of a Bretton Woods financial regime, which provided the structural foundations for the postwar relations between the United States and Western Europe. The construction of this regime was closely linked to trade and national security policy during the early years of its formulation. Most important, the interaction between competing business groups and U.S. policymakers shaped the development of the Bretton Woods financial regime in such a manner that it cannot be adequately conveyed by previous theories of the evolution of that regime. 2 It is this pattern of interaction that we label “business conflict.”

To convey the links between business actors and political institutions, at both the U.S. nation-state and global levels, we have supplemented the traditional use of “state” and “interest group” with “interest blocs, ” defined as the interlocking relationships between policymakers and business elites in the construction of a global financial and trade regime during the

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U.S. Politics and the Global Economy: Corporate Power, Conservative Shift
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page *
  • Contents v
  • Introduction - A Critical-Historical Perspective on Globalization 1
  • 1 - The New Deal and Liberal Hegemony 17
  • Notes 33
  • 2 - The Postwar Political Economy 37
  • Notes 62
  • 3 - Business Conflict and Cold War Ideology 67
  • Notes 99
  • 4 - Liberal Globalization in the 1960s 105
  • Notes 132
  • 5 - The End of Bretton Woods 137
  • Notes 157
  • 6 - The Reagan Revolution 161
  • Notes 197
  • 7 - Conclusion: the 1990s and Beyond 203
  • Notes 219
  • Acronyms 223
  • Selected Bibliography 225
  • Index 237
  • About the Book 250
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