United States Economic Policy and International Relations

By Raymond F. Mikesell | Go to book overview

Preface

THIS BOOK represents an attempt to present both a brief survey and an analysis of the foreign economic policy of the United States. In particular the author has sought to indicate both the domestic economic interests and the political and security motives behind certain major developments in United States international economic policies since World War I. That this is too ambitious a task for one short volume the author is the first to admit. Consequently, he has selected for emphasis those aspects of his subject in which he has some special interest or experience or which he believes have not been adequately dealt with in other treatises on the subject.

Present writers in the field of current international economic problems are likely to be embarrassed both by their conclusions and by their selection of problems by the time they see their material in print. Economists who were writing on the "dollar shortage" or the "dollar gap" or on commodity surpluses a year or so ago have found that many of their problems have been either solved or greatly altered by the time their books or articles were published. One might take some consolation in the often-expressed idea that history repeats itself, but it rarely does so before most people have forgotten what the author has said. Although the first draft of this book was written in the pre-Korean era, the author has had an opportunity to give it something of a post-Korean flavor. Nevertheless, events have moved too rapidly since mid-1950 for an adequate appraisal of the policy developments in the defense period. But history does not move altogether in terms of crises and sharp breaks with the past, as one might suppose by reading newspaper headlines. America's foreign economic policies in the defense period, or even in an all-out war period which may lie ahead, will be molded in large measure from the materials of the past. It is with this in mind that the author hopes that an analysis of America's foreign economic policies in the immediate past will have relevance for those who will be reading somewhat different headlines in the future.

A debt of gratitude is due those who have read all or parts of the manuscript and have given the author the benefit of their comments. These include Antonin Basch, Henry J. Bittermann, William Adams Brown, Jr., Isaiah Frank, Ervin Hexner, Gardner Patterson, J. J. Polak, Alex Rosenson, Robert L. Sammons, and John Parke Young. Finally,

-vii-

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