One Voice or Many? Federalism and International Trade

One Voice or Many? Federalism and International Trade

One Voice or Many? Federalism and International Trade

One Voice or Many? Federalism and International Trade

Synopsis

Sager's research considers the international roles of the states and challenges traditional views of federalism by revealing that conflict and cooperation exist simultaneously in a spectrum of relations ranging from autonomy to synergy. The relationship between these two levels of government is situational and varies depending on whether or not the policy goals are shared and depending on the broader foreign policy goals of the federal government. To support her conclusions Sager interviews state and federal officials and surveys 25 state international trade offices, legislation to implement NAFTA and the Uruguay round of GATT, and a Supreme Court case challenging a Massachusetts law establishing a state-level foreign policy position.

Excerpt

In recent years, the demise of the nation state has been heralded with increasing frequency as country after country has faced new challenges from without and within. On the one hand, individual nations acting alone are simply too small to deal effectively with a growing list of global problems. Resource and environmental problems that might once have been addressed locally or nationally, such as the regulation of ocean fisheries and responses to global air pollution, now demand solutions on an international scale. in security matters, the rise of transnational terrorist networks has called forth new and broader forms of international security cooperation. Similarly, on trade and economic issues, nations are ceding more and more authority to new supranational institutions, such as the World Trade Organization and the European Union.

While international cooperation deepens and transnational organizations grow stronger, powerful centrifugal forces are affecting many nations as well. Increasingly, overburdened and often unresponsive central governments are facing powerful demands for greater regional self-governance. the resulting push for greater local autonomy and policy devolution is strengthening existing sub-national entities and creating pressures to establish new ones. Paradoxically, many of the same economic forces that are breaking down national trade barriers and propelling economic globalization are also promoting economic decentralization. Regional attributes, such as specialized economic networks and swifter decision-making, are gaining competitive advantage over the eroding capabilities of central governments to manage their economies and mobilize resources. At the same time, political forces, such as ethnic identification and a growing desire for local self-determination, are further eroding central authority in many nations around the world, prompting even the breakup of some established countries into smaller, more homogenous entities.

This global pattern of renegotiating administrative, authoritative, and functional relationships between central and regional governments . . .

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