Peace, Prosperity, and Politics

Peace, Prosperity, and Politics

Peace, Prosperity, and Politics

Peace, Prosperity, and Politics


As we enter a new century, world affairs have been transformed. The leading countries confront no compelling or immediate major threats of a military sort; they all see the world in essentially the same way; there has been an enormous expansion of international trade and economic interconnections; and rapid technological expansion has facilitated international interconnections that substantially skirt standard political arrangements. This makes possible a reallocation of national effort from security to material concerns and a reasonable prospect for an unparalleled era of prosperity and peace. But less benign forces also persist. Ethnic conflict continues to plague the world, and a new challenge to the international order could be launched by an emergent or resurgent state. Moreover, the positive prospects of the global economy are not yet available for all nations. In result, politics - political choice - remains important. In this book, a group of political scientists, economists, and historians assess these important developments. They agree that important historical changes are occurring in international politics, but they differ in their perspectives and proffer different speculations about the new era and about the consequences of the emerging relationship between politics and economics. They also vary in the degree to which they are optimistic or pessimistic about the way things appear to be going.


Deepak Lal

If a Rip van Winkle had gone to sleep at the end of about 1870 and woken up in the last few years, he would find that little has changed in the world economy. He would note the various technological advances in transportation and communications (airlines, telephones, and the computer) have further reduced the costs of international trade and commerce and led to the progressive integration of the world economy which was well under way after the first Great Age of Reform, when he went to sleep.

The terrible events of this century--two world wars, the Great Depression, and the battles against two illiberal creeds--Fascism and Communism--which led to the breakdown of the first liberal international economic order (LIEO)--created under British leadership after the repeal of the Corn Laws--would form no part of his memory. Nor would the various and varying fads in economic policy-both national and international--during this century make any sense (e.g. exchange controls), the use of quotas rather than tariffs as instruments of protection, centralized planning and associated controls on production and distribution, and restrictions on the free flow of capital.

Having read his De Tocqueville he would also not be surprised that the United States and Russia had become great powers in the latter part of this century. Nor, that it took the United States nearly a century to become the predominant power, just as it took Great Britain nearly a century from the mid-eighteenth-century conflict with France till the end of the Napoleonic Wars to achieve its predominance. His reading of De . . .

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