International Organizations and the Analysis of Economic Policy, 1919-1950

By Anthony M. Endres; Grant A. Fleming | Go to book overview

1
Economics and Policy in International
Organizations: Introduction

PROLOGUE: A PERSPECTIVE ON THE LITERATURE

In the early twentieth century, John A. Hobson's Toward International Government (1915) reflected hopefully on the prospects for realizing the ideal of a “world community” or of “a society of nations” through the creation of an international organization. That organization would subordinate national advantage to the idea of international cooperation – an idea that Hobson did not fully articulate. Hobson could not have foreseen the evolution of international organizations committed to economic and social cooperation among nations over the twentieth century and the increasingly active role in international affairs that such organizations were to play from the creation of the League of Nations (LON) in 1919 onward.1

There are now available a plethora of institutional and organizational histories expatiating on the functions and influences of international organizations in the twentieth century.2 Some recent studies have proceeded beyond recounting the history of administrative structures and functions to analyzing the nature, scope, and history of international economic cooperation – treating cooperation in connection with a flow of episodes, events, economic crises, and policy responses.3 An abundant literature written by economists has focussed attention on:

____________________
1
We mostly employ the term international organization in this book and regard it as synonymous with international agency, transnational institution, and supranational institution. All these terms are taken to refer to the institutional structures of intergovernmental or nongovernmental organizations. This broad usage is consistent with literature in the now specialized field of international organization. See Taylor (1990) and Willetts (1990).
2
See, for example, Groom and Taylor (1990); Hill (1946); Luard (1966); Northedge (1986); and Walters (1952).
3
Several studies in the field of international monetary cooperation stand out. See Horsefield (1969) and James (1996).

-1-

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