Debora L. Spar
In 1945 Albert Hirschman published National Power and the Structure of Foreign Trade, a pathbreaking examination of the politics of trade. Set amidst the European intrigues of the 1930s, National Power and the Structure of Foreign Trade painstakingly demonstrated how countries could use trade to extract political and economic benefit from their trading partners. For Hirschman and the legion of scholars who followed in his footsteps trade was indeed economic statecraft, the continuation of politics by commercial means. 1 It was a way of advancing state interests and gaining allies; of using the flow of goods and services to create political dependency and enhance state power.
At the turn of the twenty-first century, such arguments seem outdated already, positively quaint in an era marked now by global capitalism and 'boundaryless' firms. 2 Yet despite the undeniable surge of international business, and despite a sweeping embrace of liberal economic policies, there is still more than a touch of relevance to Hirshman's argument and his work. Trade