Economic Interdependence and Global Governance
This chapter surveys US engagement with the responsibilities of international economic governance, responsibilities that the United States began to assume from the 1930s, after a false start in the 1920s. It explains the connections between US foreign policy in general and US foreign economic policy in particular. The Bretton Woods institutions of 1944 formalized a new era of rules-based global governance, in which the United States took a central role. This new era endured until the early 1970s, when it broke down as a result of relative decline in US capacities. No new system of rules-based governance emerged, a failure that the chapter attributes to the thickening interdependence of the United States with the world economy in a new era of globalization. Intensifying interdependence, the chapter argues, increases the domestic costs associated with the performance of hegemonic responsibilities and makes unlikelier the orchestration of hegemonic leadership. The mid-twentieth-century heyday of US responsibility coincided, conversely and somewhat paradoxically, with a phase of relative US disengagement from the larger global economy.
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