PROSPERITY AND UPHEAVAL: The World Economy 1945-1980 by Herman van der Wee

PROSPERITY AND UPHEAVAL: The World Economy 1945-1980

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Another brief for the equivalent of a global incomes policy. The sixth entry in a series on the world's 20th-century economic history, van der Wee's tedious text is an unabashed pitch for a new international economic order, i.e., one that blends free enterprise and interventionist government. In support of his stand, the author offers a lengthy reprise of how the world's economic and monetary institutions worked (or failed to) from the end of WW II through 1980. He's partisan in his audit of the market system's putative failure to adapt to the emergence of regional blocs and non-tariff trade barriers during the 1970's. He acknowledges the contributions to economic growth of technological innovation and the effective employment of fiscal policy as well as accommodations labor which resulted in capital's acceptance of the welfare state (in return for largely unchallenged investment authority). The priority item on his reformist agenda, though, is greater integration and centralized management of discrete but increasingly interdependent economies. Sooner rather than later, he asserts, the industrialized West must accept a new order if it is to have a future. As a practical matter, a world which can't achieve effective consensus on such vital matters as a law of the sea won't find it easy to agree on a supranational authority with economic planning powers. Equally dubious is the prospect that multinational corporations would submit to the control of such an agency. In the absence of particulars on what might replace the ""spent force"" of Western ideology, non-disciples of utopian economic theory have little reason to pay this lengthy exercise serious attention.

Pub Date: Sept. 1st, 1986
Publisher: Univ. of California Press