THE POWER OF NATIONS: The Political Economy of International Relations by Klaus Knorr

THE POWER OF NATIONS: The Political Economy of International Relations

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This textbookish volume is ""in the old tradition of political economy""--examining ""all conditions that affect the wealth and power of organized societies and the policy options of their governments."" Professor Knorr's new book turns out to be largely an expansion of his 1973 Power and Wealth with some chapters about imperialism, neocolonialism, etc., tacked on. The revisions are incomplete: the book does not always remember that Britain is now in the Common Market, for example. Nevertheless, it is valuable if read with patience. Knorr's emphasis is on soft speaking, carrot-dangling, and indirect blackmail. Though he makes frequent references to relationships between the advanced and underdeveloped sectors--denying the existence of imperialist domination as far as possible--his soundest paradigms deal with the Soviet Union and Western Europe. As in Power and Wealth, he rightly insists that material assets and weaponry do not equal actual military power and political influence. From this commonsensical notion, elaborated with surveys of economic resources and military craft, he describes how a great power--presumably the U.S.S.R.--can be manipulated, and also how ""public opinion"" must always be considered by ""the elites"" as they weigh formal options--though often ""advantaged groups,"" he observes with sang-froid, are able to carry off maneuvers like economic boycotts which may hurt the population at large. International relations is often a dull subject because it leaves out economic factors and military constraints; Knoff's anti-Communist commitment and his allegiance to the American ""elite"" color his analyses, but do not detract from the actuality of the ploys he outlines. An adequate introduction to the contingencies that make arsenals, trade deals and ultimatums into weapons.

Pub Date: July 25th, 1975
Publisher: Basic Books