The Global Debate over the Future World Economy, 1989-1998

Herwig, Meghan, History - Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, University of Virginia
Zelikow, Philip, AS-History (HIST), University of Virginia

This dissertation examines the origins of the 21st century’s open world trade system by focusing on its four building blocks: the European Union, the North American Free Trade Agreement, a Chinese economy plugged into international markets, all capped by a system of multilateral trade rules. Each of these four building blocks emerged in a fairly short span of time, amid heated debates. Why did these four debates arise at the same time? Why did they all (apparently) turn out the same way?
This dissertation re-conceptualizes these four stories as component parts of a single great debate over the future of the world economy. The battle lines were drawn between proponents of economic openness and proponents of economic nationalism. The dissertation traces the progress of this debate in three pivotal regions—Western Europe, the United States, and China—by following a small cast of decision makers. These were by no means the only policymakers engaged in these debates; but they were unique in that they had a vision for their respective economies’ future relationships with the outside world, and they occupied positions that gave them influence over the outcome of the debate.

PHD (Doctor of Philosophy)
world economy, world trade, end of the Cold War, globalization
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