Document Type


Publication Date

April 2000

Journal or Book Title

Review of International Political Economy






Over the last century there has been a fundamental change in the economic orientation of industrially advanced democracies, and this has had a pervasive impact on both their macroeconomies and their international economic relations. Put more starkly, changing expectations about prosperity and the role of government as an economic guardian have fundamentally reshaped the economic geography of the world economy. In humorous tone, it might even be called a cowardly new world, one in which societies refuse to brave the vagaries of unrestrained markets. This argument presents an alternative to traditional explanations of economics processes and relations in which scholars have studied changes very narrowly and have conceived of them as independent from one another. This article looks at these processes and relations as comprising “economic plates”: i.e., phenomena that are fundamentally linked so that they can be influenced in toto. Macroeconomic processes and international economic relations do occupy the same fundamental plate, and the plate has made significant shifts over the past century as a result of strong underlying forces in the form of changing orientations regarding peoples’ economic fates and governments’ relation to the market.