A cutting-edge collection of essays on the critical question of the relationship between economic interdependence and conflict among states
The relationship of interdependence to conflict is one of the oldest questions in the study of international relations. Liberals have long held that, as Cordell Hull once said, "if trade crosses borders, soldiers won't." Realists, on the other hand, point to 1914: despite extensive economic ties, European governments marched to war. This book provides a useful survey of the current status of this old debate. Scholars have only recently begun to explore these questions through rigorous empirical investigation; even so, no consensus has emerged, and the dominant message of this volume is that the relationship is complex and contingent. Mansfield, for example, argues that the effect of trade flows on conflict depends on the institutional context of commerce. Other authors note that domestic economic conditions and the character of states mediate the impact of interdependence: trade can encourage democracy, as it has in China, or stoke the fires of nationalism. Ultimately, this book offers fresh insights but does not settle the basic question.