Monday, 20 November 2000

From "International Regimes, Transactions, and Change [...]"

By John Gerard Ruggie.

[...] how did such diverse forces come to converge on the single policy response of free trade? In a certain sense, Kindleberger contends, Europe in this period [nineteenth century; esp. 1840-1870?] should be viewed not as a collection of separate economies, but "as a single entity which moved to free trade for ideological or perhaps better doctrinal reasons." [...] The image of the market became an increasingly captivating social metaphor and served to focus diverse responses on the outcome of free trade. And unless one holds that ideology and doctrine exist in a social vacuum, this ascendancy of market rationality in turn must be related to the political and cultural ascendance of the middle classes. In Polanyi's inimitable phrase, "Laissez-faire was planned. . . ." [...]

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