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TheCanadian Review of American Studies, Volume IO,Number I, Spring, 1979 ContinentalPolitical Economy: AnAssessment of Relations Between Canadaand the United States .\nnetteBaker Fox, Alfred 0. Hero, Jr., and Joseph S. Nye, Jr., eds. Canada and the United States: Transnational and Transgovernmental Relatwns.New York and London: Columbia University Press, 1976. 443 + XIIpp. Wallace Clement TheUnited States has had a distorting impact on Canada. Their association hasbeen primarily uni-directional, with the size of the United States (some eleventimes greater in population and even more so in economic clout) over- \\helming any possible equality in the relationship. It is not sufficient, however,to identify the problem simply as one of size; it is also necessary to specifyits dimensions, its causes, its implications and its dynamics. The recent collection of seventeen articles entitled Canada and the United States should prO\ide its readers with some important insights into the nature of their association. In some important ways it does, but fundamentally it fails. All three co-editors of this volume have their primary affiliation with U.S. organizations, but there is no shortage of Canadian contributors, accounting for half the authors. There is, however, a distinct impression conveyedby the collection that the authors are attempting to explain Canada to a United States audience. This impression is reinforced by the fact that the only map contained in the book is that of Canada. Direct investment and resource demands from the United States have been i'fie principle causes of Canada's uneven development since the First World Warand they have placed Canada in a vulnerable position within the world system.\.Many Canadian capitalists have participated in and benefited from thesedistortions, and a good deal of the policy-setting by the Canadian state has encouraged and facilitated this external domination. While the primary attention of most research has been upon the economic side of this distortion, 78 Wallace Clement it is also evident in the social, cultural, political and military domains. This is not a perspective shared by most of the authors in the present collection . They tend to present the relationship between Canada and the United States as a relatively equal one, whereby each benefits through its association with the other. They admit that there are problems and conflicts to be sure, but they suggest that these can be resolved (and are resolved) in an equitable manner to the mutual satisfaction of the nations through political intervention . As will soon be evident, I am in disagreement with this position. Onthe other hand, I am also of the opinion that too much of the commentary (not that gathered in this collection) errs in the opposite direction, presenting Canada simply as an economic victim. There Canada plays the role of the innocent and the United States the villain. This is far too simple. There aretoo many important class divisions and international mediations to reduce the relationship to one of good versus evil. Many Canadians in the economic, political, labor and cultural domains have been integral to mediating the impact of the United States in all spheres of Canadian life. Contrary to either view, I would argue that the actors in both Canada and the United States have responded to the possibilities created by the politicaleconomic system under which they live. To understand the relationship between Canada and the United States on any level, it is necessary to begm with the political economy of the continental system and to situate studies of specific issues and behavior within this context. Indeed, I would argue thisi~ I an imperative first step. 1 I In both the introductory essay by Koehane and Nye and the concluding one 1 by Fox and Hero, the editors express a desire to move away from the "statecentric " bias characteristic of most studies of international relations. Dis- ' appointingly, with a few impressive exceptions, the thrust of the collection remains focused upon state relations. Most of the book is concerned with state: policy and behavior rather than with an analysis of relations occurring inci,1!, society. The dominant tendency is to ignore staples and dependenq approaches, both rooted in the economy but having important implications for other levels, which have contributed much to an understanding...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1710-114X
Print ISSN
0007-7720
Pages
pp. 77-87
Launched on MUSE
2019-01-02
Open Access
No
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