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The Liberal Illusion

Does Trade Promote Peace?

Katherine Barbieri

Publication Year: 2002

A very important and long-awaited major contribution to the debate . . . Her work cannot be ignored. --Nils Petter Gleditsch, Journal of Peace Research "Barbieri builds on a solid foundation of work on trade and conflict and specifies the conditions under which trade reduces and increases conflict. . . . The bottom line is that this is an important book in the study of trade and conflict because of its comprehensive approach." --Kathy L. Powers, Perspectives on Politics "Barbieri's analysis reveals the fundamental and intellectual weaknesses of the various arguments on this topic. [A] solid and timely contribution to the literature" --Choice The Liberal Illusion sheds light on an increasingly important question in international relations scholarship and the domain of policy making-whether international trade promotes peace. By examining a broad range of theories about trade's impact on interstate relations and undertaking a set of empirical analyses of the trade-conflict puzzle, Katherine Barbieri provides a comprehensive assessment of the liberal view that trade promotes peace. Barbieri's stunning conclusions depart from conventional wisdom in international relations. Consequently, The Liberal Illusion serves as an important counterargument and a warning call to policymakers who rely upon trade-based strategies to promote peace, strategies that appear to offer little hope of achieving their goals.

Published by: University of Michigan Press


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pp. vii

List of Figures

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pp. ix-x

List of Tables

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pp. xi-xii

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pp. xiii-xiv

This book project began nearly a decade ago as research undertaken in my first year of graduate school and continued through my doctoral dissertation. Since that time, the book has changed considerably thanks to the input of countless individuals who have commented on various aspects of my research. Unfortunately, it is dificult to recount all those...

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Chapter 1. Introduction

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pp. 1-16

The natural effect of commerce is to bring about peace. Two nationswhich trade together, render themselves reciprocally dependent; ifthe one has an interest in buying and the other has an interest in sell-It is really difficult to understand the claim of the free-traders who imagine that the more advantageous application of capital will abol-...

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Chapter 2. Theories of the Trade-Conflict Relationship

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pp. 17-42

Before turning to specific propositions about the trade-conflict relationship, I assess the central differences in the theoretical debates that drive the study of international relations. The theoretical perspective one embraces may affect his or her approach to analyzing the trade-conflict relationship. Of course, this fact is not peculiar to this field; scholars rec-...

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Chapter 3. Investigating the Commercial Peace

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pp. 43-78

The theories presented in chapter 2 suggest a number of competing propositions about the trade-conflict relationship. Scholars have begun to apply social-scientific techniques to investigating the relative accuracy of these alternative portrayals of the trade-conflict relationship. However,the evidence produced from such efforts remains limited and mixed....

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Chapter 4. Interdependence, Negotiation, and Escalation

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pp. 79-96

The empirical evidence presented in chapter 3 suggests that interdependent dyads are more likely than others to engage in militarized disputes. Does this mean that liberal assumptions about trade’s pacifying and unifying power are completely unfounded? We know that trade ties fail to prevent the outbreak of militarized conflicts, but the question remains...

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Chapter 5. Alternative Levels of Analysis:The Nation-State and the System

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pp. 97-120

Throughout this study, I have focused on the impact of trade on dyadic relationships in order to look within the international system to determine whether variations in the trade-conflict relationship exist. However, people tend to portray discussions about trade as equally applicable to all relationships, including those between people, classes, communi-...

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Chapter 6. Conclusions

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pp. 121-138

I began this study by posing a few simple questions concerning trade’s impact on interstate relations, with the primary question being. Does trade promote peace? To address this question, I argued that it was necessary to investigate a more spatially and temporally diverse group ofinterstate relations than had previously been considered. In addition, I...

Appendix A. Notes on Trade Data

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pp. 139-148

Appendix B. Major Power Trade

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pp. 149-156


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pp. 157-162


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pp. 163-176

Name Index

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pp. 177-180

Subject Index

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pp. vii

E-ISBN-13: 9780472023073
E-ISBN-10: 0472023071
Print-ISBN-13: 9780472030767
Print-ISBN-10: 0472030760

Page Count: 200
Illustrations: 6 drawings, 19 tables
Publication Year: 2002