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Remaking U.S. Trade Policy

From Protectionism to Globalization

Nitsan Chorev

Publication Year: 2007

The emergence of globalization was neither accidental nor inevitable. To make the "free flow" of commodities, capital, and money possible, governments first had to introduce a new political infrastructure. In Remaking U.S. Trade Policy, Nitsan Chorev focuses on trade liberalization in the United States from the 1930s to the present as she explores the political origins of today's global economy.

The ability of the U.S. government to impose its preferences on other governments is an important part of the story of globalization, but what is central to Chorev's analysis is understanding why the nation's leaders supported trade liberalization in the first place. For Chorev, the explanation lies in domestic political struggles. Advocates of free trade prevailed in the struggle with protectionists by working to change the institutions governing trade policy, replacing institutional arrangements that favored protectionism with new ones that favored a free-market approach.

The new institutional arrangements shifted authority from a protectionist Congress to liberal agencies at the executive branch and to the World Trade Organization. These transformations entailed a move from a politicized location, in which direct negotiations and debates dominate the process of decision-making, to bureaucratic and judicial arenas where a legal logic dominates and the citizens have little voice.

Published by: Cornell University Press


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pp. 1-2

Title Page, Copyright

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pp. 3-8


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pp. vii-viii

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pp. ix-xii

Globalization is an economic event, one that is pushing capitalism to its technological, geographical, and cultural extremes. The premise of this book, however, is that economic transformations require a political infrastructure. ...

Abbreviations for Archival Documents

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pp. xiii-xiv

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Chapter One. The Politics of Globalization

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pp. 1-18

One of the initial and persistent images of the current process of globalization has been the free flow of commodities across borders.1 Rather than national producers providing for domestic consumers, economic globalization entails a radical increase in the consumption of commodities produced elsewhere. ...

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Chapter Two. Institutions in Domestic and International Politics

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pp. 19-39

Globalization is (also) a political project. The formation and development of the global economy have entailed political struggles over the rules governing global economic activity. Of great importance were political struggles over the institutional reorganization of states and international organizations. ...

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Chapter Three. Selective Protectionism, 1934–74

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pp. 40-68

The United States was not always a champion of free trade principles. Rather, throughout the nineteenth and the early twentieth centuries the U.S. government faithfully adhered to the demands of its protectionist farmers and manufacturers and kept tariffs systematically high. ...

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Chapter Four. The Origins of Conditional Protectionism

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pp. 69-103

Selective protectionism survived for forty years, but the economic recession of the late 1960s led to its demise. Because of the new economic conditions, many manufacturing industries faced stiff international competition and turned protectionist. ...

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Chapter Five. Conditional Protectionism, 1974–94

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pp. 104-148

In the previous chapter I showed that the Trade Act of 1974 intended to weaken protectionism. But was the plan successful? Could the modified trade remedy laws curb protectionism? Many trade scholars characterize the 1980s in the United States as a period of “new” protectionism, ...

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Chapter Six. Legalized Multilateralism, 1994–2004

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pp. 149-194

The process of trade liberalization in the United States is a story of political struggles and institutional shifts, both at the domestic and the international levels. Until the 1990s, the more challenging site of struggle for U.S. protectionist industries was at the domestic level. ...

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Conclusion: Globalization as an Institutional Project

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pp. 195-210

In the previous chapters I offered an account of the evolution of free-trade policies and practices in the United States. I showed how changes in the institutional arrangements in place caused a gradual shift toward free trade by substantively transforming the matrix of influence of state and nonstate actors. ...


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pp. 211-232


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pp. 233-243

E-ISBN-13: 9780801460456
Print-ISBN-13: 9780801445750

Page Count: 256
Publication Year: 2007

Edition: 1