The international community has another chance to solidify the global market economy that collapsed with the outbreak of World War I. Yet, writes Gilpin, the full implications of this historic development for international affairs are not yet clear. Will socialist economies make a successful transition to market-type economies? What role will a dynamic China play in the world economy? Will the United States continue to exercise leadership or gravitate toward self-centered policies? Gilpin explores such questions along with problems in the areas of trade liberalization, multinational corporations, and destabilizing financial flows. He also investigates the struggles of less developed countries and the spread of economic regionalism, particularly in Europe, North America, and Pacific Asia, which directly threatens an open world economy.
The author maintains that global capitalism and economic globalization have rested and must continue to rest on a secure political foundation. However, this foundation has eroded since the end of the Soviet threat. To ensure survival of the global economy, Gilpin concludes, the United States and other major powers must recommit themselves to working together to rebuild its weakened political foundations.