Scholars and statesmen have debated the influence of international commerce on war and peace for thousands of years. Over the centuries, analysts have generally treated the questions "Does international commerce influence security?" and "Do trade flows influence security?" as synonymous.
In Producing Security, Stephen Brooks maintains that such an overarching focus on the security "implications of trade once made sense but no longer does. Trade is no longer the primary means of organizing international economic transactions; rather, where and how multinational corporations (MNCs) organize their international production activities is now the key integrating force of global commerce.
MNC strategies have changed in a variety of fundamental ways over the past three decades, Brooks argues, resulting in an increased geographic dispersion of production across borders. The author shows that the globalization of production has led to a series of shifts in the global security environment. It has a differential effect on security relations, in part because it does not encompass all countries and industries to the same extent. The book's findings indicate that the geographic dispersion of MNC production acts as a significant force for peace among the great powers. The author concludes that there is no basis for optimism that the globalization of production will promote peace elsewhere in the world. Indeed, he finds that it has a net negative influence on security relations among developing countries.