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Economic Policies In The Interwar Period And The Post World War Two Period

1878 words - 8 pages

1914 marked a critical turning point in global affairs and the economy, as the destruction of the Great War not only physically affected millions of people, but it also destroyed the system of global capitalism which existed prior to 1914. During the interwar period, American isolationism from international trade and affairs left the major powers without the infrastructure or leadership to continue the international trade, investment, and currency stabilization which existed before 1914. As a result, the major powers continued their “great power rivalry,” which inhibited global cooperation and resulted in countries adopting nationalist policies to achieve their goal of stable growth and more equitable distribution of wealth (Frieden, 154). After World War Two, the United States emerged as the global leader, and influenced most of the major powers to reorganize their economic policies to promote growth and equality through multinational collaboration, global trade, currency stability, and foreign investments. In both periods, the major powers enacted economic policies to promote stable economic growth and equitable nationwide sharing of the profits from the growth; however, the outcomes were influenced by crucial differences in the levels of United States involvement, economic nationalism, and trade barriers and collaboration.
Before World War I, countries’ economic policies promoted interdependence and global trade. However, the Great War destroyed the financial infrastructure for interdependence which existed prior to 1914, and promoted America into the role of the world’s “financial, commercial, and diplomatic” leader. After the Great War, the “European powers were dependent on the United States . . . to rebuild” (Frieden, 132). However, once the Republicans took control of the U.S. Congress and Administration, U.S. foreign policy became isolationist, and trade protections were increased (Frieden, 139). According to Frieden, “Even if it had wanted to get involved – and it did not - the U.S. administration was prohibited by Congress from official involvement in international discussion of economic (and most other) issues” (144). With the United States no longer involved in global affairs, the other major powers had no leadership to help them rebuild their economies or the infrastructure for financial interdependence. This prompted many of the major powers to develop their economies for nationalist growth, which also created economic rivalry (Frieden, 154).
The rise of organized capitalism, and the growth of large modern corporations, helped fabricate stable nationalist growth and equitable sharing of profits. Large modern corporations inspired technology and social progress, and they also influenced social change such as the growth of labor movements (Frieden, 168-9).With the labor movement, workers could achieve a more equitable sharing of the growth by organizing for better wages. Additionally, large corporations promoted organized...

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