The evolving world economy: some alternative security questions for Australia

Author/s (editor/s):

Richard A. Higgot

Publication year:


Publication type:

Policy paper

Canberra Papers on Strategy and Defence No. 51

Australia's position in the global economic order has undergone a process of dramatic transition over the last decade of so. This transition has implications with both economic and politico-strategic dimensions. Yet the linkage between these two dimensions has not been as well understood by scholars or practitioners as it should have been. This monograph attempts to provide a partial correction to this inadequacy. It details three key issues in contemporary international economic relations: (i) the nature of structural as opposed to relational power; (ii) the 'New Mercantilism'; (iii) the growth of Strategic Trade Policy; and considers their policy implications for Australia in the late 1980s and early 1990s. 

The monograph concludes that the 'golden years' of the economic stability from the end of World War II to the early 1970s need to be seen as an historical deviant rather than the norm and that Australian foreign policy makers need to plan for a system which, whilst not devoid of multilateral trading instruments, will continue to evolve towards the more aggressively mercantilist end of a liberal mercantilist spectrum, and in which the saliency of the economic dimension of Australia's foreign relations will continue to rise.

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