Economic Change in the International System: Implications for Australia’s Prospects

IR Working Paper 1989/5

Author/s (editor/s):

Stuart Harris

Publication year:


Publication type:

Working paper

Find this publication at:
IR Working Paper 1989/5

Stuart Harris, ‘Economic Change in the International System: Implications for Australia’s Prospects’, IR Working Paper 1989/5, Canberra: Department of International Relations, Research School of Pacific Studies, Australian National University, December 1989.

This paper looks at the prospective changes in the international trading and financial system in the 1990s. It argues that that system will be subjected to three pressures. The first will be that of greater nationalism. This will reflect attempts by participating nation states to regain some of their lost economic sovereignty by increasing protection to their uncompetitive sectors and by entering into discriminatory trading and financial arrangements.

Against this will be the pressure of internationalisation. This reflects the global nature of the financial and service sectors, the rapid shifts in comparative advantage and the ease of capital and technology flows internationally. A further pressure will be that of regionalism, which could contribute either to nationalist or an internationalist outcome. All of these will imply a rapidity of change and a need for flexibility and adaptiveness in the 1990s. The paper doubts whether the implications of those changes and the associated needs are sufficiently understood as yet in Australia.

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