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The Challenge of Global Capitalism:
The World Economy in the 21st Century
Robert Gilpin
With a new preface by the author

Winner of the 2000 Award for Best Professional/Scholarly Book in Government and Political Science, Association of American Publishers

Paperback | 2002 | $52.50 | £44.95 | ISBN: 9780691092799
408 pp. | 6 x 9 1/4 | 12 line illus. 3 tables
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Many individuals proclaim that global capitalism is here to stay. Unfettered markets, they argue, now drive the world, and all countries must adjust, no matter how painful this may be for some. Robert Gilpin, author of the widely acclaimed Political Economy of International Relations (Princeton, 1987), urges us, however, not to take an open and integrated global economy for granted. Rather, we must consider the political circumstances that have enabled global markets to function and the probability that these conditions will continue. Gilpin's new book amounts to a magisterial inquiry into all major aspects of the contemporary world political economy. Beginning with the 1989 end of the Cold War and the subsequent collapse of communism, it focuses on globalization and rapid technological change and covers a broad sweep of economic developments and political cultures. Gilpin demonstrates the fragility of a global and integrated economy and recommends what can be done to strengthen it.

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.


"One of the many virtues of Robert Gilpin's wide-ranging book is its deep sense of history. The Challenge of Global Capitalism is an exemplary guide to the geo-strategic environment in which world markets operate."--John Gray, Times Literary Supplement

"A comprehensive take on this new world of economic conflict . . . [Gilpin] understands . . . that the wheels may be coming off the post-cold-war roller coaster that the United States rode to great heights in the 1990's."--David E. Sanger, The New York Times Book Review

"Better than any other recent book, [this book] shows that globalization rests squarely on an aging security order binding the great powers together. If these alliances erode and are replaced with more ambiguous--and even rival--strategic relations, all bets are off . . . The question that Gilpin's book brilliantly poses is whether globalization's upheaval will result in a more inclusive and responsive set of international rules and institutions or whether it signals a more dangerous breakdown."--G. John Ikenberry, Foreign Affairs

"A sweeping survey of today's international economy and the tensions that are threatening and eroding its stability. Gilpin's vast knowledge of politics, economics, and technology are all convincingly on display here."--Ethan B. Kapstein--Civilization

"This work is truly important . . . for the validation it gives to criticism of the political and social consequences of global capitalism."--Virginia Quarterly Review

"A masterful and original contribution to contemporary scholarly debates. . . . Gilpin's new study could not be more timely. This sophisticated exploration of the fragility of political support for an open world economy and of the conditions that could bring the 'Second Great Age' to an end is much more than required reading for our students."--Louis W. Pauly, Journal of Politics


More Endorsements

Table of Contents:

List of Illustrations vii
Acknowledgments ix
List of Abbreviations Xi
INTRODUCTION The Fragile Global Economy 3
CHAPTER ONE The Second Great Age of Capitalism 15
CHAPTER TWO The Cold War International Economy 52
CHAPTER THREE The Insecure Trading System 88
CHAPTER FOUR The Unstable Monetary System 114
CHAPTER FIVE Global Financial Vulnerability 134
CHAPTER SIX Age of the Multinational 163
CHAPTER SEVEN European Regional Integration 193
CHAPTER EIGHT American Economic Strategy 227
CHAPTER NINE Asian Regionalism 265
CHAPTER TEN Globalization and Its Discontents 293
CHAPTER ELEVEN Managing the Global Economy 325
Notes 359
Select Bibliography 365
Index 371

This book has been translated into:

  • Italian
  • Chinese (Complex)
  • Romanian
  • Portuguese (Brazil)
  • Spanish
  • Ukrainian

Other Princeton books authored or coauthored by Robert Gilpin:

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File created: 7/11/2017

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