Is It Possible to Reconstruct a State?

Is It Possible to Reconstruct a State?

Following a series of events the European Economic Comm

Abstract: This paper examines the reasons for the instability in the world economy in 1930s. First, the main causes are listed and given brief overview of the explanations. The most detailed attention is paid to the Hegemonic Stability Theory, as I believe it provides one of the most comprehensive answers for all the issues of the specified period. I also directly quoted the vision of R.Keynes regarding some of those issues. In conclusion I tried to draw up a parallel with the current realities and point out main lessons from the history and their reflections of the events of 1930s.

Get Help With Your Essay

If you need assistance with writing your essay, our professional essay writing service is here to help!

Find out more

The reason why I chose this essay title is the fact that most of the issues of the specified period are not just still relevant, but they also directly reflect current realities. As the old Kazakh proverb says: “Tamyry zhoktyn – erteni bolmas” (Those who have no rootes [do not treat heritage], have no future). Therefore, it is vital to study the origins of the world crisis of 1930s, as it is often referred to as one of the worst turmoil in the modern world history for its spread, length, and depth. The recent protracted crisis is often compared to it lately.

As any river has lots of springs to start from, the instability of world economy of 1930s started from many fragmented issues and events. The most commonly accepted causes are: the end of the Pax Britannica epoch, the World War I and its consequences, the lack of hegemony from US, the collapse of the gold standard, the chaotic international economic relations in the Interwar period, crash of the liberal approach in economy, the switch to intensified technological advancement in production and etc. The list of the causes can go on and on, due to the variety of visions and approaches to the issue.

There are as much explanations and theories as much causes as listed above and even more. In my opinion, the Theory of Hegemonic Stability (main theorists: C.Kindleberg, R.Gilpin, and S.Krasner) gives the most comprehensive answer for all the issues of the specified period. Under this theory the world order is secured in terms of stability only under a dominant rule of one leading state. Kindleberg directly states that the main reason of the interwar crisis was the lack of will from United States to replace the Great Britain as the hegemonic power. (Kindleberg, 1973).

As it is directly stated in the core books on IPE, throughout the whole nineteenth century Great Britain possessed economic hegemony over the most of the world. According to Kindleberg, not until 1931 was it clear that Britain could not provide the leadership. (1973)

Great Britain’s supremacy leadership was closely associated the openness of international trade and capital movements, with the beginning of globalization of the markets, the rise of first multinational corporations, and the general economic and political stability of that period. World War I resulted in the end of British hegemony and most of the conditions that it had promoted. Soon there was an increase of the protectionism all across the world and further uprise of regional blocs. Foundations of the global economy were eroded by the decline in capital mobility, which finally resulted in the growing economic instability and the depression. So, the overall situation was not so positive for the new hegemon.

‘The cause of this tragic chain of events has often been laid at America’s doorstep. The United States was, at the end of World War I, the world’s strongest economic power. But it steadfastly refused to take on the leadership role that Britain could no longer play. This “irresponsibility” was most vividly exemplified in the minds of many people by the infamous Smoot-Hawley Tariff (1930), which raised the average tax on imports to the United States by about 40 percent. At the beginning of the depression, the United States shut its markets to foreign goods and thus helped propel the world economy into its worst swoon ever. The unwillingness of the United States to coordinate its monetary and currency policies with other countries merely exacerbated the situation. This isolationist posture on the part of the world’s economic hegemon had negative consequences for most other countries and the United States itself.’ (H.Milner, 1998)

As stated above the chaotic economic relations that arose in that period contributed significantly to the destabilization of the world economy. As states Kerry A.Chase, international relations theorists attribute the collapse of the world economy into protectionism and rival trading blocs to global causes such as hegemonic decline, problems of collective action and free riding, or the macroeconomic disturbance of the Great Depression (Kerry A. Chase 2004).

We find that the different currency blocs of the 1930s had very different implications for trade. Sterling area countries traded disproportionately among themselves and with the rest of the world. Gold bloc members, in contrast, did not trade disproportionately with one another or with the rest of the world, reflecting their indiscriminate use of tariffs and quotas to prop up increasingly overvalued currencies, which neutralized any stimulus derived from exchange rate stability. Countries applying exchange controls, despite stabilizing their exchange rates, traded less with one another than their economic characteristics would predict, due to the trade-inhibiting effects of those policies.(Kerry A. Chase 2004).

Also, within the Interwar period happened a crash of former liberal approaches in economy. The economy proved to be incapable to regulate itself under a new circumstances and it finally led to government intervention and creation of new economic model under the theories of R.Keynes, or so called Keynesian revolution. He was among first researchers that stressed on principal difference of new order and incapability of prompt readjustment to it. As he stated in his Economic Possibilities for our Grandchildren (1930): “We are suffering … from the growing-pains of over-rapid changes, from the painfulness of readjustment between one economic period and another. The increase of technical efficiency has been taking place faster than we can deal with the problem of labour absorption; the improvement in the standard of life has been a little too quick; the banking and monetary system of the world has been preventing the rate of interest from falling as fast as equilibrium requires.” (R.Keynes, 1930).

The war debts and associated issues are also constantly mentioned in the literature. Yes, there were winners and there were losers. The contradictious reparation payment system resulted in strive for “jusice”, which further pre-set conditions for escalating into World War II. But were war debts really affecting the economy within the specified period?

‘At the conclusion of World War I, war- related debts were about $12 billion, an amount greater than total U.S. private long-term foreign assets, and equivalent to perhaps 15% of U.S. national income. Every major western country owed some- thing to someone, but on net most of the war debts were owed to the United States by France, Great Britain and Italy; these four countries in turn, were to receive most of the payments by Germany on the reparations account. The largest single net creditor was the United States. The largest single net debtor was Germany. The heated and lengthy economic debate about war-related debts, conducted in the context of passionate moral and political disputes, produced two distinct strains of thought: one was the well-known discussion of transfer; the other, less adequately incorporated into the literature, held that the war-related debts critically disrupted the international financial system, possibly started the depression, and probably aggravated it.

No simple, direct line can be drawn, however, from war-related debts to world economic activity: payments on war- related debt were made in the 1920’s with no obvious adverse effect on economic activity; payments were cancelled in the 1930’s with no obvious beneficial effect on economic activity. Accordingly, most accounts of the world depression center on elements other than war-related debts (H.Fleising),

Find out how can help you!

Our academic experts are ready and waiting to assist with any writing project you may have. From simple essay plans, through to full dissertations, you can guarantee we have a service perfectly matched to your needs.

View our services

The failure of the gold standard was also one of the reasons for the world crisis of 1930s. Why? Natalia Chernyshoffa, states that gold had emerged as the dominant monetary regime of its time and as a robust nominal anchor. She goes further and states: “The claim was made that it helped to promote international trade and investment, and the data now back it up. Small wonder, then, that after the violent disruptions of World War One the world anchored again to gold in the 1920s. Unfortunately, despite its past record for stability, the reconstituted gold standard failed; it is now generally thought to have exacerbated volatility and contributed substantially to the Great Depression” (N.Chernysheva, 2009).

In conclusion I would like to draw a parallel to nowadays. For the past ten years there were constant “prophecies” regarding the so-long expected decline of US hegemony and glorious emergence of China as a new world leader. Recent crisis made those claims sound louder, because China is the only country that maintained comparative stability and gradually started turning into the largest creditor. It actively acquires assets worldwide (mostly energy sources, but interested in finance investment as well), plays more dominant role in regional and more active role in international organizations. With some discrepancies, but nevertheless, we might see the New China just as the world saw New US at the beginning of XIX century.

There are also non-stop debates regarding the final emergence of unified Europe, which might overshadow the current US and proposed Chinese dominance. And there is a “smart combination” of all propositions proclaiming the New Order by the triangular US-Europe-China dominance. The same way, back in 1970s there were precautions regarding the rapid rise of Arab OPEC-states backed up by rapid growth of oil prices. As there were precautions regarding the Japan, backed up by its miraculous economic achievements in 1980s. Now the whole fuss is about whether it be China or Europe that would step into US left vacuum…

So, the history teaches us a good lesson: that time passes and all of those propositions regarding the New Ruler of the World either prove in reality or die in dust on the book shelves. Another lesson that was learned well from the history is: that none of the Empires of the Past had repeated their successful fate twice. So, if US would decline sooner or later, and its place gets occupied by the New Hegemon, it is doubtful that US would rise again like Phoenix. And the final and the most relevant to this essay lessons are: a) that the throne never stays vacant for long… b) the period between two rulers (hegemons) is characterised by instability, anarchy and chaos (the worst curse in Chinese is: “I damn you, may you live in chaotic period”)… Therefore, I would conclude that it was natural for US to step forward and replace Great Britain as soon as it was no longer acting as a hegemon in world affairs. But, not willing to bear the full burden of the obligations of the new ruler US did not act like a “real hegemon”. It did not use all of its available “muscles” to stabilize the situation neither in Europe nor in other parts of the world, and in fact, it was not really interested in it. Therefore I would say that the “bad hegemon” is worse than no hegemon at all.

At the end, going back to our days, I would say that regardless of who is going to be a lead nation in future or would US somehow recover soon, it is crucial for my country (Kazakhstan) and for the rest of the world to maintain positive political and economic relations with all of the candidates for the Hegemone’s throne as good as with the existing leader – US (proverb “The old lion can still roar” is still actual). Hegemons rise and fall, crisis come and leave, but life goes on and we have to be flexible under any circumstances…

Economic Possibilities for our Grandchildren

Source: Scanned from John Maynard Keynes, Essays in Persuasion, New York: W. W. Norton & Co., 1963, pp. 358-373.

War-Related Debts and the Great Depression Author(s): Heywood Fleisig Source: The American Economic Review, Vol. 66, No. 2, Papers and Proceedings of the Eighty-eighth Annual Meeting of the American Economic Association (May, 1976), pp. 52-58 Published by: American Economic Association Stable URL:

International Political Economy: Beyond Hegemonic Stability Author(s): Helen V. Milner Source: Foreign Policy, No. 110, Special Edition: Frontiers of Knowledge (Spring, 1998), pp. 112-123 Published by: Washingtonpost.Newsweek Interactive, LLC Stable URL: Accessed: 16/11/2009 03:12

(Natalia Chernyshoff a, David S. Jacks b,c, Alan M. Taylor, Stuck on gold: Real exchange rate volatility and the rise and fall of the gold standard, 1875-1939, Journal of International Economics 77 (2009) 195-205)


unity remained an institution inaccessible for the British government until 1973. At first this was so because Britain had refused to belong to a supranational institution. Eventually, after a change of policies, it saw its application vetoed on two occasions by the French President Charles de Gaulle. To understand fully Britain’s refusal to accept membership to the EEC a short overview of the European Community and Britain’s position vis-à-vis its relationship with Europe will be given. Thereafter, it will be explained why Britain decided to apply for membership as well as the reasons for de Gaulle to veto Britain’s accession in 1963, and again in 1969. It will be concluded that, unlike France, Britain had failed to realise the true potential of the European Community which caused it to not accept membership when it was offered back in the 1950s. It will also be stated that Charles de Gaulle’s dealings within the institution demonstrate the intergovernmentalist theory apropos the centrality of the state.

Get Help With Your Essay

If you need assistance with writing your essay, our professional essay writing service is here to help!

Find out more

The European Economic Community was born out of the Treaties of Rome which were signed on March 25, 1957 in Campidoglio, Rome, and established in January 1958. At its inception it was comprised of the six continental European states – Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, Luxembourg and the Netherlands – that had signed the Treaty of Paris on April 18, 1951 in order to establish the European Coal and Steel Community (ECSC). Both organisations were the result of closer cooperation amongst European states in the aftermath of World War II. The ECSC for instance was created for it was deemed necessary to bind European nation-states – particularly France and Germany – within a supranational institution in order to avert another major conflict. Its aims were also to promote economic prosperity and the construction of a strong Europe capable of resisting the rise of communism (D. Dinan, 2008:21). From the commencement European integration had the full backing of the United States and to some extent the support of the United Kingdom too. Winston Churchill – who was a proponent of European integration before, during and after World War Two – made many speeches were he called for France and Germany to lead Europe.

Winston Churchill’s constant calls for a United States of Europe seemed to infer that he was pro-Europe. Pro-Europe he certainly was but in Europe he indeed was not. Churchill believed that Europe should be built on the American federalist model but that Britain could not be part of it. His country’s position with regards to Europe was made clear in an article published in the Saturday Evening Post in February 1930 in which he stated: “We have our own dreams… We are with Europe but not of it. We are linked but not compromised” (J. G. Plumpton, 1998 – emphasis added). In the aftermath of World War II Churchill reiterated his call for a united Europe during his most famous speech apropos what he called The tragedy of Europe. In his long discourse, delivered in Zurich on September 19, 1946, Churchill proclaimed: “We must build a kind of United States of Europe” (Quoted in B. F. Nelsen et al., 2003:8 – emphasis added). However the use of “we” did not imply that Britain would be an integral part of this new Europe but instead, as was expressed in his speech, it would merely be a friend and sponsor. For as much as Churchill loved singing the praise of a United States of Europe he could have never allowed his dearest country to become a member of a federalist organisation as this would have entailed a pooling of sovereignty. Churchill was not prepared to compromise Britain’s position as a global power; a position which could not be hindered by being linked to any kind of federalist organisations for “if Britain were to merge her identity in a federated Europe to the extent of foregoing an independent foreign and defence policy, she would no longer retain that sovereignty necessary to Commonwealth status” (C. E. Baumann, 1959:353). It was therefore predictable that Britain would decline to become a signatory member of the Treaty of Paris which it viewed as being too supranational.

Britain’s refusal to belong to a supranational institution had led Jean Monnet – one of the founding fathers of the ECSC – to proclaim: “There is one thing you British will never understand: an idea. And there is one thing you are supremely good at grasping: a hard fact. We will have to make Europe without you but then you will have to come in and join us” (G. Stuart, 2003). Monnet’s prediction was very accurate since in August 1961 Britain – along with Denmark, Ireland and Norway – applied to join the European Economic Community. But prior to this first membership application – which was vetoed in 1963 by de Gaulle – Britain fought long and hard to prevent the establishment of the EEC. The hostility between Britain and France began when the British government fell to reach an agreement at the Messina conference.

In June 1955 the “six” invited Britain to attend the Messina conference which was intended to revive European integration through the creation of a European Economic Community and a European Atomic Community. However, Britain withdrew its participation from further talks as it fell to direct the new project in the direction that suited it the most. Britain was opposed to the nature of the integration; it wished for the formation of a free trade area (P.Calvocoressi, 2001:249) while Germany wanted a common market that had been proposed by the Dutch government and France’s interests was for an atomic energy community as well as a common agricultural policy (N. Nugent, 2003:40). During the summer of 1958 Harold Macmillan, the new British Prime Minister, travelled to Paris to meet with Charles de Gaulle to whom he stated that: “The Common Market is the Continental System all over again. Britain cannot accept it. I beg you to give it up. Otherwise, we shall be embarking on a war which will doubtless be economic at first but which runs the risk of gradually spreading into other fields” (Quoted in B. F. Nelsen et al., 2003:41 – emphasis added). Britain fell to prevent the establishment of the EEC and therefore followed suit by forming a European Free Trade Area with Austria, Denmark, Norway, Portugal, Sweden, and Switzerland. EFTA, which was established through the Stockholm convention in September 1959, was Macmillan’s weapon – so to speak – against the newly formed European Community for he hoped that it would “increase pressure on the EEC to reopen negotiations for a free trade area (D. Dinan, 2004:91). Macmillan had hoped that he would have the backing of the United States but this fail to materialise for the US, which viewed the EEC has a more advantageous organisation, “disliked the idea of EFTA” (D. Dinan, 2004:91). To the dismay of Britain, EFTA fell to achieve its goal while on the contrary the EEC became a complete success (P. Calvocoressi, 2001:249).

Following the success of the EEC Britain could not afford to be left out; especially since the establishment of the EEC had “brought France, Germany, and the United States closer together on a range of economic issues and further alienated Britain (D. Dinan, 2004:93).The British Empire could no longer be relied on for it was breaking away from British rule and the US had always wished for Britain to enter the EEC for it felt that Britain would be able to influence the new organisation from within, hence the decision for Britain to change its policy regarding the EEC and apply for membership in August 1961 (J. W. Young et al., 2004:203). At first Charles de Gaulle was willing to consider Britain’s application but negotiations were to turn sour and in January 1963 Britain’s request to join the EEC was vetoed by de Gaulle. De Gaulle’s refusal to allow Britain to enter the EEC was based on his dislike of the American government, and as far as de Gaulle was concerned to allow Britain in the EEC would be allowing a country that he came to view as America’s Trojan horse (P. Calvocoressi, 2001:251). De Gaulle’s fear that Britain would jeopardize the CAP before it was fully implemented could be said to have been his main reason to not let the Britain enter the EEC for de Gaulle was persuaded that once Britain was in the CAP might not survive (D. Dinan, 2004:101). An opportunity to veto Britain’s application came in the form of a deal negotiated between Macmillan and President John F. Kennedy. In 1962 Macmillan agreed to the Nassau agreement which meant a commitment from Britain to purchase Polaris missiles from the United States. De Gaulle, who had refused the deal when it was offered to him (P. Calvocoressi, 2001:253), was then in a position to declare that Britain’s acceptance of the Nassau agreement proved that it favoured its relationship with the United States over Europe (J. W. Young et al., 2004:321) which of course was not compatible with its application for membership to the EEC, hence de Gaulle’s veto of Britain’s application in January 1963.

Find out how can help you!

Our academic experts are ready and waiting to assist with any writing project you may have. From simple essay plans, through to full dissertations, you can guarantee we have a service perfectly matched to your needs.

View our services

Despite the first veto, Britain reapplied for membership in 1967. By then, Harold Wilson – whom belonged to the Labour Party – had become the British Prime Minister and succeeded in convincing his country that, with regards to the British economy, it would be in Britain’s best interest to become member of the EEC (D. Dinan, 2004:109). The British economy was becoming dangerously critical and Wilson hoped to soften de Gaulle by pledging full acceptance of the CAP; however Wilson’s hopes were short lived for de Gaulle found the pretext that Britain could not join the EEC because the state of its economy could pose a risk to the EEC and thus forcing Britain to put its application on hold (D. Dinan, 2004:110-111). However, in 1969 Britain’s accession to the EEC seemed to have become favourable again when de Gaulle appeared predisposed to review Britain’s application. De Gaulle’s meeting with the British Ambassador Christopher Soames indicated his willingness to embrace Britain’s application; but following what seems to be a misunderstanding a diplomatic row erupted for de Gaulle came to completely mistrust the British government when it was believed that “France was offering Britain a place in a European directory of major states in return for the suppression of the EEC and perhaps Nato too” (P. Calvocoressi, 2001:254). Nonetheless, Britain would not be defeated for it gained another chance to enter the EEC when de Gaulle left the French government in 1969 to be succeeded by George Pompidou who then became the new French President. Pompidou’s policy differed from those of de Gaulle which greatly facilitated further European integration. To begin with, in December 1969 Pompidou convened a meeting in The Hague and by January 1972 Britain, Denmark and Ireland had signed treaties that allowed them to become fully pledged members of the EEC in January 1973 (P. Calvocoressi, 2001:254). It should be noted that just as de Gaulle had prior motives to veto Britain’s application to the EEC on two occasions – namely the CAP and his dislike of the US with who Britain enjoyed a special relationship – so did Pompidou. Pompidou hoped that “Britain’s membership would be a counterweight to growing German influence in the EEC” (J. W. Young et al., 2004:322) and thus felt that an enlargement of the EEC would prove favourable for France.

In conclusion it can be said that Britain’s attachment to its sovereignty, as well as its empire and special relationship with the United States, had caused it to “miss the boat” – so to speak – on the opportunity to become part of the EEC from its inception. Because Britain was so focused on its dislike of any kind of supranational institutions it failed to realise that the EEC actually did leave room for manoeuvre. The flexibility of the EEC was seen in the manner Charles de Gaulle used the organisation to achieve the goals he had set for his country. This demonstrates the intergovernmentalist theory that the state remains the primary actor and as stated by Moravcsik: “National governments are able to take initiatives and reach bargains in Council negotiations with relatively little constraint” (Quoted in B. Rosamond, 2000:138).


Most Used Categories

With Our Resume Writing Help, You Will Land Your Dream Job
Resume Writing Service, Resume101
Trust your assignments to an essay writing service with the fastest delivery time and fully original content.
Essay Writing Service, EssayPro
Nowadays, the PaperHelp website is a place where you can easily find fast and effective solutions to virtually all academic needs
Universal Writing Solution, PaperHelp
Professional Custom
Professional Custom Essay Writing Services
In need of qualified essay help online or professional assistance with your research paper?
Browsing the web for a reliable custom writing service to give you a hand with college assignment?
Out of time and require quick and moreover effective support with your term paper or dissertation?