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Can Nations Agree?

Issues in International Economic Cooperation

By Richard N. Cooper, Barry Eichengreen, Gerald Holtham, Robert D. Putnam, and C. Randall Henning

In the age of Three Mile Island and Chernobyl, a new international trade in industrial and human waste, the depletion of the ozone layer, and the greenhouse effect, the importance of international cooperation is supremely evident. In the economic arena, such problems include speculative instability in financial and primary commodities markets, competition in tax regimes, and the greatly enhanced scope for tax evasion. Can Nations Agree? examines the crucial issues surrounding international cooperation– conditions that foster cooperation toward common goals; ways to handle the friction arising from conflicting goals; and the structures that best promote cooperation. Although nations recognize the value of cooperation in an independent world, a variety of conditions inhibit the process. In recent decades the number of independent nations has risen rapidly, and so has the variety of decisionmakers and national interests to be reconciled. At the same time, the economic power of the United States has declined in relation to other successful capitalist countries. In the chapters on the 1978 Bonn economic summit, German macroeconomic policy, international cooperation on public health issues, and hegemony and stability, the scholars contributing to this volume analyze the history and process of international cooperation to offer fresh insight for future efforts.

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