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Partners in Prosperity

The Report of the Twentieth Century Fund Task Force on the International Coordination of National Economic Policies

By Robert Solomon

In recent years, the relentless globalization of capital and production has made that process less than newsworthy. There likewise is little novelty in the evidence that foreign economic polices can and do influence the economic conditions in the United States. Although the grumbling continues, there is now fairly widespread acceptance of the inevitability of the internationalization of commerce. Since the world has every reason to expect real benefits from growth in trade, this public acceptance of the rapid rate of change seems reasonable.

At one time, the United States would have been among the first of the industrial nations to raise an alarm about the unconstrained and largely unregulated immense flows of capital as well as increasingly large concentrations of economic power. This nation does have, after all, a much stronger tradition of resistance to domestic cartelization of business than do many of the other largest economic powers, Germany, and Japan. We also have a tradition of extreme sensitivity to foreign influence over our economy. And even though the rest of the world has been influenced in the foreign policy area, it has been a result of coordinated rates and standards to actually increase economic productivity.

Though the world is not in danger of too much economic coordination; the threat comes rather from allowing events and circumstances to dictate our economic fate. Now as in the past, history will be make by the men and women who create a new framework for striking that delicate but essential balance between commerce and the common good. If the past few years have taught us anything it is not to be shy about the prospect for historic change.

This report focuses on the evolution and future of globalization and the integration of foreign and international economic policy between nation/states. The authors have taken a critical step to better understand and asses what has influenced foreign policy decisions, if any, in the United States and what role will international economic policy issues play in foreign policymaking.

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