World Politics

Review Article

Phoenix Risen: The Resurrection of Global Finance

Benjamin J. Cohena1*

a1 University of California

John B. Goodman. Monetary Sovereignty: The Politics of Central Banking in Western Europe. Ithaca, N.Y.: Cornell University Press, 1992, 238 pp.

Eric Helleiner. States and the Reemergence of Global Finance: From Bretton Woods to the 1990s. Ithaca, N.Y.: Cornell University Press, 1994, 244 pp.

Ethan B. Kapstein. Governing the Global Economy: International Finance and the State. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1994, 224 pp.

Paulette Kurzer. Business and Banking: Political Change and Economic Integration in Western Europe. Ithaca, N.Y.: Cornell University Press, 1993, 261 pp.

Andrew C. Sobel. Domestic Choices, International Markets: Dismantling National Barriers and Liberalizing Securities Markets. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 1994, 211 pp.


Of all the many changes of the world economy since World War II, few have been nearly so dramatic as the resurrection of global finance. A review of five recent books suggests considerable diversity of opinion concerning both the causes and the consequences of financial globalization, leaving much room for further research. Competing historical interpretations, stressing the contrasting roles of market forces and government policies, need to be reexamined for dynamic linkages among the variables they identify. Likewise, impacts on state policy at both the macro and micro levels should be explored more systematically to understand not just whether constraints may be imposed on governments but also how and under what conditions, and what policymakers can do about them. Finally, questions are also raised about implications for the underlying paradigm conventionally used for the study of international political economy and international relations more generally.

Benjamin J. Cohen is Louis G. Lancaster Professor of International Political Economy at the University of California, Santa Barbara. His most recent books include In Whose Interest? International Banking and American Foreign Policy (1986) and Crossing Frontiers: Explorations in International Political Economy (1991). He is also editor of The International Political Economy of Monetary Relations (1993).

* I am indebted to David Andrews, Joe Grieco, Miles Kahler, Helen Milner, and Louis Pauly for helpful comments and suggestions. The able assistance of Kathleen Collihan is also gratefully acknowledged.