North American Economic Integration

North American Economic Integration

Theory and Practice

Norris C. Clement, Gustavo del Castillo Vera, James Gerber, William A. Kerr, Alan J. MacFayden, Stanford Shedd, Eduardo Zepeda and Diana Alarcón

This highly accessible book explains the theoretical, historical and political background of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), its impact and the debates surrounding its existence. In addition the authors provide a brief introduction to the theory of economic integration as well as a succinct overview of the evolution of the global economy, and the institutions that manage it, in the post World War II period.

Chapter 4: The United States after World War II

Norris C. Clement, Gustavo del Castillo Vera, James Gerber, William A. Kerr, Alan J. MacFayden, Stanford Shedd, Eduardo Zepeda and Diana Alarcón

Subjects: business and management, international business, economics and finance, international economics


Page 117  4. The United States after World War II  This chapter surveys the last fifty years of United States economic history. The purpose is to place the economic integration project of the US, Canada and Mexico  within an historical perspective. From this longrun point of view, NAFTA represents both continuity and change in the economic policies of the United States. On the  one hand, NAFTA is an expression of tendencies in the United States to seek out bilateral solutions to trade issues. Nevertheless, it is also a reflection of broader  forces in the international economy which are bringing all three NAFTA countries into closer economic proximity. In terms of both US policy and the apparent  commercial evolution of North America, NAFTA is a continuation of ongoing forces. On the other hand, as a harbinger of increased Western Hemispheric and North  Atlantic economic integration, NAFTA could mark the beginning of a trend towards a much wider and deeper integration which will have profound implications for  national economic conditions. This is particularly true insofar as it applies to US­Mexico relations. In spite of the 2,000 mile common border, history, culture and  politics have conspired to make US­Mexican relations far less cordial and trusting than US­Canadian relations. NAFTA in this context represents the possibility for  change.  BEFORE INDUSTRIALIZATION  From the vantage point of the post­World War II era, it is frequently assumed that the United States has always favored free and open markets. It is often noted...

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