Clavin shows how, through its inaction, the EFO became complicit in the economic appeasement of Nazi Germany in latter part of the s. Thus, whilst Clavin successfully argues that the EFO brought into being the contemporary norm of international oversight of economic policy, as a reader I was left wondering at times if the economic story of the inter-war period would really have looked all that different had the EFO not existed.
Thus, whilst The Reinvention of the League of Nations is a vibrant intellectual and cultural history of economic policy and its makers, it falls short at points in exploring the impact of the EFO beyond Geneva within its short lifespan. It is vast in scope and it makes a rich and important series of contributions to the field.
It is multi-layered and meticulously detailed, but — given the scale of the topic — it inevitably leaves questions for future researchers to pursue. For example, Clavin states early on that Africa existed for the EFO only as an object not a subject , and that the imperial realities of inter-war geopolitics were accepted without question.
Nonetheless, I was left curious about how the work of the EFO intersected with the colonial development schemes of the s, particularly as EFO leaders employed similar development discourses in their work in Europe. It illustrates the ways in which the United States nonetheless exerted influence, and the tactics that the League, EFO and various European powers employed as they attempted to draw it into the new international diplomatic community. Here too lies an important avenue for future researchers.
To conclude, this is an impressive and meticulously researched monograph that has much to offer scholars working on all aspects of modern international history. For an emerging generation of historians interested in the League of Nations, it is an essential read. Clavin paints a vibrant portrait of an international diplomatic and bureaucratic community of circulating individuals and ideas, setting the bar high for forthcoming studies of other League of Nations bodies.
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The Reinvention of the League of Nations, Book: Securing the World Economy. Reviewer: Emily Baughan. The Reinvention of the League of Nations, , review no. The soundness of this accounting practice can be, and often has been, questioned. The challenges apply in some cases to the accounting treatment of all government spending; 21 in other cases, to defense spending in particular. Among the several bases for rejecting the usual accounting conventions, the following may be noted.
What do they mean? If not, why should the actual prices paid be regarded as appropriate weights for the purpose of aggregating physically incommensurable goods and services? Second, even if the pricing problem be disregarded, defense purchases measure input not output.
Did World War I Cause the Great Depression? - HISTORY
Obviously, what people value is national security, not the mere devotion of resources to the ostensible production of national security. Because no one knows the production function for national security, and because under certain conditions e. Third, defense output, even if it were measurable, ought to be regarded as an intermediate rather than a final good, and on this basis excluded from GNP. If there were no external threat, all defense spending could be eliminated and no one would be the worse.
To the extent that defense spending serves to preserve the social and economic framework within which nondefense production can go forward, its value is already incorporated in the market prices of civilian goods.
Hence, at the margin the observed defense spending amounts to transfer payments rather than payments for net additions to the real national product. The preceding arguments, although not widely accepted within the mainstream economics profession, are scarcely the wild-eyed notions of crackpots. At least three Noble laureates in economic science Kuznets, Tobin, and Buchanan are on record as proponents of some or all of the preceding arguments, and many other respectable economists also have subscribed to them.
Especially weighty is the position of Simon Kuznets in opposition to the now-standard way of treating defense spending in the national product accounts, because Kuznets was the acknowledged leader in the original development of the accounts. The two series exhibit a similar upward tendency. Between and , real GNP grew at an average rate of 3. Again, growth rates are obtained from linear regressions of log output on time. On the basis of this difference, one has little to choose, as the growth rate of orthodox total output and that of civilian output alone differed by just 0.
Notwithstanding the similarities of their long-run trends, the two series moved quite differently in particular years and, on one occasion, over the course of a conventionally demarcated business cycle. Empirical macroeconomists appear to be oblivious to this issue. As Figure 4 shows, the differences tended to diminish with the passage of time.
The early s witnessed the greatest deviations between the growth rate of orthodox real GNP and that of civilian real GNP. The differences were considerably smaller from the mids to the mids, then even smaller between and To some extent, the diminution reflected the diminishing share of military spending in GNP Figure 2 above. For the early s the choice of an output concept makes a major difference in the description of the business cycle Figure 5. The conventional concept gives rise to a description that shows an expansion from through , a mild recession in , and a strong recovery in The year looks the same for both measures, but does not.
Both series show strong recovery in , with civilian growth outpacing that of GNP including the military component. The year was far better for guns than it was for butter or roads. The year saw only minuscule growth of road output and actual decline of butter output; the year , a bad one for guns, brought slight improvements in the rates of output of both roads and butter.
What we call these differences matters little, so long as we are clear. But appreciating the existence of the differences is important for understanding and evaluating the actual performance of the economy during the Cold War. The foregoing evidence and analysis raise a variety of questions about the political economy of the Cold War, only a few of which can be considered here. I shall focus on issues related to ideology, information, and the conflict between governing elites and the public.
Consider first the profile of resource allocation to the military during the Cold War. One might ask: 1 What accounts for the unprecedentedly enormous base spending level, that is, the level when the nation was not involved in shooting war? Until the late s the answers seem fairly transparent. The high base level of spending resulted from the Cold War ideology of global anti-communism and the foreign policy doctrines and military commitments that flowed from that ideology.
The spending deviations were associated with the extraordinary costs of engagement in two major shooting wars in Asia. Set in motion by a unique combination of external events, astute partisan political action and information management, kept in motion by executive determination and bureaucratic tenacity, it bore little resemblance to the two preceding buildups. One may conclude that the establishment of the full-fledged Cold War regime caused real defense spending almost to treble.
This staggering sum is equivalent to the entire GNP of the United States in the two-year period l The ideological milieu was important, indeed essential, in maintaining high levels of resource allocation to defense, but it was not sufficient. Countless political cartoons, featuring bloated generals bedecked with rows of medals, promoted precisely such an attitude.
Citizens did not need to be natural cynics. The problem of creeping skepticism was inherent in the remoteness of the subject from their immediate experience. Citizens [could] only spend and hope. The tendency of chronic background threat to lose its efficacy in supporting high levels of military spending could be offset by episodic crises. In a perceived crisis, public opinion became volatile. Many people suspended their reason, critical faculties, and long-term judgments, reacting emotionally and with heightened deference to political leaders.
But usually the world did not supply such clear-cut cases, and the national security managers had to take matters into their own hands. Of the fearsome Soviet divisions, a third were undermanned and another third were ill-equipped militia. All were revealed in due course to have been false alarms. Meanwhile the American people received an almost wholly fictitious account of an incident in the Gulf of Tonkin in , which stampeded Congress into giving its blessing to what soon became a major war.
Although not every gap scare led directly to a corresponding U.