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216 × 138 × 15 mm
224 pages
01 Feb 2005
Contemporary Worlds
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The Global Economic System since 1945 Larry Allen

Economic theory in modern times imagines a giant clockwork of events, with economists attempting to find the perfect mathematical model of a mechanical movement. The real world is manifestly more complex and unpredictable than the internal workings of a machine, and this may be why conventional economic theories are far more accurate in retrospect.

Larry Allen’s book, by contrast, recognizes and avoids the inherent limitations of mathematical models; his ground-breaking work in no way shuns economic theory, but rather uses it as a framework within which to re-evaluate and offer cogent new interpretations of world economic history from 1945 to the present day. The book describes how, from the end of World War II until the 1970s, powerful corporations began to lobby governments in an effort to reduce the perceived constraints of regulation. Following the difficulties of the 1970s these voices were increasingly influential, governments worldwide taking on free-market policies, dismantling the scaffolding of economic regulation and promoting the virtues of free-enterprise capitalism.

The Global Economic System Since 1945 offers a fresh synthesis of economic history and theory. It will prove instructive to the specialist, who will find it a useful reminder that all sides of the economy cannot be seen from a single angle. It will also interest the general reader looking for an impartial description of the current state of the global economy, as well as hints and clues about what to look for when scanning the economic horizon for signs of inclement weather.

‘A guide for those using or planning to use business consultants, and also for consultants themselves. Consulting has undergone great change with lower margins, and the emergence of niche players. The book offers a guide to evaluating consultants, assessing the best times to use them and how consultants themselves need to change. This is really one for the dedicated economist. Allen attempts to provide new interpretations of world economic history. He follows the forces of capitalism since the Second World War and shows how the voice of the powerful corporations have become increasingly influential in promoting the free market.’ — Scotland on Sunday

‘A rich and wide-ranging survey of the world economy over fifty-seven years, which treats the ebb and flow of state and market with informed detachment.’ — Professor James K. Galbraith, The University of Texas at Austin

‘An interesting, insightful and provocative look at globalization through the lens of an economic historian.’ — David Colander, CA, Distinguished Professor, Middlebury College, Vermont

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Larry Allen is Professor of Economics at Lamar University, Beaumont, Texas, and the author of Encyclopedia of Money (1999), ABC-CLIO World History Companion to Capitalism (1998), The Global Financial System 1750-2000 (Reaktion, 2001) and The Global Economic System Since 1945 (Reaktion, 2005)

1. Introduction
2. A Global Postwar Economy Takes Shape
3. Prosperity Born of Depression
4. The Thesis and Antithesis of Capitalism
5. The Ebbtide of Postwar Prosperity
6. A Tug of War between Inflation and Economic Controls
7. The Political Pendulum Suddenly Swings
8. The Floodtide of the Capitalist Revolution
9. The Force of Speculation Enrolled in the Cause of Globalization
10. Global Confidence and Global Panic
Selected Further Reading