Social Construction and the Logic of Money

Financial Predominance and International Economic Leadership

By J. Samuel Barkin

Subjects: Economic History
Series: SUNY series in Global Politics
Paperback : 9780791455821, 258 pages, January 2003
Hardcover : 9780791455814, 258 pages, January 2003

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Table of contents


1. Financial Predominance and International Economic Leadership

2. Social Construction and the Logic of Money

3. The Seventeenth Century and Dutch Leadership

4. The Nineteenth Century and British Leadership

5. The Interwar Period and the Great Depression

6. The Postwar Period: American Leadership?

7. Conclusions and Implications




Examines the nature of international economic leadership since the seventeenth century.


While other studies of international leadership have looked at a variety of measures to predict behavior, this book demonstrates that the key factor is international finance. J. Samuel Barkin uses an innovative blend of rationalist and constructivist methodologies, approaches to international political economy that normally exist in isolation from one another. Barkin argues that the level of a country's involvement in international finance specifically motivates it to lead. This is particularly relevant today, given the on-going discussions on how to respond to local and global financial crises. Barkin illustrates his theory with an episodic history of international monetary leadership over the last four centuries: Dutch leadership in the seventeenth century; British leadership in the nineteenth; the failure of leadership in the interwar era and Great Depression; and the role of the U. S. in the construction of an international economic infrastructure since World War II.

J. Samuel Barkin is Assistant Professor of Political Science at the University of Florida and the coeditor (with George E. Shambaugh) of Anarchy and the Environment: The International Relations of Common Pool Resources, also published by SUNY Press.