When international political economists discuss the pre-1945 roots of their field, they typically focus on European and American thinkers who pioneered the three perspectives of economic liberalism (e.g. Smith, Ricardo), neomercantilism (e.g. Hamilton, List), and Marxism (e.g. Marx, Lenin). But debates about international economic relations between late 18th century and 1945 were much more global than this, involving prominent thinkers from all parts of the world. They also included many more perspectives, including those focusing on wider topics such as environmental degradation, gender inequality, racial discrimination, religious worldviews, civilizational values, national self-sufficiency, and varieties of economic regionalism. Drawing on his new book The Contested World Economy (Cambridge 2023), Helleiner highlights this rich diversity of pre-1945 international economic thought and the need to globalize and widen international political economy’s deep history.
Eric Helleiner is Professor and University Research Professor in the Department of Political Science and Balsillie School of International Affairs, University of Waterloo. His previous books include: The Neomercantilists: A Global Intellectual History (2021), Forgotten Foundations of Bretton Woods (2014), The Making of National Money (2003), and States and the Reemergence of Global Finance (1994). He received the 2020 IPE Distinguished Scholar Award (International Studies Association) as well as the Francesco Guicciardini Prize for Best Book in International Relations (2016).