The International Economy in the Twentieth Century: From British to US Hegemony


Spring 2017
100 Lewis
Day & Time: 
MWF 10-11
Class Number: 

In the 1880s, the European scramble for Africa, U.S., Japanese, Russian, and Latin American fast export growth, as well as rising transatlantic migration flows opened a new era. Another ended with the 2008 financial crisis, which drove most of the world into the Great Recession. Meanwhile, the international economy had greatly expanded, shaping the lives of billions of people, transforming international hierarchies of wealth and power, and accompanying the major upheavals of the Twentieth Century. This course will explore both the actual flows of goods, capital, and people that constituted the fabric of the international economy, and the political frameworks in which those flows happened. We will analyze the rules of financial and trade regimes, along with migration policies. We will describe how the United Kingdom provided, with growing difficulties, the rules and stability for economic exchanges at the beginning of the period and how the United States ended up assuming such a major role. All this we will explore by reading the works of the most qualified experts, both historians and economists. Even though this course is mainly open to history, economics, and political economy majors, it does not require a previous background in economics or history.