The Origins of Economic Interdependence: A Historical Note on Peace Through Trade

  • Peter van Ham


In this chapter we will present an overview of those historical contentions which have, more or less intuitively, assumed a positive correlation between the level of trade and the chances for stable peace.1 This chapter serves to indicate that the Functionalist position on the political side-effects of economic relations among nations has a long tradition, and that it is certainly not confined to East-West trade alone. This short historical note intends to enhance our understanding of one of the basic sets of beliefs pertaining to international trade in general, and East-West trade in particular. We will mainly focus on the pre-theory assumptions, under the label ‘peace through trade’. These lines of thought are optimistic about the conciliatory effects of commerce, and many of these arguments are still regularly aired in the debate on the political consequences of East-West trade.


International Trade Free Trade Foreign Trade Economic Interdependence French Philosophe 
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Copyright information

© Peter van Ham 1992

Authors and Affiliations

  • Peter van Ham
    • 1
  1. 1.Dept. of Political ScienceUniversity of LeidenThe Netherlands

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