‘The two economies [the United States and China] are linked with each other and with the rest of the world in a manner unparalleled in history. This mutual dependence can be an immensely powerful deterrent, in effect a form of mutually assured economic destruction.” So concluded the RAND Corporation in a study released last week.
A hundred years ago Norman Angell came to precisely the same conclusion. In his 1910 book The Great Illusion: A Study of the Relation of Military Power in Nations to Their Economic and Social Advantage, Angell outlined a world where the profitable pursuit of war is impossible because of the interdependence of national economies and the means of modern quick communications. Therefore, war had become “economically and socially futile.” Angell’s book was a tremendous bestseller and fed a widespread turn-of-the-century belief that growing world trade — it was the first era of globalization — would clearly lead to a hundred-year extension of the Pax Britannica.
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