In This Review

Production, Power, and World Order: Social Forces in the Making of History
Production, Power, and World Order: Social Forces in the Making of History
By Robert W. Cox
Columbia University Press, 1987, 500 pp.

The sweeping title heralds an exceptional book that aims to understand "current historical change from the standpoint of a reciprocal relationship between power and production." Nation-states, the international economic and political system and a wide range of "social relations of production" come into the picture. Familiar ideas mix with the unfamiliar, and few readers will agree with everything that is put before them, either in the extensive historical sections or in the discussion of the 1970s. Considering his long experience at the International Labor Organization, it is not surprising that Professor Cox of York University in Toronto should be particularly strong on all matters relating to the organization of work and its political and economic consequences. He is also very interesting on the conditions under which one kind of world order has given way to another, and on the part states have played in shaping national economies. There are some weaknesses, but one has to withhold a final judgment on this original work since it is only the first of four volumes in a series (two of them by another author).