In This Review

Beyond Globalism: Remaking American Foreign Economic Policy
Beyond Globalism: Remaking American Foreign Economic Policy
By Raymond Vernon and Debora L. Spar
Free Press, 1988, 246 pp

The opening chapter of this interesting book is a masterful account of the changes in American foreign economic policy-and the world economy-since World War II. The following sections on trade, money, aid and multinationals are comprehensive but involve selectivity, which will draw a few dissents from those who stress different interpretations and facts. Professor Vernon and Ms. Spar are realistically gloomy about the prospects of international cooperation just when it is more needed than ever. They believe that what cannot be achieved by wide agreement must be sought by smaller combinations of countries-but we are not told who should try to do what. Since in the American system "it is pointless to attempt explaining any sequence of actions as if it resulted from the deliberations of a rational unitary actor," the book's recommendations stress methods of making policy rather than its content, which is disappointing. Among the most original of the many shrewd observations are those concerning "policy entrepreneurs" who appear from time to time in the executive branch and get things done in spite of the checks and balances that confuse the system-but they are not to be relied on as much in the future.