In This Review

The Downfall of the American Order?
The Downfall of the American Order?
Edited by Peter J. Katzenstein and Jonathan Kirshner
Cornell University Press, 2022, 246 pp.

This engaging collection of essays brings distinguished scholars of political economy together to explore the changing faces of economic liberalism within the U.S.-led postwar international order. Kirshner considers the role of Keynesian ideas in the postwar efforts to find a “third way” between unfettered markets and planned economies. Mark Blyth offers a revisionist account of the establishment of the initial U.S.-led order between World War II and the 1970s, stressing not the farsighted power of planners in Washington but accidents and improvisations driven by Cold War imperatives. Rawi Abdelal makes the provocative argument that the neoliberalism that came to the fore in the 1980s was the work of European thinkers, not American ones, and that it ushered in growth and prosperity in the global South even as it generated economic inequality and financial instability in the North. Katzenstein offers trenchant observations on the complexity and contingency of the evolution of liberalism in all its varieties across the last century. The value of this volume is not in a shared judgment about the future of the U.S.-led international order but in the richness of the debate about how orders, liberal and otherwise, are shaped and reshaped.