U.S. International Economic Policy

Modelski, George. “Long Cycles and the Strategy of U.S. International Economic Policy.” In Avia, William P., and Rapen, David. (Eds.). America in A Changing World Political Economy. New York: Longman Publishers, 1982, 97116.

Modelski (1982, p. 97) contended that, in the modern world system, political and economic processes are linked in a model of alternating innovations. In this model, the political process is viewed by Modelski (1982, p. 97) as the dependency of the world political system on the rise of world powers. Similarly, the economic process is viewed in the model as the dependency international economic system on the formation of lead economics. The alternating innovations model posits that “generationlong periods of fundamental political innovation alternate with those of . . . fundamental shifts in the economy” of the world (Modelski, 1982, p. 97).

The application of the model of alternating innovations led Modelski (1982, pp. 9798) to the conclusion that world leadership is exercised by lead countries during long cycles. Modelski (1982, p. 98) defined world leadership as “the performance, by a nationstate, of the functions of ordering and maintaining globallevel interactions.” The model assumes both political and economic dimensions for these functions. The model also assumes that “(1) World powers have had lead economies; (2) world powers have constructed the framework of the global economy . . .,” (and) “Principal challengers have had large economies” (Modelski, 1982, p. 102).

To operationalize the lead economy concept, Modelski (1982, p. 104) emphasized “not size . . . but those indicators that bear

on status as ‘active zone”: the creation of leading sectors and the relative size of the industrial economy, and participation in world trade, both quantitatively . . . and qualitatively . . . .” Modelski (1982, p. 104) used the term “lead economy,” as opposed to “leading economy,” …

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