Money and Power: Pondering Economic Growth and Decline

A trio of books proposes intriguing reasons for economic growth--national pride, surplus labor and investment security--but none parses the novelty of the virtual state.

Issue: Summer 2002

Niall Ferguson, The Cash Nexus: Money and Power in the Modern World, 1700-2000 (New York: Basic Books, 2001), 552 pp., $18.

Liah Greenfeld, The Spirit of Capitalism: Nationalism and Economic Growth (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2001), 541 pp., $45.

Kenneth Pomeranz, The Great Divergence: China, Europe and the Making of the Modern World Economy (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2000), 382 pp., $16.95.

Aside from preventing terrorism, there are two cottage industries in the policy community these days. One aims to develop Third World states-aspiring to remove at least some of the causes of terrorism. The other, somewhat less in the public eye recently, seeks to prevent the decline of major powers, particularly the United States. These two industries are linked by their concern to understand the relationship between economic structures, motives and performance, on the one hand, and political structures, motives and performance on the other. In other words, both are about the nexus between money and power.

You must be a subscriber of The National Interest to access this article. If you are already a subscriber, please activate your online access. Not a subscriber? Become a subscriber today!