Vernon, Raymond
October 1968
Foreign Affairs;Oct68, Vol. 47 Issue 1, p110
This article comments on the economic power of sovereign states as of October 1968. Today, the commitments among the principal non-communist countries of the world cover the subject of tariffs, import and export licenses, and subsidies; the level of foreign exchange rates and the price of gold; the price and quality of international air service; the price of coffee, wheat, sugar and tin; safety-at-sea standards, deep-sea fishing and whaling rights; and the international use of the ether waves. There is a pooling of foreign-aid funds through the World Bank and various regional banking institutions; a pooling of international technical assistance efforts through numerous U.N. agencies. More important still, through institutions such as the International Monetary Fund and the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) there are well-entrenched habits of international consultation and international persuasion on domestic subjects of the most sensitive sort: on internal interest rates, on budgetary and fiscal policy and on employment and incomes policy. To be sure, the millennium is still far distant. Nations still take it for granted that the vital interests of any sovereign, as the sovereign perceives them, will take precedence over any international obligation. The fifty or sixty new countries that have erupted out of their colonial status into national independence over the past twenty years especially treasure their sovereign rights to independent action.


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