I find this book intriguing. First, I’m embarrassed to admit that I’ve never read it, or even heard of it until recently. Second, I don’t know who the author is, though she studied with Roepke and otherwise offers a massive bibliography, and is clearly an outstanding scholar. If anyone knows, please post.
Third, I’m intrigued by her thesis, namely that the two aspirations of modern liberals–socialism at home and a stable and prosperous peace internationally–are incompatible. She works through the implications that socialism has on the power structure of any individual country: socialism requires planning, planning requires centralization, and centralization means the total concentration of power. Then she contrasts this with the basis of international economic cooperation, which is rooted in trade and exchange and individual decision making. She then explains how the use of power in national economic planning means that the socialist country cannot make a contribution to stable and peaceful international organization.
The book helps make sense of the strange demands of modern liberals for concentrated national economic power but perfect peace in world affairs. They are forever shocked to see the central government they cheer in economic life used for warfare purposes abroad. The same confusion exists in the left-liberal attitude toward trade. They want undeveloped countries to be part of the world order but then denounce consumers in rich countries for buying products from poor countries and scream that it is a disaster when capital from the developed world travels to poor countries for the purposes of economic investment.
The absurdity is never so apparent than when consumers are decried for buying goods produced by people abroad who earn low wages. What precisely would the left have us to do? Never buy a product from a poor person abroad? And if we are not to trade with less developed nations, what is their alternative scheme for economic development of poor countries? Socialism, aid dependency, or what?
Domestically, they demand that everyone be integrated into the domestic economic system. Internationally, they cry fowl whenever a country is integrated into the global economic system.
The Tamedly study helps makes sense of these contradictions: the left has never reconciled their sympathy for socialism at home with the genuine desire for the flourishing of an integrated world community.
I hope that this book gets more attention now that it is online.