Skip to main content
×
Home
    • Aa
    • Aa

Capitalism's Fellow Traveler: The Soviet Union, Bretton Woods, and the Cold War, 1944–1958

  • Oscar Sanchez-Sibony (a1)
Abstract
Abstract

This paper is a reinterpretation of the origins of the Cold War from a novel point of view: Soviet foreign economic policy. It questions two fundamental concepts that have formed the basis for our understanding of that conflict: Soviet autarky, and bipolarity. Soviet autarky has been the basis for an understanding of a “war” that, although never fought on military terms, needed two sides to be so conceptualized. Just as enemies in war can have no areas of meaningful cooperation, so did academics require of these Cold War rivals an all-encompassing enmity. To do so they came to consider the Soviet Union a camp apart, unconnected and hostile to the capitalist order. Scholars required a Soviet Union politically committed to autarky. Using archives from Moscow, however, the article argues that the Soviet Union was not autarkic by political choice and, at length, not autarkic at all. It followed a similar trajectory in international economic engagement as that of the countries in the so-called free world, and what's more, sought to do so. In other words, when one looks at the political economy of Soviet economic relations, the conceptual framework of bipolarity that sustains much of the work on the Cold War becomes difficult to maintain. Instead, I argue, an immensely powerful liberal world order acted on the Soviet Union in ways that should be familiar to scholars of global capitalism.

Copyright
Corresponding author
osanchez@umac.mo
Linked references
Hide All

This list contains references from the content that can be linked to their source. For a full set of references and notes please see the PDF or HTML where available.

Johanna Bockman . 2011. Markets in the Name of Socialism: The Left-Wing Origins of Neoliberalism. Stanford: Stanford University Press.

Michael Cox and Caroline Kennedy-Pipe . 2005. The Tragedy of American Diplomacy? Rethinking the Marshall Plan. Journal of Cold War Studies 7, 1: 97134.

Michael Ellman . 2000. The 1947 Soviet Famine and the Entitlement Approach to Famines. Cambridge Journal of Economics 24, 5: 603–30.

Yoram Gorlizki and Oleg Khlevniuk . 2004. Cold Peace: Stalin and the Soviet Ruling Circle, 1945–1953. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Per Högselius . 2013. Red Gas: Russia and the Origins of European Energy Dependence. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.

Ian Jackson . 2001. The Economic Cold War: America, Britain and East-West Trade, 1948–63. New York: Palgrave.

Oscar Sanchez-Sibony . 2010. Soviet Industry in the World Spotlight: The Domestic Dilemmas of Soviet Foreign Economic Relations, 1955–1965. Europe-Asia Studies 62, 9: 1555–78.

Catherine R. Schenk 1998. The Origins of the Eurodollar Market in London: 1955–1963. Explorations in Economic History 35, 2: 221–38.

Benn Steil . 2013. The Battle of Bretton Woods: John Maynard Keynes, Harry Dexter White, and the Making of a New World Order. Princeton: Princeton University Press.

Odd Arne Westad . 2005. The Global Cold War: Third World Interventions and the Making of Our Times. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

Comparative Studies in Society and History
  • ISSN: 0010-4175
  • EISSN: 1475-2999
  • URL: /core/journals/comparative-studies-in-society-and-history
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *
×

Metrics

Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 18
Total number of PDF views: 198 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 437 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between September 2016 - 23rd April 2017. This data will be updated every 24 hours.