Chapter 1 Economic nationalism in historical perspective
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Economic nationalism has its intellectual origins in the nineteenth century. Its goal was the protection of weaker, late starter, mostly agricultural national economies against the much stronger competitors of the most advanced industrial powers. It was closely connected with dominant nationalist ideas and policies to strengthen and make economically independent the nation state. It was also used in extremely difficult times of crises to cope with decline and assist recuperation. With the start of World War I, state direction, control and ownership, tariffs and self-sufficiency became general practice in national economies all over Europe. After World War II, in an American-led international system, a free trade regime was reintroduced. Under U.S. hegemony, the large majority of states eventually joined the World Trade Organization (WTO). Nevertheless, history started repeating itself in the early 21st century when the United States returned to economic nationalist protectionism in its rivalry with rising China and the European Union.