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Trans-Pacific Values: The United States and the Regional Economy of the Pacific, 1900-1941

  • Arnold, Kashia Amber
Publication Date
Jan 01, 2021
eScholarship - University of California
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This dissertation finds that between World War I and World War II, the United States’ trade interdependence with Asia forged a vibrant Pacific World of Commerce. As a consequence of World War I, U.S. demand for resources from Asia facilitated greater entanglements with the economies of Asia through trade interdependence. This project locates and traces out the empirical development of a deeply embedded network of global trade between the U.S. firms and intra-Asian trade networks that traversed the Pacific. These trade relationships strengthened and expanded during World War I across commodity trades, shipping, labor, and business networks. The War increased access to these networks and cemented their presence as a sustained and significant condition of trade interdependence in the War’s aftermath. Infrastructure changes brought by the war also established new and lasting trade connections that returned in the post-World War II economy.This dissertation also argues that U.S. globalization in the Pacific developed as a consequence of World War I. Scholars have traditionally located the United States’ Open Door agenda as central to understanding U.S. foreign policy goals in Asia, which prioritized the nation’s free-market access to China and equal most-favored-nation clauses with Europe for the objective of expanding U.S. export trade. During this period the center of the global economy was organized through the United States’ trans-Atlantic trade relationship with Europe. By contrast, this dissertation demonstrates how the Pacific gradually displaced the Atlantic within the global order.

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