Is international economic cooperation in the postwar era best explained by united states hegemony, or by the presence of functional international institutions ?
In the aftermath of the Second World War, most of the European and East Asian economies were devastated and a need for reconstruction was imminent in order to reestablish an international economic cooperation. While one might think that this imperative was established by the the presence of functional international institutions, the United States hegemony explains best the international economic cooperation in the postwar era. With their economies severely damaged, the Western allies could only rely on the United States, whose power and wealth had actually grown during the Second World War. Thus, the predominance of the United States in the postwar era over the devastated European economies enabled the United States to shape a new global economic system that would benefit them. Furthermore, the United States held a central position in the international institutions that were set in place during the postwar era. Finally, the international economic rules established in the postwar were shaped by the United States’ political interests. The Second World War economically benefited the United States. Indeed, the world’s most terrible war had been more destructive of Western economies and societies than anyone had anticipated, whereas the United States and the rest of the Western Hemisphere baked in propsperity. The Continental Allies’s postwar GDPs, industrial productions, living standards and imports were at their lowest and in 1946, the American economy was larger than the economy of Europe, Japan and Soviet Union combined. Thus, the power and wealth of the United States had tremendously increased at the expense of the Western nations’s one. Before any new international institution was set in place, the United States was already considered as the only nation economically capable of reestablishing an international economic cooperation. In other words, if an international institution were to be created in the postwar era, its efficiency solely depended on the United