The 20th century that has just passed can be called the century of the United States, because for most of this century, the United States has always been the leader in world political and economic life and played a unique leading role.
Especially since the end of the Second World War, the influence of American politics, economy and culture has penetrated into almost every corner of the world and affected the political and economic development of every country.
Therefore, the development of contemporary American economy and the evolution of its foreign strategy are of great importance to the development of world economy and international politics.
The United States was originally a British colony.
After independence, its economy has been in a state of rapid catch-up.
In 1894, the industrial output value of the United States surpassed that of Britain for the first time and became the world’s No.
1 industrial power.
In both world wars, the United States obtained great development opportunities and its economy rose rapidly.
After the Second World War, the United States actually became the locomotive of the world economy.
It not only provided a large amount of surplus capital and technology to the post-war world and promoted the revitalization of the post-war world economy, but also absorbed more than 16% of Global trade every year with its huge market and promoted the prosperity of the post-war world economy.
Since the 1970s, the US economy has been challenged by Japan, Western Europe and other economies in the world, and its position in the world economy has declined relatively.
However, due to the huge domestic market, rich resources, advanced science and technology and flexible system, the United States can adapt to the development of the situation and adjust policies in time, especially the continuous growth of the U.S. economy in the 1990s.
Therefore, today, the U.S. economy is still the largest and most powerful economy in the world. I. the conditions and basis for the United States to become the world economic hegemony.
After a short period of more than 100 years of development, the United States has gained the hegemony of the capitalist world from a colony to more than many old capitalist countries.
This is by no means accidental.
It is related to its superior natural conditions, unique history and culture The stable political and economic environment and the opportunities of the two world wars are inseparable, which are contributed by many factors.
The first is the superior natural conditions of the United States.
The United States is located in the south of the North American continent, between the Atlantic Ocean and the Pacific Ocean, adjacent to Mexico in the South and Canada in the north.
This superior geographical location made the United States far away from the world’s most powerful European powers at that time, and the two neighboring countries were relatively weak.
The national security of the United States was naturally formed.
Therefore, the two world wars basically did not affect the United States.
Except for the American Civil War, the American economy was basically not damaged by the war.
With a land area of 9.
37 million square kilometers, the United States is rich in natural resources, such as oil, coal, natural gas, potassium salt, sulfur and other mineral resources, ranking among the highest in the world, with a large area of arable land and high forest coverage.
Its natural resource reserves are second only to the former Soviet Union and now Russia, ranking second in the world.
With a population of about 260 million, the United States has a vast territory, rich resources and suitable population.
Secondly, the pragmatism and enterprising national spirit of the American nation.
The American people are deeply influenced by their historical development and religious traditions in terms of spiritual beliefs.
Most of the first American immigrants were Puritans persecuted in Western European countries.
They left their hometown to seek freedom and entrepreneurship in a new world.
The initial difficulties in opening up the new world, coupled with the influence of the American westward movement, have formed the vigorous enterprising spirit and free and open fashion of the American people.
Advocating reform and innovation, opposing stereotypes, emphasizing practical results and not sticking to one pattern are also part of the national character of the United States.
This is consistent with the historical experience of early immigrants in constantly opening up territory and using advanced science and technology.
Religious tradition is also an important factor affecting the way Americans think and behave.
According to the constitution, the United States implements the policy of separating politics from religion, which is a secular society.
But judging from the fact that the vast majority of the population claims that they believe in God, the United States is also a religious society.
The moral foundation of American society is undoubtedly Christian tradition.
In practice, politics and religion have never been completely separated.
There is no conflict between American “enlightened thought” and religious belief.
The early church in the United States did not become the resistance to the development of capitalism like the European Catholic Church, but its help.
According to the research of sociologist Max Weber, the spirit of capitalism originated from Protestant ethics, and Protestant doctrine played an important inducing and catalytic role in the rise and development of capitalism in the American continent.
In the Puritan religious ideal, the realm of “heaven” depends on hard work to obtain wealth, not on red tape and purity of heart and few desires.
After the historical practice of conquering nature and opening up new frontiers, Protestant theology bred a strong utilitarian and practical nature, and injected the secular enterprising spirit into the religious moral norms.
This is also the origin of American pragmatism philosophy.
Benjamin, a statesman, scientist, philosopher and one of the founding fathers deeply respected by Americans.
, It is a typical representative of religious moral preaching and pragmatic philosophy.
Thirdly, the political system of the separation of powers in the United States.
The political system of the United States is a typical form of bourgeois democracy established according to the principle of separation of powers.
In May 1787, Independent States held a national constitutional convention in Philadelphia.
According to the principle of separation of powers and mutual checks and balances, the American Constitution, namely the 1787 Constitution, was formulated.
According to the constitution, the national structure of the United States is federal, and the federal government and the state government are decentralized.
The federal government implements the political structure of separation of powers and mutual checks and balances among legislation (Congress), Administration (president) and judiciary (Federal Court).
Although this political system has its disadvantages, in practice, it has effectively stopped the abuse of power and autocracy, and played an important role in ensuring the long-term social and political stability and economic development of the United States.
The United States has maintained a peaceful and stable environment since the civil war, which is a very important factor.
Finally, the two world wars provided the United States with a rare opportunity for unconventional development.
During the first World War (1914-1918), the United States first declared “neutrality”, watched the tiger fight on the mountain and made a lot of war money.
In April 1917, when the war was about to end, the United States announced its participation in the war, joined the allies and enjoyed the fruits of war victory.
Stimulated by the war, the US economy developed at an extraordinary speed.
It not only paid off the pre war debt of $6 billion, but also made European countries owe the United States more than $10 billionThe United States government formulated the “national economic revitalization plan” as a major slogan, and dealt with the “declining national economic hegemony” as a priority.
In terms of economic policy, the Reagan administration changed the Keynesianism pursued by the United States since the Second World War and adopted the ideas of supply school and monetarism.
The specific measures are to take curbing inflation as the key policy objective of macro-economy, and implement tax reduction and expansionary fiscal policies to stimulate investment and savings and increase effective supply.
Control the total amount of money supply, stabilize the value of money and curb inflation.
Adjust the ownership structure, privatize the state-owned economy, reduce social welfare expenditure, reduce excessive government intervention and restrictions on the economy, enhance the vitality of enterprises, improve the competitiveness of enterprises and so on.
The Reagan Administration’s policies and measures to stimulate economic growth and curb inflation have achieved certain success.
The American economy has been out of the economic crisis since 1982.
By 1990, the average annual growth of GNP exceeded 4%, the average annual inflation rate was about 4%, and the unemployment rate decreased from 9.
7% in 1982 to 5.
3% in 1989.
However, this also makes the United States pay the price of rising government budget deficit and deteriorating balance of payments.
During the eight years of Reagan’s administration, the cumulative budget deficit of the US federal government reached US $1215.
8 billion, which was 2.
4 times the total budget deficit of previous US governments from the early postwar period to 1981.
In order to make up for the huge fiscal deficit and prevent inflation, the Reagan administration attracted foreign capital through high interest rates and borrowed a large amount of debt at home and abroad to supplement the lack of government revenue, which led to a sharp increase in U.S. government debt.
In 1989, the total amount of US Treasury bonds reached $2.
6 trillion, three times that before Reagan came to power in 1980.
At the end of 1992, it exceeded the $3 trillion mark, and the United States eventually became the world’s largest debtor.
(IV) sustained growth of the U.S. economy in the 1990s.
Since the 1990s, after a brief recession, the U.S. economy has walked out of the trough and began to recover from March 1991.
It has continued to grow for nearly 10 years by 2000, becoming the longest economic growth cycle in the history of U.S. economic development since 1854.
Especially in the process of this economic expansion, there are “four lows” accompanied by stable economic growth, namely low inflation rate, low unemployment rate, low fiscal deficit and low interest rate, which are collectively referred to as “one stability and four lows”.
Since inflation became the number one problem in the U.S. economy in the late 1960s, as long as the economic growth rate exceeded 2.
5% and the unemployment rate fell below 5.
5%, wages and prices will rise sharply, which has almost become the iron law of the U.S. economy.
In the 1990s, the economic development of the United States broke this iron law, with the growth rate maintained at about 3% ~ 4%, the unemployment rate reduced to about 4%, and the inflation rate also reduced to about 2%.
On March 31, 1997, BusinessWeek of the United States called this economy the “new economy” of the global and sustainable information age, pointing out that the new economy is a knowledge-based and technical economy driven by information technology.
The United States first realized the transformation from industrial economy to information or knowledge economy, and was the first to move forward into the information society.
In the 1990s, when the U.S. economy achieved benign and rapid growth, Japan was deeply in crisis and downturn, while Europe has been in a state of slow development, and the U.S. economy is unique among developed countries.
The United States has finally reversed the situation that its economic growth has lagged behind other Western powers for a long time, and regained its obvious competitive advantage over Japan and the European Union.
According to statistics, from 1991 to 1996, the average annual growth rate of real GDP of the 15 EU countries was 1.
58%, lower than 2.
4% of that of the United States.
In 1997, the GDP of EU countries increased by an average of 2.
3%, lower than the 3.
8% of the United States.
In 1993 and 1994, Japan’s real economic growth was only 0.
5% and 0.7%. In 1997, Japan’s economy grew negatively by 0.7%. So far, the Japanese economy has not emerged from the shadow of the East Asian economic crisis.
There are many reasons for the rapid development of the American economy in the 1990s, among which the macroeconomic policy of the American government played a very important role.
First, effective high-tech industrial development policies.
The economic growth of the United States in the 1990s is mainly due to the new economy or knowledge economy mainly supported by information technology, while the United States is the first to enter the new economy and information society, which is inseparable from the support and promotion of the high-tech industrial policy of the U.S. government.
In the early 1980s, the US economy was facing strong competition and challenges in various fields from Japan and Western Europe.
Facing this situation, the Reagan administration established the “Presidential Commission on industrial competitiveness” composed of economists, scientific and technological consultants and entrepreneurs in 1983.
In its report to the president in January 1986, it pointed out: “in the new world economy, competitiveness is a matter of life and death.
” “The main way to ensure its advantage is to develop science and technology.
The United States must strengthen its advantage in this field.
” To this end, the Reagan administration began to increase the intensity of funding for high-tech development.
The Bush administration has implemented national strategic guidance for the development of high-tech industries, especially the information industry.
In the spring of 1991, Bush submitted a report entitled “national key technologies” to Congress, proposing 22 high-tech development plans in six areas related to national security and economic strength, of which 7 are related to information and communication technology.
Shortly after Clinton took office, he put forward the “information superhighway construction plan” and set up a special “information infrastructure task force” led by Vice President Gore to be responsible for the planning and implementation of the “information superhighway” project.
Subsequently, the national science and Technology Commission and the presidential science and Technology Commission were established to raise scientific research and development to the same important position as national security and economic affairs.
At the same time, both the US government and private individuals have increased their investment in research and development.
From 1977 to 1987, after deducting inflation, the annual average real growth rate of U.S. research and development expenditure was 3.
8%, higher than the growth rate of GDP, of which the real annual growth rate of federal government expenditure was 4.7%. Since 1994, the total annual research and development funds of the United States have been more than 170 billion US dollars, exceeding the total research and development funds of major western countries such as Japan, Germany and France.
In 1996, American investment in computer technology accounted for 40% of the world’s similar investment.
The rapid increase in investment in the information industry has led to the rise of the information revolution in the United States and accelerated the transformation of American industries to knowledge-based industriesAn international trade organization to promote multilateral principles and resolve disputes among its members.
In 1946, the United States issued the recommendations of the Charter of the United Nations International Trade Organization.
In 1947, the international trade conference was held in Geneva, and the United States and 22 other countries signed the general agreement on Tariffs and trade.
The agreement formulated new rules for World Trade after the war and established a new world trade system.
GATT, including a trade regulation and a tariff schedule containing more than 45000 items.
Its main purpose is to “reach mutually beneficial arrangements aimed at effectively reducing tariffs and other trade barriers and eliminating discriminatory treatment in international business.
” GATT has made specific provisions on the general most favored nation treatment, national treatment in tax and control, free transshipment of goods, exchange rate arrangements, collection of anti-dumping duties and countervailing duties, etc.
In this way, through the GATT and the relevant agreements of the International Monetary Fund, the United States has basically completed the construction of its post-war foreign economic strategy from the institutional framework.3. Create the conditions and environment for the implementation of the new institutional arrangements.
After the war, the economy of Western Europe was in a depression.
Almost all Western European countries were implementing the system of controlling all international economic exchanges.
Starting from foreign exchange, the free exchange of currencies was prohibited, the capital flow actually became illegal, and the import was also restricted.
Under the circumstances at that time, it was difficult to really implement the provisions on the free flow of trade and capital, and Western European countries could not import a large number of American products on their own strength.
Moreover, the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe pursued another set of economic models and formed an economic system centered on itself and independent of the western world.
It is likely to combine with the powerful left wing and labor movement forces in Western Europe at that time under the condition of the relative weakness of the free market economy in Western Europe, so as to put western Europe on the road of state control of the economy, And completely failed the US strategy.
In this case, the United States quickly introduced the European recovery plan, namely the Marshall Plan.
From 1948 to 1951, the United States provided $12 billion worth of material assistance to Europe, helping Western European countries obtain the ability to import American goods and giving Western European industries the opportunity to rebuild their competitiveness.
It has also vigorously promoted the development of multilateral free trade within Europe and between Europe and the United States.
At the same time, in order to solve the problem of lack of capital in various countries after the war, the U.S. government also vigorously promoted the foreign direct investment of U.S. private capital, including tax incentives and insurance and guarantee plans for foreign direct investment, so as to reduce some non-commercial risks that foreign direct investment may encounter and the risk of losing the convertibility of the currency of the invested country.
This in itself was an integral part of the Marshall Plan.
Through the establishment and implementation of the Bretton Woods system, the general agreement on Tariffs and trade and the Marshall Plan, the United States’ foreign economic strategy was finally implemented.
By the late 1950s, all major European currencies were freely convertible, and most of the exclusive bilateral arrangements and quantitative restrictions had disappeared.
A multilateral world financial and trading system centered on the US dollar has been established.
This system is established through the American capital and market to give play to the function of blood transfusion to Western Europe.
Therefore, there are internal contradictions in it.
In the 1940s and 1950s, when the US balance of payments was absolutely dominant, this system could be sustained, but once the US balance of payments deteriorated, adjustment was inevitable.
In the middle and late 1980s, the United States has changed from the world’s largest creditor to the largest net debtor.
The sharp expansion of the US current account deficit, the increasingly fierce domestic trade protectionism, the revival of Western Europe, the rise of Japan and the economic development of Asian and Latin American countries have all had an impact on the US economic arrangements, and the US position in foreign trade policy and relevant international organizations has been adjusted, From unilateral emphasis on free trade to equal emphasis on free and fair trade.
American trade policy began to find an economic and political balance between extreme protectionism before 1934 and “internationalism” after 1945.
The comprehensive trade and Competitiveness Act of 1988 continued this transformation and focused more on opening up foreign markets, with a stronger color of “fair trade”.
(2) the adjustment of the US foreign economic strategy after the cold war.
With the end of the cold war, great changes have taken place in the international political pattern and the world economic situation.
Facing the complex and changeable world economic landscape and new international competition, the traditional foreign economic strategy of the United States, that is, the principles of unilateral free trade and investment and multilateralism, has been questioned and challenged, and the foreign economic strategy of the United States has also begun to make major adjustments.1. Adjustment during the Bush administration the adjustment of the Bush administration in the field of foreign economy is based on the theory of comparative interest.
He believes in the power of free market and advocates minimizing government intervention in the economy.
Of course, he can’t formulate some industrial policies to improve the competitiveness of his own industries.
This is most clearly reflected in the policies of scientific research and high-tech industries.
Although the Bush administration is aware that many countries in the world provide government support for high-tech research and industrial development, it insists that such support cannot be economically efficient and hinders free competition.
Therefore, the Bush administration’s response is to seek to reduce such support through negotiations.
Compared with the Reagan administration, the Bush administration has taken new steps in adjusting its foreign economic strategy.
In May 1989, it submitted the outline of national trade policy to the Congress.
In addition to continuing to hold high the banner of “free and fair trade”, it first put forward five strategic priorities for U.S. foreign trade in the 1990s: first, complete the Uruguay round of multilateral trade negotiations of GATT at an early date and establish a more open and free international trade system.
Second, actively promote the process of North American economic integration and build a North American Free Trade Area.
Third, carry out structural negotiations with Japan to further open the Japanese market to the United States and reduce and eventually eliminate the huge trade deficit with Japan.
Fourth, ensure that the integrated EU does not set up trade barriers in the surrounding areas, so that the European market remains open, so that American products can freely enter the European unified market.
Fifth, expand and strengthen trade relations with the Asia Pacific region, properly handle the increasingly serious trade conflict between the United States and Asia, and correct the trade imbalance.
The outline of national trade policy constitutes the basic framework of the foreign economic strategy of the Bush administration, which has greatly improved.