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Beyond Economics: The Political Risks of a US-China Trade War

Published by in Publication · 3 August 2018
Tags: USChinaEUTradeWarEconomicsSecurityInternationalPoliticsPoliticalRisk
Greetings, and welcome back for another publication!

The prospect of a global-scale trade war initiated by the Trump administration against the EU and especially China has sparked an intense debate. But while most analysts and politicians focus on the economic consequences this could have, fewer have considered the potential political fallout.

In my latest article on Geopolitical Monitor I examine this aspect by applying a theoretical model presented by M. Sahlins in his book Stone Age Economics. Trade is not only about exchanging goods, it's also a social activity that can be assimilated to one of the three forms of reciprocity that Sahlins identifies, namely the one he defines as balanced reciprocity: an impersonal yet peaceful exchange. But if states start clashing over trade, there is a risk that they will shift towards negative reciprocity, whose characteristic activity is war.

Find my article here.

Photo credit: Flickr, modified

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