The Capitalist World-System and U.S. Cold War Policies in the Core and the Periphery: A Comparative Analysis of Post-World War II American Nation-building in Germany and Korea

  • Y. Hugh Jo Westfield State University

Abstract

In response to the emerging cold war, why did the United States stress industrial expansion in Western Europe but focus on primary production alongside policing operations in the non-western world? Examining US postwar occupation in Germany and Korea from a world-systems perspective, this article argues that a given countrys standing in the capitalist economy generally shapes American foreign policy toward that particular country in the early cold war years. A paladin of system-wide prosperity and peace, the United States sought to restore the international division of labor after World War II. Reactions varied across the system, however, because of distinct socio-economic developments. The presence of capital-intensive export-dependent industry afforded western Germany flexible labor-management relations. Politics was overall stable there, and America dispensed with heavy-handed intervention. In southern Korea, labor-exploitive tenancy farming rendered interclass compromise virtually impossible. As intransigent peasants threatened the market economy, the United States used force to keep the ally in the system.
Published
2011-08-26
How to Cite
Jo, Y. H. (2011). The Capitalist World-System and U.S. Cold War Policies in the Core and the Periphery: A Comparative Analysis of Post-World War II American Nation-building in Germany and Korea. Journal of World-Systems Research, 17(2), 428-455. https://doi.org/10.5195/jwsr.2011.420
Section
General Section