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Summary

The first international history of the emergence of economic sanctions during the interwar period and the legacy of this development

Economic sanctions dominate the landscape of world politics today. First developed in the early 20th century as a way of exploiting the flows of globalization to defend liberal internationalism, their appeal is that they function as an alternative to war. This view, however, ignores the dark paradox at their core: designed to prevent war, economic sanctions are modeled on devastating techniques of warfare.

Tracing the use of economic sanctions from the blockades of World War I to the policing of colonial empires and the interwar confrontation with fascism, Nicholas Mulder uses extensive archival research in a political, economic, legal, and military history that reveals how a coercive wartime tool was adopted as an instrument of peacekeeping by the League of Nations. This timely study casts an overdue light on why sanctions are widely considered a form of war, and why their unintended consequences are so tremendous.

©2022 Nicholas Mulder (P)2022 Tantor

What listeners say about The Economic Weapon

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Thorough - maybe change title?

It's thorough and expert and well read. Very interesting in parts. It's just mostly about the history of sanctions, largely WW1/2 and intervening periods (in detail). Which is fine, but like others I maybe expected/wanted discussion of modern sanctions (Iran, North Korea etc). Set me up with a good foundation of knowledge to now find that though.

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Profile Image for Mehdi Mollahasani
  • Mehdi Mollahasani
  • 05-03-22

History of sanctions during the early 20th century

It’s beneficial to understand the origins of sanctions and how it was applied to Italy, Japan, and Germany by the US, UK, and France. The book will change your perspective about sanctions as a tool of warfare.

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  • CMcCarty
  • 18-04-22

Extraordinarily researched but dwells on WWs

The book is extremely detailed, which is both an asset and detraction. Extensive coverage of pre-WWI through WWII but then takes a zip through the last 70+ years of applications of economic sanctions with really unsatisfying lack of coverage. I would have preferred a lot less of cataloging the specific goods at which tonnage of deficit moving through which channel each year, and instead covering contemporary uses with more specificity than the massive sweeping generalizations given. It's more appropriate to consider this a history of economic sanctions from the late 1800s-1947.

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  • HonestOpin
  • 23-03-22

Outstanding!

Outstanding! Highly relevant to current world events. Vividly places modern use of sanctions in their historical context. Professionally narrated.

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  • Jeff Lacy
  • 16-03-22

Fast reading

A timely subject, this a densely informative and illuminating commentary on the effective application of economic sanctions under the rules of the League of Nations during the interwar years, WWII, and post-WWII under The United Nations. Liam Gerrard reads fast. I read the book while simultaneously using the Audible. I had to stop, reverse, and begin again many, many times, as the information is dense, the writing style is a bit graduate level, and Gerard’s reading pace is rapid. I guess I could have slowed it down, and on rereading I will because this is a book meaningful enough for such study.