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Military Power and Trade Policy – Roots of Contemporary Geopolitical Economy

Theoretical Engagements in Geopolitical Economy

ISBN: 978-1-78560-295-5, eISBN: 978-1-78560-294-8

Publication date: 22 September 2015


To discuss the historical roots of contemporary geopolitical economy, this paper aims to explore the complex and influential analysis of Tilly's formation of European national states as a predominant type of territorial political organization in contemporary world. To do this, Tilly described different eras of dominant organization of warfare in relation to state organization: patrimonialism, brokerage, nationalization, specialization. In this paper, we explore the link between the organization of military power and trade policy. We are trying to answer the question, if it is possible to credibly state a connection between the trade policy types pursued by selected states in specific historical periods and Tilly’s eras of dominant form of organization of warfare. For this purpose, we developed a typology of trade policies of important states throughout the history, using the economic history research of leading experts in the field. Our conclusion is that such a connection – between trade policy and Tilly’s eras of organization of warfare – can be made and that this connection is solidly supported by economic history. Our analysis may be of value for any critical assessment of international trade relations in contemporary geopolitical economy – and of influential cosmopolitan interpretations of the liberal trade regime of 19th century or globalization in 20th century.




We would like to thank Niall Harney for his invaluable editorial help in correcting and improving the prose in this paper.


Krpec, O. and Hodulak, V. (2015), "Military Power and Trade Policy – Roots of Contemporary Geopolitical Economy", Theoretical Engagements in Geopolitical Economy (Research in Political Economy, Vol. 30A), Emerald Group Publishing Limited, Bingley, pp. 205-234.



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