Abstract

Over the last four decades, one area that has evolved rapidly in the international economy, albeit not without periodic setbacks, has been the domain of economic interdependence. As noted by Cooper (1968) early on,1 the increasingly close linkages that interdependence has prompted among national economies can either enhance or constrain their ability to pursue domestic objectives. From this vantage point, adaptation to economic interdependence can thus be described as a process that requires a demarcation of the boundaries of national freedom, an endeavor in which it is often useful to distinguish between systems based mainly on rules and regimes that lean instead on discretionary action.2 The issues involved in the process of demarcation and the distinction between the two types of systems are not exclusive to international economic relations, and examples of similar issues are numerous in other forms of country interactions. But the requirements of the process in most, if not all, areas call for the development of commonly agreed norms by reference to which the outer limits to individual country freedom can be established.