With the end of the Cold War, and until 9/11/01, many academic and journalistic pundits averred that military power was no longer of great importance, that the future lay with economic power. The claim was made that the United States was an "economic superpower," and therefore would continue to be the world's dominant power in any case. Does this term mean anything other than "biggest national economy?" If so, what exactly does it mean? This paper will discuss the concept of economic power, and then apply the concept to the proposal of John Mearsheimer, the R. Wendell Harrison Distinguished Service Professor of Political Science pat the University of Chicago, that on strategic (balance of power) grounds the United States should take steps to slow down the economic growth of China.
Working Paper 04–02, Weatherhead Center for International Affairs, Harvard University, April 2004.