The Emergence of a Global Economic Order: From Scientific Internationalism to Infrastructural Globalism

  • Anat Leibler


The objective of this paper is to trace the chronological process of establishing global infrastructure of economic order, beginning with the foundation of scientific organizations at the turn of the century and the years following World War I, through the Bretton Woods Conference of 1944, until the construction of economic statistics commissions at the League of Nations, and later on, the United Nations. The paper examines this global development which is bound by two main processes of standardization, a transition from local voluntary initiatives of scientific societies to better the world with science and to improve coordination between countries, titled “scientific internationalism”, to the establishment of coercive international institutions that reinforce global economic order during the postwar era, termed as “infrastructural globalism”. The first part of the paper centers on Canada and its role in leading the standardization of economic statistics around the British Empire. A pivotal moment of this initiative was a conference held in 1920 in London and titled “First Conference of Government Officers Engaged in Dealing with Statistics in the British Empire”. The conference dealt with the establishment of imperial statistical bureaus in the British colonies. The second part of the paper, dealing with infrastructural globalism, describes the construction of the SNA and its dissemination as a direct consequence of the Bretton Woods Conference and the economic world order it established.


Standardization Economic statistics Infrastructural globalism Scientific internationalism Bretton Woods order UN System of National Accounts 


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© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Anat Leibler
    • 1
  1. 1.Bar Ilan UniversityRamat GanIsrael

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