Is Neutrality Dead? Neutrality and Economics during War

Jeremy Land, University of Gothenburg
Jari Eloranta, University of Helsinki

The current war in Ukraine has cast in stark contrast the growing difficulties for nations and institutions to stay neutral in military and political conflicts. Even major companies are being pressured by the public and some states to pick a side between the Western world and Russian aggression. This paper explores the question of whether neutrality is possible in the globalized economy of not just the third decade of the 21st century, but whether states could effectively maintain neutrality in the past. Beginning with the Revolutionary and Napoleonic wars of the late 18th and early 19th centuries until the present day, we explore efforts to maintain neutrality by various states, focusing on major global conflicts. We find that neutrality was, by and large, impossible to achieve long before the current conflict in and around Ukraine.

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 Presented in Session 79. Economics of War