is a foreign policy
which combines a non-interventionist
military policy and
a political policy of economic
other words, it asserts both of the following:
- Non-interventionism –
Political rulers should avoid entangling alliances with other nations
and avoid all wars not related to direct territorial self-defense.
- Protectionism – There should
be legal barriers to control trade and cultural exchange with
people in other states.
"Isolationism" has always been a debated political topic. Whether
or not a country should be or should not be isolationist affects
both living standards and the ability of political rulers to
benefit favored firms and industries.
First World countries (the UK, United States, etc.) trade in a world economy, and are
experiencing an expansion of the division of labor, generally
raising living standards.
However, some characterize this as
"a wage race to the bottom" in the manufacturing industries that
should be curtailed by protectionism. Some argue that isolating a
country from a global division of labor—i.e. employing
protectionist trading policies—could be potentially helpful. The
consensus amongst most economists is that such a policy is
detrimental, and point to the mercantilism
of the pre-industrial era as the
classic example. Others argue that as the world's biggest consumer,
with its own natural resources, the U.S. can wisely dictate what
conditions can apply to goods and services imported for U.S.
consumption, misunderstanding the nature of prices and their
emergent, non-centrally planned, nature. Countries and regions
generally enjoy a comparative
over others in some area. Free trade between
countries allows each country to do what it does best, and benefit
from the products and services that others do best. But "best" too
often means monetary, excluding human and ecological costs, due to
firms externalizing costs as a result of inadequately defined
property rights. Protectionism allegedly interferes in the market
process, making people poorer than they would be otherwise.
Isolationism by country
Zheng He voyages in the 14th century, the
foreign policy of the Ming Dynasty in China became
increasingly isolationist. Hongwu
was the first to propose the policy to ban all maritime
shipping in 1371. The Qing Dynasty that came after the Ming often continued the latter
dynasty's isolationist policies. Wokou
or Japanese pirates were one of the key primary concerns, although
the maritime ban was not without some controversy..
neutrality has been a policy of the Irish Free State and its successor the
Ireland since independence from the United Kingdom of Great Britain and
Ireland in 1922.
This policy led to Ireland's
neutral stance during World War
Economically, the Navigation Acts
restricted and taxed Irish trade, to the detriment of her economy,
which was also affected badly by the Corn
. These were introduced to protect Britain against reliance
on cheap imports of grain, and to safeguard the income and power of
hereditary landowners rather than business interests. The Corn Laws
were campaigned against by those who favoured a return to a more
free trade practice. In the late 1840s, when British shipping had
achieved a world monopoly, those protectionist acts and laws were
to 1853, the Tokugawa shogunate
of Japan enforced a
policy which it called sakoku.
The policy prohibited foreign
contact with most outside countries. However, the commonly held
idea that Japan was entirely closed is misleading. In fact, Japan
maintained limited-scale trade and diplomatic relations with
China, Korea, the
Ryukyus and the
The culture of Japan developed with limited influence from the
outside world and had one of the longest stretches of peace in
history. During this period, Japan developed thriving cities and
castle towns and increasing commodification of agriculture and
domestic trade, wage labor, increasing literacy and concomitant
print culture, laying the groundwork for modernization, even as the
shogunate itself grew weak.
The foreign relations of North Korea are often tense and
unpredictable. Since the ceasefire of the Korean War
in 1953, the North Korean government
has been largely isolationist, becoming one of the world's most
authoritarian societies. Technically still in a state of war with
Korea and the West, North
Korea has maintained close relations with China and often limited ones with other
Just after independence was achieved, the country was governed from
1814 by the dictator Dr. Francia
closed the borders of the country and prohibited trade or any
relation with the exterior until his death in 1840.
Interwar years (1918-1939), the
States claimed to have had a foreign policy of
non-intervention and neutrality in foreign affairs.
such claims of isolationism, the United States was a burgeoning
imperalist empire at the turn of the 20th-century. Hence, the
United States found it increasingly difficult to present itself as
being neutral in such conflicts as World War
and World War II
under-reported widespread opposition held by the American
- Vo Glahn, Richard.  (1996). Fountain of Fortune: money
and monetary policy in China, 1000-1700. University of California
Press. ISBN 0520204085
- Ronald P. Toby, State and Diplomacy in Early Modern Japan:
Asia in the Development of the Tokugawa Bakufu, Stanford,
Calif.: Stanford University Press, (1984) 1991.
- Thomas C. Smith, The Agrarian Origins of Modern Japan,
Stanford Studies in the Civilizations of Eastern Asia, Stanford,
Calif., 1959,: Stanford University Press.
- Mary Elizabeth Berry, Japan in Print: Information and
Nation in the Early Modern Period, Berkeley: University of
California Press, 2006.
- Albert Craig, Chōshū in the Meiji Restoration,
Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1961; Marius B. Jansen,
Sakamoto Ryōma and the Meiji Restoration, Princeton, N.J.:
Princeton University Press, 1961.