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Isolationism: Wikis


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Isolationism is a foreign policy which combines a non-interventionist military policy and a political policy of economic nationalism (protectionism). In other words, it asserts both of the following:

  1. Non-interventionism – Political rulers should avoid entangling alliances with other nations and avoid all wars not related to direct territorial self-defense.
  2. 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.

The policy or doctrine of trying to isolate one's country from the affairs of other nations by declining to enter into alliances, foreign economic commitments, international agreements, and generally attempting to make one's economy entirely self-reliant; seeking to devote the entire efforts of one's country to its own advancement, both diplomatically and economically, while remaining in a state of peace by avoiding foreign entanglements and responsibilities.

All the First World countries (the UK, United States, etc.) trade in a world economy, and experienced an expansion of the division of labor, which generally raised 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 advantage 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



Before 1999, Bhutan had banned television and internet to preserve its culture, environment, its identity etc. Eventually, Jigme Singye Wangchuck lifted the ban on Television and Internet. His son, Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck was elected as Bhutan is being transformed into a democracy.


After the Zheng He voyages in the 14th century, the foreign policy of the Ming Dynasty in China became increasingly isolationist. Hongwu Emperor was the first to propose the policy to ban all maritime shipping in 1371.[1] 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.


From 1641 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 Netherlands.[2]

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,[3] wage labor, increasing literacy and concomitant print culture,[4] laying the groundwork for modernization, even as the shogunate itself grew weak.[5]

Korea (Joseon Dynasty)

In 1863, King Gojong took the throne of Joseon Dynasty when he was childhood. His father, Regent Heungseon Daewongun, ruled for him until Gojong reached adulthood. During the mid 1860s he was the main proponent of isolationism and the instrument of the persecution of native and foreign Catholics, a policies that led directly to the French Campaign against Korea, 1866 and the United States expedition to Korea in 1871.

North Korea

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 South Korea and the West, North Korea has maintained close relations with China and often limited ones with other nations. They have banned all any media from South Korea, United States etc (such as Video games, newspapers, goods etc) and smuggling these products is illegal.


Just after independence was achieved, Paraguay was governed from 1814 by the dictator Dr. Francia, who closed the borders of the country and prohibited trade or any relation with the exterior until his death in 1840.

See also

Works cited

  1. ^ Vo Glahn, Richard. [1996] (1996). Fountain of Fortune: money and monetary policy in China, 1000-1700. University of California Press. ISBN 0520204085
  2. ^ 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.
  3. ^ Thomas C. Smith, The Agrarian Origins of Modern Japan, Stanford Studies in the Civilizations of Eastern Asia, Stanford, Calif., 1959,: Stanford University Press.
  4. ^ Mary Elizabeth Berry, Japan in Print: Information and Nation in the Early Modern Period, Berkeley: University of California Press, 2006.
  5. ^ 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.



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