The North-South dichotomy is evident not only to political economists and foreign policy makers but to anyone who pays attention to the news. The gravity of the situation has become more pronounced since the admission, by the richer states, of a fiscal deficit problem and the possibility of a related global recession.
During the 1970s the picture looked very different. The countries involved in the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development gave the impression that they felt it their duty to help the Third World. Since the beginning of the 1980s, however, this attitude has disappeared from the foreign policy agenda of one developed country after another. It seems that only when a state's self-interest is at risk does a concern for humanistic values emerge.
Canada, Denmark, the Netherlands, Norway, and Sweden -- the key middle powers -- have long been regarded as significantly more responsive to the needs of the Third World than most of the other rich industrialized nations. Middle Power Internationalism helps to identify the scope and limitations of the foreign policies of these middle power countries with respect to what Cranford Pratt terms "humane internationalism." Asbjrn Lvbraek describes the major effort in the 1970s to mobilize middle power support for the New International Economic Order. Bernard Wood considers the prospects for effective co-operation between the middle powers of the North and the South. And Raphael Kaplinsky studies the likely impact of new technologies and new methods of production on the economies, and consequently on the North-South policies, of the industrial middle powers. Cranford Pratt concludes with a reflective essay in which he discusses the constraints upon middle power internationalism and the future of middle power diplomacy.