The Trilateral Commission; Its Goals And World Policy--A Latin American Connection?

Date of Award




Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)


Latin American and Caribbean Studies


The impact of the Trilateral Commission on international politics is examined within the construct of both power elite theory and transnational relations theory.The Commission was founded in order to enhance the cooperative relations among Japan, Western Europe and North America. Its membership, "a marriage of the intellectual and influential" is enjoined to advance Commission proposals in their own nations and influence decision makers throughout the industrialized world. However, subsequent goals and policies (or non-policies) of the Trilateral Commission are difficult to discern because they are shaped over time in an ongoing process of decision making in the policy arena.There is disunity of interest among the Trilateral-based multinational corporations and international banks operating in Latin America. The Latin American connection to the Trilateral Commission is suggested through the confluence of the Commission's policy with that of the IMF in preserving the stability of the world financial order in the face of the Latin American debt crisis.The inner workings of the Commission, its varied membership, and its often unsuccessful struggle for consensual thrust are convincing evidence that the Trilateral Commission is not a monolithic policy making arm of a transnational capitalist class. The economic and political issues carefully selected by the Commission's staff to encourage consensus often create conflict within the Commission's own elite network and with the state policies of the Trilateral countries which desire to retain or extend national control over international relations.The impact of the Trilateral Commission on world policy can be partially ascribed to its role as a facilitator in the redistribution of power among Trilateral governments and international organizations. It coordinates and acts as a vehicle for policy suggestions, provides an overview of the interlinkages among the various national policies of the Trilateral countries and keeps the perception of Trilateral and world interdependence before governments. The Trilateral Commission is an elite transnational network which can affect, even if indirectly, international and domestic policies not only in the Trilateral World but in Latin America and the rest of the Third World as well.


Political Science, International Law and Relations

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