This Paper revisits a crucial question of international relations: How - under which circumstances, by what means and on the basis of which capabilities - is it possible for states to pursue their preferences and political agendas against the will of others, i.e. to wield power in the international system.
Focal point of the analysis is the area of international trading relations and their national foundation; the term trade power therefore acts as the central theme within this model. The view that economic capabilities are a source of power has a long lineage, but it is rarely fully recognized and integrated into a coherent framework of analysis.
This article represents an attempt to connect the underlying assumptions of economic power in International Relations debates with the wider context of power theories and international political economy. It combines standard approaches that analyze national capabilities and the concept of interdependence separately and adds a comprehensive classification of the major sources and means of power relationships.