This study addresses the gap between the industrialized nations of the North and the developing nations of the South - particularly through the maritime trade and industry - as the central problem of the international political economy in the twentieth century. Trade is the largest contributor to the asymmetrical relationships and ensuing conflicts that have emerged between the North and the South since the days of the Industrial Revolution. Shipping has played a pivotal role as the vector or artery through which this trade is conducted and in which this pattern of inequality has only recently been challenged by the South. Okechukwu C. Iheduru describes the conflict, providing a comprehensive analysis and explanation of why weak actors often fail to effect changes in the regimes that govern their international relations. One such failed attempt is the quest by the South for a new international maritime order (NIMO), which emerged after the 1974 United Nations Convention on a Code of Conduct for Liner Conferences as a derivative of the demand for a new international economic order (NIEO). Empirical generalizations and comparisons are drawn from the experiences of three West African countries (Cote d'Ivoire, Ghana, and Nigeria) and four countries in Southeast Asia (South Korea, Singapore, Thailand, and Indonesia). Iheduru's main argument is that the failure of NIEO and its derivative, the NIMO, is related to the constraints of "late industrialization," especially technological changes, the distribution of power in world shipping, competing nationalism, and the state-society interaction in the policy process. Except in South Korea and Singapore, the attempt by the South to develop national merchant fleets to change the liberal shipping regime failed because of their inability to match the rapidity of change in the maritime industry, overcome the head start of the traditional maritime states in world trade, suppress arrogant nationalism for the efficiency of regional cooperation, and nurture capitalism under state policies beneficial for trade and merchant marine. The late-industrialization theory developed by Alexander Gerschenkron is modified to capture adequately the multifaceted dimensions of North-South relations in general and the fractures in the shipping sector in particular. A discussion of the role of structures, agency, and intragroup politics in development is integrated into one unified framework of analysis.