Strategic Cooperation: Overcoming the Barriers of Global Anarchy

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John Mearsheimer laments that realists, like Walt, are in fact fighting a rear-guard action CQ Press Your definitive resource for politics, policy and people. Remember me? Back Institutional Login Please choose from an option shown below. Need help logging in? Click here. Don't have access? View purchasing options. Find in this title Show Hide Page Numbers. On This Page. Copy to Clipboard. Therefore, they have been classified as a global dead letter regime.

Due to the prevailing national character of implementation resulting in their overall global inefficiency, environmental preservation regimes were rated neutral with respect to both cooperation and coordination. As was expected, the domain of society is governed by the competitive logic of the security dilemma, yet the existing global security regimes provide for some regulation in the otherwise anarchical system by means of international law on dispute regulation, the normative relevance of the UN Charter and the role of the Security Council as well as the established rules under which force can be used formulated by the Geneva Conventions and its additional protocols.

Despite a lack of a supranational authority, the recognition of the established normative framework for the use of military means in old wars by virtually all states and a voluntary adherence to at least some of its principles indicate a globally established classic regime and provide evidence for the experienced need for a regulative framework in the system. This acknowledgement is already a big step towards a diminishing level of anarchy in the system, although not through cooperation in line with the mature anarchy scenario, but by means of coordination. The verified minimal stability provided by the existing status quo and its theoretical guarantee under international law can be threatened by revisionist states 7 or states with an offensive security doctrine, as those are most likely to violate the principles of the rules of war regime.

The overall amount of threat to international, national and individual security posed by these categories of states depends on their relative power. The more powerful a state is, the more threat it can pose.

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The adoption of an offensive security strategy or a revisionist position by a powerful system actor will inescapably decrease the overall level of security in the system. The resulting struggle over power can be expected to be carried out not through the instrument of old wars 8 as it used to be before the era of nuclear weapons, but by means of new wars 9 waged on the territories of secondary states most likely weakened by internal dispute.

In this case, humanitarian intervention mutates into a disguised instrument of power projection and, consequently, constitutes a threat to the national integrity of weak states, as well as to the international security on the whole. Due to its application as an instrument of active power projection, humanitarian intervention, unlike rules of war regimes, was rated as a destabilizing feature of the system. The presence of weak states in the system also constitutes a destabilizing feature of the international system due to the fact that weak states are likely to become either revisionist in nature or breeding places for armed conflicts and illegal activities of every kind, while their very existence may evoke a desire to conquer in strong states with offensive security strategies.

One way or another, weak states constitute a persistent source of systemic instability. Albeit not established as a global regime, anti-terrorist measures do certainly exist as a practice undertaken within regional voluntary coalitions of states and, therefore, occupy a security niche within the society domain. Hereby, there exist two major groups of states treating terrorism either as a military threat or a criminal activity. Due to the absence of an established global anti-terrorism regime and the diverse and regional character of current anti-terrorist undertakings, it was rated neutral in relation to both the facilitation of cooperation vs.

While within one coalition, cooperation on anti-terrorist measures can exert a stabilizing effect on the relations between the participating actors, at the same time it can antagonize non-participants, destabilizing the system. Furthermore, it is well possible that within such an anti-terrorist coalition, coordination determined by power relations turns out the dominating functional type. Summing up, the domain of society was found to favour coordination over cooperation, while revealing both stabilizing and destabilizing regimes. The main threats generated by this domain turned out to be caused by revisionist states, states with an offensive security doctrine and by the existence of weak states.

All three regimes identified for the domain of the economy were found to generate coordinated outcomes reflecting the current economic power relations in the system, whereby the resulting actions were found to have a destabilizing effect on the system. This conclusion coincides with the Marxist school of thought arguing for the conflict embedded in the capitalist system.

This is because the global free trade system is built around an exploitative relation on both the national class division and the international centre-periphery structure levels. This problem is intertwined with the problem of weak states, which is a direct consequence of the uneven distribution of wealth.

When following the Marxist line of thought suggesting that communism is the highest form of societal development in which oppressive mechanisms of the state are no longer needed and scientific management of things replaces the management of people [ 23 ], the idea of communism seems to resemble the idea of mature anarchy, which is institutionalized through global regimes functioning on the basis of cooperation in the framework of universal values.

Considering the verified destabilizing effect capitalism has on the system, the consequence is that the current set-up of the global economy entails the greatest obstacle to the establishment of a mature anarchy. By this, the establishment of a mature anarchy system turned out to depend on the economic dimension, which is unlike the other two society-determined models. This finding is contrary to the initial assumption suggesting that mature anarchy can be a result of globalization acting through the men-dimension.

In proportion as the antagonism between classes within the nation vanishes, the hostility of one nation to another will come to an end. By this statement, the authors basically reformulate my claim made above — the forces of globalization will only lead to a unification of the world under the aegis of universal values when the set-up of the global economy changes. By this, we have to assume that the mechanism required for the establishment of a mature anarchy is the transition from the current capitalist to a higher mode of production. The final threat entailed in the domain of the economy is connected to the use of economic instruments as means of power projection.

This source of insecurity is not governed by any type of regime, but regulated in bi- or multilateral agreements between countries provided that such have been concluded. In case they exist, those agreements often reflect the established alliances subordinated to their respective centres. The sensitivity and high polarization of that domain stems from the fact that it is used as one of the instruments of modern warfare — alike humanitarian intervention. Such a utilization of economic means coupled with an absence of any globally formulated rules turns this domain into one of the major destabilizing factors in the international system.

Thus, economy in its current form stands against any attempt to establish a mature anarchy system, while it also impedes coordination due to a lack of a regime regulating economic warfare, and exerts an overall destabilizing effect on the system forcing it towards bloc competition. Society constitutes a better-regulated domain, in which power-based coordination clearly dominates cooperation, thus, also implying the prevalence of the balance of power model.

The environmental domain turned out to generate cooperation as far as disaster management regimes were concerned. Environmental regimes, in general, also displayed features in favour of a mature anarchy system, yet — mainly due to the very different socio-economic characteristics of its participants — were still subjected to the national interest hindering cooperation. Summing up, both mechanisms through which the identified intervening variable of globalization acts turned out to clearly indicate a transformation of the system in line with the balance of power model.

The mental dimension attacked the values of people and the assumption that globalization might have a unifying potential through the creation of universal values turned out wrong. Instead of unifying the world, it has reactivated the sense of ethno-cultural affiliation dividing the world into civilizational blocs absorbed in inter-civilizational conflict.

The physical dimension of globalization entailed interlinkages, which have affected the three domains of human activity: society, economy and the environment. Apart from the environment, which constitutes a low political issue not governed by the security dilemma, both other domains revealed a clear inclination towards limited coordination on core security issues in the framework of a multipolar power system. Overall, it can be anticipated that regimes rated as having a regulative effect on the system will continue to exist as means of international regulation on core issues, while those identified as destabilizing can be expected to either disappear or to transform.

The states can be expected to remain the major organizational unit within the federative civilizational blocs. Thus, what we will deal with in this section are regional federations of states sharing a number of criteria making them stable geo-political entities internally and powerful externally. As in line with the tenets of realism, the security dilemma will continue to govern the system, yet it can be expected to mute due to a stabilizing effect exerted on the system by balanced power relations given that the blocs manage to adopt a defensive security strategy and settle on the new status quo in a regulative framework provided by means of a globally coordinated, nuclear arms-backed rules-of-the-game regime.

Cooperation on non-politicized issues can and has to continue taking place as in line with the results obtained from the analysis of models 1 and 2, yet without inducing a deeper integration between the units. Key: Internal Strength: 1. Socio-cultural homogeneity, 2. Intra-regional economic interdependence Free Trade Areas , 3. Geographic proximity; External Relative Power: 1. Existence of natural barriers, 2. Sufficient size, 3. Possession of nuclear weapons and second-strike capability, 4. Potential economic self-sufficiency, 5. Core state; Score: 0. No or negligible, 1.

Weak, 2. Medium, 3. As already touched upon above, in order to be stable, Balance of Power systems require a number of criteria. So, all participants have to be stable status quo powers with a defensive security doctrine. In order for this to happen, there need to be no weak or unaligned states in the system, while nuclear weapons shall be at the disposal of all major powers.

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This is due to the fact that the availability of nuclear weapons allows the deterrence logic to upgrade the defence as to make it prevalent over the offence in the national security strategy of an actor. This leads us to the precondition of the absence of weak or generally unaligned states within the new balance of power system as to exclude the option of proxy wars. Thus, if the system is globally divided between clearly defined territories belonging to nuclear armed status quo blocs, the probability of new wars to take place sharply decreases. As a result, the defence gains an overall comparative advantage over the offence among all rationally calculated security strategies, which solves the problem caused by otherwise offensive security doctrines.

This logic does not apply to revisionist states, though, which, by definition, will attempt to change the status quo despite rational calculations that would otherwise have favoured the defence. The stabilizing effect of the decreasing share of attention a nation can devote to another is explained by the authors by means of communication theory recognizing that if a signal drops below a certain signal-to-noise ratio, it becomes essentially undetectable.

Environmentalism in IR Theory

The same logic can be applied to social interaction. Thus, each state will treat messages from its most prominent adversary as the relevant signal and all other messages become the noise. The third argument for a higher stability of balance of power systems with multiple actors rests upon the Richardson model of arms race, which assumes that the conflict behaviour of each of the two parties in a bipolar power system grows at an exponential rate. The growth rate is determined by the competitive logic of the system, in which an increase in the armaments of one actor is perceived as a threat by the other actor and motivates a reciprocal response as to keep the previous ratio of arms budgets.

This leads not only to a growth in absolute amounts of arms, but also to increases in arms spending on both sides. Thus, the adjustments to arms expenditures one power has to undertake in case of an increase by its adversary in order to keep the balance of power are less than in a bipolar system due to the possibility of allying with second- and third-rank powers.

So, as long as the powers are free to move from one coalition to another and provided that their self-interest goes in favour of keeping the balance of power in the system, the arms race logic also favours a multipolar system over a bipolar one. To sum up, for the balance of power model to turn out stable, it needs to be multipolar and globally established as to withdraw the destabilizing presence of weak or unaligned states from the system. This will have a stabilizing effect provided that nuclear weapons allow for the adoption of a defence-based security strategy as a result of the double effect of the deterrence from a direct attack on an adversary power, while simultaneously excluding the option to compensate for old wars through the use of the instrument of new wars as a result of the absence of weak and unaligned states in the system.

Those criteria allowing for the defence to gain the upper hand over the offence generally do not apply to revisionist states, as the rational logic established above loses its validity with regard to powers attempting to change the status quo. By this, the stability of a Balance of Power system depends upon four major criteria: multiple actors, global establishment, nuclear weapons, no revisionist powers.

The European BoP system consisted of 5 actors, was regionally established, the major powers had not yet acquired nuclear weapons, while the German Empire, and Austro-Hungary to a lesser extent, were revisionist powers. By this, the only criterion fulfilled by the European balance of power system has been the numerical one. As a result of the lacking other criteria, an offensive security strategy was given priority by the majority of participants, which resulted in the First World War and a consequential demise of the BoP system.

The Cold War system, on the other hand, was a bipolar, virtually globally established system, in which the major actors had a sufficient nuclear arsenal at their disposal as to be used for deterrence and could generally be seen as settled status quo powers. Apart from its global character, the system yet entailed weak and pending states, in which the affiliation to one of the two powers was unclear or could be changed with relative ease by military, economic or political means.

This factor upgraded the offence as to turn an otherwise settled status quo power into a revisionist position. Despite, as established above, bipolar systems are prone to escalation by definition due to the highest available share of attention given in two-actor systems. As for the multipolar power system anticipated to be established in the coming years, eight potential civilizational blocs of unequal internal strength and external power could be delineated see Table 6.

Hereby, Japan could rather unequivocally be expected to cease to count as a separate power, because of it being too small, too deprived of resources and too militarily weak to survive in a world of civilizational blocs. Instead, it is likely to join the Chinese bloc due to geographic closeness and ethno-cultural similarity between the two. A legitimate, both internally and externally, centre, however, is one of the major preconditions for power acquisition — a factor directly dependent on internal stability. If we, nevertheless, assume the best case scenario for both the European and the Arab blocs with regard to their ability to retain as distinct blocs through internal stabilization at least in the short-run, we will find a world divided between seven blocs: three major ones, two stable and two potentially unstable second-rank powers.

With seven powers in the system, the number of interaction opportunities would amount to 21 and the share of attention — to 5 see Fig. To make a comparison, in a bipolar system there is only one possible dyad for interaction and, as a consequence, the share of attention amounts to Thus, a multipolar power system fulfils the first established stability criterion. The second criterion is a global establishment of the Balance of Power system.

It is given only partly primarily due to the dispersed and largely unaligned Africa all consisting of weak states, as well as the unaligned states in South-East Asia. This deficiency provides a source of instability of the balance of power system due to the dangerous presence of easy-to-conquer states, which potentially turns the defence-offence ratio in the national bloc strategy calculation in favour of the offence, by this, re-sharpening the security dilemma and reviving competitive behaviour between the major powers.

The distribution of nuclear weapons is uneven in the system. So, the three major powers have sufficient arsenals at their disposal as to profit from the deterrence logic theoretically allowing to apply a defence-oriented security strategy. Latin America does not hold nuclear weapons at all. As for the Arab bloc, its — although comparatively insufficient — arsenal of nuclear weapons and military capabilities in general represent a destabilizing systemic factor. This is due to the fact that the Arab bloc currently contains many radical revisionist actors attempting to change both the power distribution in the system and its organizing principles.

This factor is most likely to induce that the defence-over-offence logic rationally calculated by status quo powers in a global Balance of Power system backed by nuclear weapons will not apply for this actor. Another potentially revisionist actor in the system is the European Union. Its revisionism differs from that of the Arab bloc by the fact that it does not aim at a restructuring of the organizing principles of society, but a re-distribution of power and resources, by this, making its revisionism of an orthodox nature.

This manifests itself through continuous attempts to change the existing status quo through expansionist policy carried out by non-military means of enlargement, which threatens the status quo of the Russian civilizational bloc since the enlargement rounds of and when states traditionally belonging to the Russian sphere of influence were included in the EU, and decreases the overall level of security in the system as a result. The one exception to this general silence was E. IPE emerged as a distinct subfield of international relations in the wake of two contradictory trends: the rise of economic interdependence and the cracking of the political foundations that supported it Lake ; Cohen The reductions of trade and capital controls caused political scientists to pay greater attention to the effects of interdependence on world politics Cooper ; Keohane and Nye At the same time, the perceived decline in American hegemonic power, combined with the use of state power by OPEC countries to raise energy prices, caused international relations theorists to take a greater interest in international political economy.

Given this context, the initial wave of realist scholarship in IPE rested on two tenets: the importance of the autonomous state in international relations, and the ways that the distribution of power affected international economic structures. Realist scholarship in IPE represented an effort to bring the state back in. He articulated a mixture of economic and non-economic goals for the state with regard to foreign economic policy: maximizing national income and economic growth, and promoting social stability and political power.

For Gilpin, British hegemony allowed their massive capital exports in the nineteenth century, and facilitated U. Krasner argued that a multipolar world of great powers was likely to produce an economic system with low levels of openness. In a hegemonic system, however, the most powerful state will prefer an open system because openness increases its national income, economic growth, and relative political power.

The gap in power between the hegemon and other states will be great enough for other governments to also prefer openness. The first generation of realist scholarship was successful in shifting the IPE debate away from questions about the effects of interdependence on state behavior to questions about state power and state strength Katzenstein However, the institutionalist response posed both empirical and theoretical challenges to realism.

Numerous scholars Keohane ; McKeown ; Stein pointed out empirical inconsistencies with the hegemonic stability approach. Given the greater degree of observed cooperation in international economic affairs than in the security arena, Lipson suggested that realist concerns about defection under anarchy were misplaced in the global economy. Neoliberal institutionalism presented a theoretical challenge to realist arguments Keohane ; Axelrod ; Axelrod and Keohane ; Snidal These authors observed that even if one adopted realist assumptions about anarchy and the autonomy of the state, hegemony was not a necessary condition for cooperation in international economic affairs.

International regimes, institutions or great power concerts could act as a substitute for hegemonic power. Realist scholarship responded in two ways to the institutionalist challenge. Realists argued that the presence of relative gains concern made cooperation much less likely, even in economic affairs. Critics responded that the degree of relative gains concern had to be extremely high for these effects to kick in. This debate petered out in the early s. While the theoretical debate about absolute and relative gains captured much of the scholarly attention, it overlooked empirical work that bolstered support for the realist argument.

Both statistical analyses Pollins a , b ; Gowa , ; Gowa and Mansfield and case studies Holsti investigated the ways in which the distribution of power and alliance relationships affected bilateral trade flows. These studies concluded that states are more likely to create free-trade areas with their allies, and are more likely to do so under bipolarity than multipolarity. Mastanduno demonstrated that relative gains concern did impinge upon the Japanese—American bilateral economic relationship when Japan was at the peak of its economic power. Busch argued that, contrary to the rent-seeking argument, states applied strategic trade theory only when they believed that the benefits from such interventions would not cross borders.

The second realist response to institutionalism has been to point out the ways in which state power influenced the policy outcomes of international economic institutions. Scholars have demonstrated the myriad ways in which great powers — particularly the United States as the hegemon — use their influence within international economic institutions. A host of econometric studies demonstrate considerable U. Similar studies demonstrate the same kind of influence in World Bank lending Andersen, Hansen and Markussen ; Fleck and Kilby as well as the regional development banks Kilby Woods examines both formal and informal levers of influence in the Bank and Fund and finds considerable U.

Sen reaches a similar conclusion with regard to the influence of the United States over the WTO secretariat. Realists have also observed how great powers can use strategic forum-shopping among competing international regimes to alter institutionalist outcomes. There is an extensive literature in trade politics suggesting that a key source of U. Kapstein and Simmons demonstrated how market power enabled the United States and United Kingdom to act outside of existing international financial institutions to advance their preferred set of financial codes and standards.

Krasner showed how the United States picked and chose among different telecommunications regimes. Drezner ; performed a similar analysis for Internet governance and international regulatory regimes. This helps them to manage risk, and it increases their already substantial bargaining power. This response has generated greater IPE interest in the effects of nested and overlapping regimes. Aggarwal ; Raustiala and Victor ; Alter and Meunier There has also been some pushback on the long-term utility of realist analysis. Institutionalists pointed out the ways in which less powerful states could outperform hegemons within international organizations Bach and Newman Other scholarship suggested that non-state actors could strategically manipulate norms or ideas to blunt the effectiveness of market power Keck and Sikkink ; Prakash and Sell Stone argues that there is a costly tradeoff between the exercise of hegemonic power and the legitimacy of international regimes.

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Because the U. The scholarly trend over the past decade or two has been mutual neglect between realist scholarship and the study of the global political economy Guzzini ; Kirshner A few realist texts remain highly relevant for global political economy Gilpin Maliniak and Tierney observe, however, most IPE researchers who cite realist scholarship do so largely to use it as a straw man for their own theoretical arguments. The next section explores why this is so. It is an exaggeration to say that realism is extinct in studying the global political economy — but realists do appear to be an endangered species in the subfield.

Why is this the case? There are four interrelated reasons why realism and IPE appear to have parted ways. First, realism offers an incomplete explanation for the variables of interest to international political economy scholars. Second, realism has not coped well with the second era of economic globalization. Third, realists have been by and large unwilling to factor in second image variables into their IPE analyses — in sharp contrast to what the paradigm has done in security studies.

Fourth, the development of formal and quantitative methodologies within the IPE subfield has alienated many realist scholars — and the feeling is mutual. Realism has provided some important insights about defining the state as an actor, and articulating the ways in which the distribution of power can affect international economic structures. At this level, realism is a remarkably parsimonious model. However, its predictive power is somewhat limited.

When Eichengreen tested hegemonic stability theory on the international monetary system, he found that while it could explain the board brush strokes of variation, significant elements of the historical narrative were left unexplained. When Krasner tested this approach for six historical periods, he found that his theory could only predict the result in half of the cases. Social science theories need to do better than a coin flip. In these cases, however, at least there was variation in both the independent and dependent variables.

Joseph Grieco Anarchy and the limits of cooperation

Part of the problem with realist models of IPE is that the key variables are either constant an autonomous state or very slow moving the distribution of power. Helleiner , for example, has demonstrated the crucial role that states have played in enabling financial globalization. For IPE scholars interested in more fine-tuned variations in variables, however, realist causal mechanisms provide little explanatory power. Structural realists like Waltz are primarily interested in explaining persistent regularities in the international system. Variation on key dimensions of the global political economy — trade liberalization, regional integration, exchange rate regimes, foreign direct investment flows — remain largely unexplained.

Realism, as it currently stands, is an underspecified theory in the global political economy. Realists have mostly ignored the study of transnational regulatory arrangements, overlooking a burgeoning area of IPE research Vogel ; Braithwaite and Drahos ; Mattli and Woods Part of the realist disregard for IPE is grounded in the belief that the world economy is only salient to world politics as a dependent variable.

The realist paradigm believes that systemic variables do affect patterns in the global economy; for them, the causality runs in only one direction, however. Realists of most stripes argue that international economic exchange has no impact upon the international political system. Gilpin , as always, is an obvious and important exception.

Historically, this belief emanates from debates about the effects of economic interdependence on state behavior Buzan ; Gowa ; Kirshner Over time, however, the refusal to acknowledge economic factors as an independent variable has morphed into caricature. Robert Pape , for example, argues that economic coercion is futile in world politics because of the robust ability of states to resist external pressure. This argument succeeded in attracting attention and debate Elliott ; Baldwin and Pape It also ignored more careful scholarship that examined precisely when economic power can affect politico-military outcomes Knorr ; Baldwin ; Kirshner ; Drezner To be sure, some realist scholars have engaged in nuanced studies of the phenomenon Gilpin ; Kirshner What I found to be true in remains true today: the world is less interdependent than is usually supposed.

The empirical flaw is the failure to recognize how the world has changed in the past four decades. By any metric, the globalization process has intensified during that time, imposing real constraints on the autonomy of the state Goodman and Pauly ; Mosley Both the Asian financial crisis and the world financial crisis plainly demonstrated the global interconnectedness of national markets. Conceptually, this statement confuses interdependence, which is a relational concept between states, and globalization, which refers to a more systemic effect that encompasses non-state actors and factors.

While other scholars have also committed this conceptual sin Keohane and Nye , realists have been particularly guilty Kirshner An approach that concedes the significance of globalization but asks how states try to maximize their relative advantage in such a world is more fruitful than the current realist gambit of assuming the phenomenon away. This is curious for several reasons. First, the overlap between international political economy and comparative political economy has undoubtedly increased over time.

The rest of IPE scholarship has certainly embraced the use of second image variables Frieden and Martin Second, realists have had no trouble incorporating second image variables into their work on security studies. Multiple variants of realism have factored in domestic interests, domestic institutions, bureaucratic politics, and ideational variables in order to explain national security policies Snyder ; Rose ; Mearsheimer and Walt They have incorporated so many of these variables into their security work that some scholars have questioned the internal consistency of the realist paradigm Legro and Moravcsik This is especially puzzling because the first generation of realist IPE scholarship was quite comfortable with the inclusion of domestic politics within their explanations.

Krasner posited that powerful domestic interests could act as a constraint to prevent great powers from altering their foreign economic policies in response to shifts in the distribution of power. Gilpin identified citizen resistance to lowering consumption rates as one factor that contributes to the rising costs of hegemony. In the s, there was interest in idea of treating state strength as a variable rather than a constant Katzenstein Gilpin :3 acknowledges the need to consider the domestic dimension in explaining the foreign economic policies of great powers; few realists have followed his lead.

The final reason for the failure of realism to maintain interest in IPE has been the reluctance to embrace the methodologies currently used in the subfield. As Maliniak and Tierney observe, an increasing fraction of IPE journal publications have used the now-standard techniques of economics: formal models and econometric tests. These intellectual currents mirror the shift in the training of graduate students in IPE towards rigorous quantitative and formal methodologies Farrell and Finnemore Realists have been far more skeptical about the utility of rational choice models Walt To be sure, the disdain is mutual.

Economists have treated non-formal international relations scholarship with condescension Eichengreen Some rational choice scholars have written about realism with undisguised contempt Niou and Ordeshook Non-realist scholars in IPE have also expressed concerns about methodological narrowness in the field. The degree of mutual hostility has led to a breakdown in the exchange of ideas and criticism across paradigms. The resulting dialogue of the deaf serves neither the subfield in particular nor social science in general particularly well.

Realist IPE scholarship is perceived as endangered at precisely the moment when scholarly interest in the global political economy is on the increase. As a general rule, the study of global political economy gets more interesting during downturns. If that rule continues to hold, then the study of IPE is suddenly very interesting indeed. There are ongoing debates over the future of U.

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The time would seem to be propitious for a realist revival in the study of the global political economy. At the same time, realist scholarship will need to make some intellectual adjustments in order to avoid being perceived as a degenerative research program. Obviously, realists cannot and should not get rid of their core assumptions. Nevertheless, when trying to explain foreign economic policies, the paradigm needs to pay greater attention to state-level variables that emanate comparative political economy.

If realists could incorporate insights from historical institutionalism Thelen and the varieties of capitalism literature Hall and Soskice into their models, they would likely develop more fruitful lines of inquiry in IPE. Helleiner also gets at this in his discussion of economic nationalism.

Integrating this research would also allow realists greater comfort with economic methodologies, without being subsumed by them. The realist paradigm and rational choice methodologies are not incompatible. While realists are unlikely to ever be significant producers of formal and econometric research, they must be intelligent consumers of these methods.

Defining Structure

Similarly, if realists took a greater interest in the history of economic thought — particularly the ebbs and flows of mercantilism — they might be better placed to engage constructivist scholarship on the role that ideas and norms play in the global economy. In reconsidering their research agenda going forward, realists might need to find ways to link up to modern mercantilism. As previously noted, current work on economic nationalism largely operates in the Keynesian vein of promoting domestic autonomy.

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