Paul Bodnar email@example.com Reading Outline for IR Field Seminar, Week 2 Robert O. Keohane, After Hegemony: Cooperation and Discord in the World Political Economy (Princeton, 1984), Chapter 1 Keohane fuses aspects of neorealism and institutionalism to show that cooperation can arise among self-interest maximizing states in the anarchic international system even in the absence of a hegemon. His argument is clearly prompted by historical factors specific to the time in which he wrote the book (date of publication, 1984). His starting points are: The period of US hegemony has concluded with the rise of Japan and Europe as economic powers and the continuing military superpower status of the Soviet Union International cooperation peaked in the decades after World War II and is in general, though not uniform, decline. “Cooperation” defined as active attempts, derived from shared interests, to adjust policies to meet the demands of others Explanandum: under what conditions can independent countries cooperate in the world political economy in the absence of a hegemon? Examines only advanced market economies. Examines only situations where common interests are already given (formation of such interests is exogenous to his model). Substantive points Hegemony cooperation interdependence regime continuity even in the absence of hegemony. Thus hegemony can facilitate cooperation but is neither necessary nor sufficient condition (more important for initiating than maintaining cooperation). Institutions can be sticky. “Hegemony and international regimes can be complementary, or even to some extent substitute for each other: both serve to make agreements possible and to facilitate compliance with rules.” (15) But also: hegemony cooperation interdependence rising state intervention in domestic economy more points of friction and discord in international relations In more detail: One state-level reaction to shield citizens from effects of interdependence is to increase the degree of government intervention in domestic affairs (principally the economy). Both interdependence and intervention create more points of friction and vulnerability. Thus cooperation can lead to more discord in international politics, and there is a need to distinguish between harmony and cooperation. International regimes have formed for purposes beyond the balance of power, and their formation can be explained by egoist, rational choices of states in an anarchic system. Uses rudimentary game theory and theories of market failure and rational choice to show why cooperation through international institutions makes sense even if states make entirely self-interested decisions Institutions reduce transaction costs and uncertainty, limit information asymmetries, and “tie governments to the mast” by generating audience costs for reneging. Empirical examination of post-war period (through early 1984) and patterns of emergence and decay (or resilience) of international regimes for trade, energy, finance. Situating the work in the theoretical landscape Keohane’s theoretical perspective, in this and in other works, layers institutionalism on neorealism. His starting point is Waltzean realism, accepting the anarchic nature of the international system as well as its lack of inherent guiding ideals and values. But Keohane notes that this view does not explain “system-wide patterns of cooperation that benefit many countries Paul Bodnar firstname.lastname@example.org without being tied to an alliance system directed against an adversary.” (7). Thus he moves to incorporate the arguments of institutionalists who view international cooperation as an outcome of rational states seeking to maximize their own interests through joint gains (though Keohane disparages institutionalists who “incorporate in their theories excessively optimistic assumptions about the role of ideas in world politics” (8). He sets out to disprove realists’ pessimistic conclusions about the prospects for cooperation, using the realist framework itself as a starting point. “Realist theories that seek to predict international behavior on the basis of interest and power alone are important but insufficient for an understanding of world politics… [and] need to be supplemented… by theories stressing the importance of international institutions.” (14) This work offers an effective critique of hegemonic stability theory which had gained currency in the late 1970s. Critiques An important synthesis of realism and institutionalism, helping shed light on why international regimes not strictly tied to balance of power politics form and persist even as underlying power dynamics shift in the international system At least in this introduction, does not address the distinction between absolute and relative gains. International regimes (e.g. trade agreements) may provide joint gains but in an anarchic system, units are also (principally?) concerned with the distributional consequences of those gains. A bold but hasty attempt to make generalized theoretical conclusions about international politics in a period of flux. Succumbs to the temptations of historical myopia: he gives undue weight to the last quarter century of events, assuming that a) the current configuration of the international system represents something new under the sun, and b) its essential characteristics will persist. That’s how he gets to the statement: “As long as the world political economy persists… its central political dilemma will be how to organize cooperation without a hegemon.” (10) Even ten years later, he would have seen the imprudence of building an argument on such assumptions.
Pages to are hidden for
"Paul Bodnar bodnar fas harvard edu Reading Outline for"Please download to view full document