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Lecture 4

Poli244 Week 4-6 Readings.pdf

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Department
Political Science
Course
POLI 244
Professor
Jason Scott Ferrell
Semester
Fall

Description
AFTER HEGEMONY – KEOHANE Realist theories regard international relations as a state of anarchy, in which states judge its own causes and carry out its own judgements. • Problem: system-wide patterns of cooperation (such as those observed in finance, health, telecommunications) cannot be explained by realism o Institutionalist (liberal) theorists also predict that the increasing amount of economic interdependence post WWII will create an atmosphere more conducive for peace o • Problem: erosion of international regimes alongside American power; signs of decline in the extent to which powers cooperate leave dents in the most optimistic of Institutionalist theories • Hegemony typically only results after a large-scale conflict; during peace times weaker countries tend to gain on the hegemon. In the nuclear age, it is difficult to presume that a country will emerge prosperous and with hegemonic power. As the American hegemony erodes, it is therefore necessary to deal with preserving world peace in the absence of a hegemon. Coase Theorem Absent a central authority, which would facilitate exchanges, actors can still achieve mutually-benefiting agreements on their own via bargaining. However, the Coase Theorem depends on three conditions 1) Legal framework establishing liability for actions 2) Perfect information 3) Zero transaction costs None of these three exist in international politics -> opposite conclusion would appear to be true Coordination will often be thwarted by dilemmas of collective action. • Also, if 3) were to hold true, then the inherent instability of coalitions would result in infinite reconstructions of agreements/alliances 1) Legal liability • International regimes, while not legally binding, nevertheless serve the purpose of organizing actors along mutually beneficial lines. • These arrangements are similar to contracts or quasi-agreements; they're not designed to implement centralized enforcement of agreements, but rather to provide stable mutual expectations about others' patterns of behaviour. Like contracts/quasi-agreements, these institutions are very weak, and are vulnerable to change as momentary exigencies demand it. They are rarely enforced automatically, and they are not self-executing. 2) Transaction costs • International regimes can also provide legitimacy for/against actions. When an act outside of a regime can be seen simply as a pursuit of power, an act within a regime can be viewed as a violation, carrying future penalties. • It is similar to when a game of Prisoner's Dilemma moves from single play to iterated. • Regimes also facilitate an ease to negotiations simply from a bureaucratic sense. • In addition, regimes allow the easier introduction and use of side-payments. 3) Uncertainty and Information A) Asymmetrical information o Some actors may know more about a situation than others; the actor(s) that know less will therefore be suspicious of the situation, and tend to not be willing to accept the arrangement. When the situation is one that is mutually beneficial, asymmetrical information can be an obstacle to amelioration. o Communication does not always rectify this problem, as communication itself can be misleading and create asymmetrical information. o Better knowledge includes knowledge of an actor's future positions; therefore, in IR the reputation of governments become valuable. o International regimes help governments assess the reputation of others by providing a standard to measure against, by linking these standards to specific issues, and by providing forums for which these evaluations can take place. o International regimes may also provide unbiased information to actors. B) Moral hazard o Agreements may alter incentives to encourage less cooperative behaviour (insurance, “too-big-to-fail” banks, etc.) o Regimes may provide opportunities to monitor actor behaviour, to limit moral hazards C) Irresponsibility • Sometimes actors may be irresponsible, and make commitments which they cannot fulfil. This can occur when a commitment is made during prosperous times, and when adversity hits the actor finds itself no longer capable of meeting that same commitment. • Linkage of various issues raises the costs of irresponsibility. • Bound rationality and costs of calculation • Some theories assume the actor as perfectly rational calculators of available information. In reality, human beings are limited in cognitive abilities. • Herbert Simon theorizes that rather than maximizing, individuals practise “satisfice”; that is, they economize until a certain level – an “aspiration level”. • As there are costs to processing information, it is generally a good option to rely on a rule (always brush your teeth in the morning, etc.) rather than to spend resources on calculation for every single possible decision. • This problem is compounded with governments, who find it necessary to simplify their own decisionmaking processes in order to function effectively at all. TRANSNATIONAL ADVOCACY NETWORKS – KECK & SIKKINK Transnational Advocacy Networks – voluntary, reciprocal, horizontal patterns of communication and exchange working internationally on an issue, and whose actors are bound together by shared values, a common discourse and dense exchanges of information and services These multiply the channels of access to the international system by building new links among actors in civil societies, states and international organizations, and by blurring a state's relations with its own nationals and the recourse both citizens and states have to the international system, transforming the practice of national sovereignty in the process. ▯frame issues to make them comprehensible ▯promotes norm implementations ▯communicative structures ▯actors in advocacy networks: NGOs, social movements, media, intergovernmental orgs, government orgs and miscellaneous like churches trade unions and intellectuals ▯power of networks come from their ability to disseminate and alter information and ideas ▯this can be termed persuasion and socialization, but it also includes pressuring, arm-twisting, sanctions and shaming, in addition to reasoning Tactics 1)Information politics – the quick and credible generation of politically usable information and to move it where it will have the most impact 2)Symbolic politics – calling upon symbols, actions or stories that make sense of a situation for an audience that is frequently far away 3)Leverage politics – calling upon powerful actors to affect a situation where the network itself may have little influence 4)Accountability politics – holding powerful actors to their previously stated policies/principles Types/Stages of Network Influence 1)Issue creation and agenda setting Generating attention to new issues. Helps set agendas when they provoke media attention, debates, hearings and meetings on issues that had previously not been a matter of public debate. Involves modification of values context in which policy debates take place. i.e. UN theme years (Year of Indigenous Peoples) 2)Influence on discursive positions of states and international organizationsPressuring states and inter orgs to support international declarations or to change domestic policy. 3)Influence on institutional procedures e.g. Multilateral bank campaign changing internal bank directives to include greater NGO and local participation in project discussion 4)Influence on policy change in “target actors” which may be states, international organizations or transnational corporations Humanitarian groups achieving cutoffs in aid to oppressive regimes 5)Influence on state behaviour A government that makes a claim that it does X is more vulnerable to evidence that proves X to the contrary, compared to one that makes no claims at all. HYPOTHESES ON MISPERCEPTION – JERVIS To determine how he will behave, an actor must predict how others will act ahd how their actions will affect their values. • Must develop an image • Possibility of misperception Hypothesis 1: decision-makers tend to fit incoming information into their existing theories and images Their theories and images play a large part in determining what they notice ▯ Actors tend to perceive what they expect o A theory will have a greater impact on an actor’s interpretation of data (1) the greater the ambiguity of it, (2) the higher the degree of confidence with which the actors holds the theory. Hypothesis 2: scholars and decision-makers are apt to err by being too wedded to the established view and too closed to new information (instead of being too willing to alter their theories) ▯ Actors tend to establish their theories and expectations prematurely o This tendency happens also at the subconscious level Evidence available to decision-makers almost always permits several interpretations • Sometimes different stimuli produce same perception • Evidence almost always ambiguous; can’t pick out accurate cues of others’ intentions Decision-makers who reject information that contradicts their views often do so consciously and explicitly Desires have an impact on perception by influencing expectations • But net influence is not great, given all other factors When expectations and desires clash, expectations seem more important Safeguards for Decision-Makers • Decision-makers should be aware that they do not make “unbiased” interpretations of each new bit of info, but they’re heavily influenced by expectation theories o What appears to them as self-evident and unambiguous inference seems this way because of their preexisting beliefs o They should examine more closely evidence that others believe contradicts their views • Decision-makers should see if their attitudes contain consistent or supporting beliefs that are not logically linked o They should be suspicious if they hold a position in which elements that are not logically connected support the same conclusion o Related to psychology; not just substance of evidence o Actors who suddenly find themselves having an important shared interest with others have a tendency to overestimate the degree of common interest involved o States that have a tradition of limited cooperation (or a strong theory that differentiates occasional from permanent allies) find it easier to resist this tendency and need not devote special efforts to combating its danger • Decision-makers should make their assumptions, beliefs, and predictions that follow from them as explicit as possible. o Actors should try to determine early what evidence would count for/against their theories ▯ If you now what to expect, you know what to be surprised by. ▯ Surprise indicates that you need reevaluation • Decision-makers should prevent individuals/organizations from letting their main task, political future, and identity become tied to specific theories and images of others. • Decision-makers should realize that “a willingness to play with material from different angles and in the context of unpopular as well as popular hypotheses is an essential ingredient of a good detective, whether the end is the solution of a crime or an intelligence estimate” o Really difficult o They should have devil’s advocates around o Decision-makers will want to create conflicts among subordinates in order to make appropriate choices ▯ Want received data to be examined from different perspectives ▯ People just try to invalidate data; would work better if they actually supported views ▯ Safeguards should be adapted, but doesn’t reduce chance of misperception ▯ Would help with decision-makers making conscious choices about the way data were interpreted rather than assuming a one way view ▯ Reminds us of alternative images of others; and thus alternative policies Hypothesis 3: Actors can more easily assimilate into their est
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