Class Notes (837,186)
Canada (510,155)
POLI 244 (357)


4 Pages
Unlock Document

Political Science
POLI 244
Mahesh Shankar

WEDNESDAY, JULY 11, 2012: Liberalism  “the optimistic foil to Realism”  Liberal scholars are very diverse with explanations and angles, but they all are preoccupied with cooperation and peace.  Liberals see cooperation is possible, and the primary problem to be resolved is the issue of cheating or the potential of cheating (a much more manageable issue that realism’s power/security issue).  Assumptions of Liberalism: o They look at not just the structure of the international system, but the “processes.” They don’t believe that the structure predetermines how the world will work, so the units do matter. o They feel anarchy is not so dangerous (realism says it is inherently dangerous and a permissive condition for war)- states can interact among themselves to shape how things work. They care about bargaining over trade deals, arms control, and territorial boundaries. It is all about uncertainty and cheating in the bargaining process, not survival. They do agree anarchy exists, but the only real problem for anarchy is this difficulty in cooperation among states. They don’t see anarchy as insurmountable. o They believe states can have different interests (contrary to realism’s billiard ball theory). Some states are concerned about security; others are more concerned with acquiring economic wealth, etc. In essence, liberals say what states are most interested in is welfare, not necessarily security. They believe states are concerned with absolute gains, not relative gains. They have a problem with how realists assume interests of states. The assumptions about states interests should come from their domestic politics, which shapes state preferences. (For realists, domestic politics do not matter). o Other actors apart from states actually matter. They don’t contest that states are important, but they argue they are not the only important actors. MNCs, IOs, etc. are important, because international organizations and institutions shape state preferences and behaviour.  Cooperation and cheating: All deals carry a risk of being cheated, but what is at stake is not always survival. Given anarchy and certainty, there is always the issue of states backing out of agreements. The consequences of getting cheated for realists are drastic because their survival is at stake—this is why realists always talk about relative gains.  Game theory illustrate how states can cooperate: game theory is a way of modeling decision making based on options, actor preferences, and how they will interact with each other.  Game 1: Prisoner’s Dilemma o Prisoners dilemma preferences: 1. You defect, partner cooperates (0 years) 2. Both cooperate (2 years) 3. Both defect (3 years each) 4. Partner defects, you cooperate (6 years) o DC > CC > DD > CD o The prisoner's dilemma suggests there is a tendency to engage in conflict, even when it may be better to cooperate. Unintentionally, given your circumstances, you both end up cheating on each other. Rationally, both sides are going to defect. Even rational behaviour can lead to sub optimal outcomes. o Threats backfire, and will lead to mistrust and a security dilemma o In a realist world, the costs of being cheated are too high (survival is at stake), so they focus on relative gains. o How to get out of Prisoner’s dilemma (optimistic/liberal view): Anarchy’s effects can be mitigated. You can make cooperation more likely by changing the degree to which each outcome is better than the one before it—manipulate the gap in values. You can do this by increasing the value of mutual cooperation, decreasing the cost of the sucker’s payoff, decrease the gains and raise the costs of cheating or exploitation, or by decreasing the gain and increasing the costs of mutual defection. Jervis argues this can happen due to what he terms the “offense-defense balance,” the realist way of how anarchy can be mitigated. If defense becomes dominant, the sucker’s payoff value decreases and cooperation becomes easier. The caveat of this is that every state has to know the distinction between offense and defense, and they need to know that defense is dominant over offense. Liberals believe that we don’t need to rely on just geography or technology to mitigate anarchy, and it can be done primarily through international institutions. Liberals believe that over time, it leads to states trusting each other, making cooperation all the more likely. o Realists say games like this are one-shot only- and playing multiple rounds of a game like this changes the calculation for both players. Liberals say it is unrealistic to assume states deal with each other only once, and they deal with each other’s multiple times. This matters because players begin to care more about their reputation when they need to play multiple rounds. o The “shadow of the future” encourages trust and cooperation in the first round—the degree to which we care about the future influences how we act today. Long-term gains of cooperation are greater than the advantage you would gain from deferring in one round, and liberals argue that actors understand this. o The relevance of reciprocity (assuming ther
More Less

Related notes for POLI 244

Log In


Join OneClass

Access over 10 million pages of study
documents for 1.3 million courses.

Sign up

Join to view


By registering, I agree to the Terms and Privacy Policies
Already have an account?
Just a few more details

So we can recommend you notes for your school.

Reset Password

Please enter below the email address you registered with and we will send you a link to reset your password.

Add your courses

Get notes from the top students in your class.