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POLI 354 (26)

The Demand for International Regimes - Robert Keohane

5 Pages

Political Science
Course Code
POLI 354
Mark Brawley

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The Demand for International RegimesRobert KeohaneWe study international regimes because we are interested in understanding order in world politicsThe theoretical analysis of international regimes begins with what is at least an apparent difference from the standpoint of realist theory which discusses the existence of many sets of principles and rules in a variety of areas of international relationsThe theory of hegemonic stability is that the concentration of power in one dominant state facilitates the development of strong regimes and that fragmentation of power is associated with regime collapse This theory however fails to explain intervals between changes in power structures and changes in international regimes does not account well for the differential strength of different institutions within a given area and avoids addressing the question of why international regimes seem so much more extensive now in world politics than during earlier periods of supposed hegemonic leadershipThe theory of hegemonic stability can be viewed as focusing only on the supply from economics of international regimes where according to the theory the more concentrated power is in an international system the greater the supply of international regimes at any level of demand But fluctuations in demand for international regimes are not taken into account by the theory However considering the supply is not of much importance as the article focuses mainly on the demand of regimes to provide the basis for a better interpretationSystemic constraintchoice analysis virtues and limitations o In a systemic theory the actors characteristics are given by assumption rather than treated as variables o Microeconomic theory for instance posits the existence of business firms with given utility functions and attempts to explain their behavior on the basis of environmental factors such as the competitiveness of markets It is therefore a systemic theory o The author uses the rationalchoice theory to develop models that help to explain trends or tendencies toward which patterns of behavior This analysis will not accurately predict the decisions of all actors or what will happen to all regimes but it should help to account for overall trends in the formation growth decay and dissolution of regimeso Relationships of power and dependence in world politics are important determinants of the characteristics of international regimes o Weak actors as well as more powerful actors make choices even if they make them within more severe constraintsThe context and functions of international regimes o Two features of the international context are particularly important world politics lacks authoritative governmental institutions and is characterized by uncertainty Within this setting a major function of international regimes is to facilitate the making of mutually beneficial agreements among governments so that anarchy does not lead to war
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