Monday, January 6, 2014
Chapter 1: The Globalization of International Relations
• International relations (IR) — the relations among the world’s governments.
• Affected by other actors (international organizations, multinational corporations, and
individuals) and social structures (economics, culture, domestic policies)
• 2 events: September 11, 2011 attacks and 2008-2009 global recession
• Both marked by expanding communications technology and integrated markets
• Main question of IR: how can a group serve its collective interests when doing so requires its
members to forgo their individual interests?
• Collective goods problem — the problem of how to provide something that beneﬁts all
members of a group regardless of what each member contributes to it
• Dominance, reciprocity, identity — three possible solutions to the collective goods
• Dominance solves the collective goods problem by establishing a power hierarchy in which
those at the top control those below, a bit like a government but without an actual government
• Advantages: order, stability, predictability; disadvantages: oppression, resentment
• Sometimes a hegemon or superpower stands atop the great powers as the dominant nation
— the UN Security Council, in which the world’s ﬁve strongest military powers hold a veto,
reﬂects the dominance principle
• Dominance forces members of a group to contribute to the common good and minimizes
open conﬂict within the group. Disadvantage is that stability comes at a cost of constant
oppression of, and resentment by, the lower-ranking members in the hierarchy. Conﬂicts
over position in the hierarchy can occasionally harm the group’s stability.
• Reciprocity rewards behaviour that contributes to the group and punishes behaviour that
pursues self-interest at the expense of the group
• Advantages: incentives for mutual cooperation; disadvantages: downward spirals, complex
• Reciprocity may be positive or negative
• Identity does not rely on self-interest, members of an identity community care about the
interests of others in the community enough to sacriﬁce their own interests to beneﬁt others.
Principle lies in kinship.
• Advantages: sacriﬁce for group, redeﬁne interests; disadvantages: demonizing an out-group
• Non-state actors, such as nongovernmental organizations or terrorist networks, rely on
identity politics to a great extent
• International politics — decisions of governments about foreign actors, especially other
governments. Political relations depend on diplomacy, war, trade relations, alliances, cultural
exchanges, participation in international organizations, etc.
• Policy makers of one nation can behave cooperatively or conﬂictingly
• IR comprised of 2 subsets: international security and international economic
• International economic policy (IPE) — concerns trade and ﬁnancial relations among
nations, and focuses on how national have cooperated politically to create and maintain
institutions that regulate the ﬂow of international economic and ﬁnancial transactions
State — a territorial entity controlled by a