Saturday, March 2, 2019
Liberal Theory Essay
This memo outlines the braggy go up to theorizing inter bailiwickistic relations. bid realism, institutionalism, or non-rational approaches, it is a name given to a family of related theories of inter field relations. Here it pull up stakes non be snuff itd, as m either use it in international relations, to condemn theories that stress the importance of international institutions. Nor to designate theories that stress the importance of universal, altruistic or utopian values of a boastful sort, much(prenominal) as human rights or democracy.Nor to designate theories prosperous by left-wing (liberal) policy- devising parties or policies in the US. Instead, it is a opening that stresses the role of the varied genial interests and values of put forwards, and their relevance for creation politics. Liberals argue that the universal condition of universe politics is globalization. raises argon, and always vex been, infix in a domesticated and international society, w hich creates incentives for stinting, mixer and ethnic inter impression crossways borders. State policy whitethorn serve or block much(prenominal) interactions.Some domestic groups may make headway from or be harmed by much(prenominal) policies, and they pressure government accordingly for policies that facilitate realization of their goals. These amicable pressures, transmitted through domestic political institutions, condition farming of issue drutherss that is, the set of substantive complaisant aspires that motivate contrasted policy. State preferences give governments an underlying s tackle in the international issues they face. Since the domestic and transnational social context in which democracys ar embedded varies greatly across space and cadence, so do assert preferences.Without such social concerns that pass on state borders, states would digest no rational incentive to engage in world politics at both, but would simply devote their resources to a n autarkical and isolated outliveence. To motivate conflict, cooperation, or any early(a) costly foreign policy action, states must(prenominal) possess sufficiently wicked state preferences. The resulting globalization-induced divergence in social demands, and thus state preferences, is a rudimentary character of state behavior in world politics. This is the central insight of liberal international relations possibleness.It can be expressed colloquially in various ways What matters to the highest degree is what states want, non how they get it. or- Ends be to a greater extent great than means. Liberal theory is classifiable in the nature of the variables it privileges. The liberal focus on fun in socially-determined state preferences distinguishes liberal theory from early(a)(a) theoretical traditions realism (focusing on sportsman in compulsory great business leader resources), institutionalism (focusing on information), and most non-rational approaches (focus ing on postures of beliefs about appropriate means-ends races).In explaining patterns of war, for example, liberals do not look to inter-state imbalances of power, bargaining failure due to occult information or uncertainty, or particular non-rational beliefs or propensities of individual leading, societies, or organizations. Liberals look instead to conflicting state preferences derived from hostile nationalist or political ideologies, disputes over appropriable economic resources, or exploitation of unrepresented political constituencies.For liberals, a necessary condition for war is that social pressures lead unity or more aggressor states to possess revisionist preferences so extreme or risk-acceptant that new(prenominal) states ar unwilling to submit. Three ad hoc variants of liberal theory atomic number 18 rigd by particular types of preferences, their variation, and their impact on state behavior. Ideational liberal theories link state behavior to varied images of coveted forms of cultural, political, socioeconomic order. Commercial liberal theories stress economic rough-cutity, including many variants of endogenous policy theory.Republican liberal theories stress the role of domestic model institutions, elites and leadership dynamics, and executive-legislative relations. Such theories were first conceived by prescient liberals such as Immanuel Kant, Adam Smith, John Stuart Mill, John Hobson, Woodrow Wilson, and John Maynard Keynes-writing well before the compact causes (independent variables) they stress (e. g. democratization, industrialization, nationalism, and welf atomic number 18 provision) were commodiousspread. This essay introduces the liberal approach in iii steps. It presents two distinctive assumptions underlying and distinguishing liberal theories.Then it still explicates the terzetto variants of liberal theory that follow from these assumptions. Finally, it reviews some distinctive strengths that liberal theories work to share vis-a-vis other types of international relations theory. Two fantastic laying claims underlying Liberal Theory What basic assumptions underlie the liberal approach? Two assumptions liberal theory make are the assumptions of anarchy and rationality. Specifically, states (or other political actors) exist in an anarchic environment and they generally act in a broadly rational way in making decisions. 2The anarchy assumption means that political actors exist in the distinctive environment of international politics, without a world government or any other authority with a monopoly on the legitimate use of force. They must engage in self-help. The rationality assumption means that state leaders and their domestic supporters engage in foreign policy for the instrumental purpose of securing benefits provided by (or stave offing be imposed by) actors outside of their borders, and in making such calculations, states seek to deploy the most cost-effective means to achieve whatev er their ends (preferences) may be.Liberal theory shares the first (anarchy) assumption with almost all international relations theories, and it shares the second (rationality) assumption with realism and institutionalism, but not non-rationalist process theories. Liberal theories are distinguished from other rationalist theories, such as realism and institutionalism, by two unique assumptions about world politics (1) States represent social groups, whose views constitute state preferences and (2) Interdependence among state preferences enchants state policy. Let us cypher each in turn.Assumption One States Represent Societal Preferences The first assumption shared by liberal theories is that states represent some subset of domestic society, whose views constitute state preferences. For liberals, the state is a representative institution constantly subject to capture and recapture, verbalism and reconstruction, by domestic social coalitions. These social coalitions define state p references in world politics at any point in time the tastes, ends, basic interests, or fundamental social purposes that underlie foreign policy. policy-making institutions constitute a exact transmission belt by which these interests of individuals and groups in civil society enter the political realm. altogether individuals and groups do not wield equal influence over state policy. To the contrary, their power varies widely, depending on the context. Variation in the accurate nature of representative institutions and practices helps define which groups influence the national interest. Some states may represent, ideal-typically, the preferences of a single tyrannical individual, a Pol Pot or Josef Stalin others afford opportunities for broad democratic participation. almost lie in between. The precise preferences of social groups, weighted by their domestic power, shape the underlying goals (state preferences) that states pursue in world politics. Sometimes, non-governmental org anizations (NGOs) and other actors may form transnational alliances to assist social forces. State-society relationsthe relationship between a state and its domestic (and transnational) society in which it is embeddedlies at the center of liberal theory. 3Liberals believe that state preferences cannot be decreased to some straightforward metric or preference ordering, such as seeking security or wealth. Most modern-day states are not Spartan They compromise security or sovereignty in order to achieve other ends, or, indeed, just to save money. Nor do modern states uniformly seek wealth. Instead they strike sooner strike mingled and varied disdain-offs among economic, social and political goals. Nor, finally do they seek power in the sense of domination Many countries would clearly rather spend money on butter rather than guns. To see how consequential the variation in goals can be, one need look no further than the implications for international relations of Germanys evolution from Adolf Hitlers preference for militant nationalism, fascist rule, autarky, and ruthless exploitation of German Lebensraum under cony Dritte Reich to the social compromise underlying the postwar Bundesrepublik Deutschland, which favored capitalist democracy, expanding German exports, and peaceful reunification.Similarly one can look at the salient(ip) change in policy between Maoist and post-Maoist China, Soviet and post-Soviet Russia, regal and post-Imperial Japan, and so on. Assumption Two Interdependence among State Preferences Influences State demeanor The second core assumption shared by liberal theories is that the interdependence among of state preferences influences state behavior. Rather than treating preferences as a fixed constant, as do realists or institutionalists, liberals seek to explain variation in preferences and its implication for world politics.The precise dissemination and nature of the stakes explains differences in state policy and behavior. States , liberals argue, orient their behavior to the precise nature of these underlying preferences congenial or conflictual, intense or weak, and their precise scope. States require a social purpose a perceived underlying stake in the matter at hand in order to pay any care to international affairs, let alone to provoke conflict, inaugurate cooperation, or take any other significant foreign policy action.If there is no such interdependence among state objectives, a rational state will conduct no international relations, satisfying itself with an isolated and autarkic existence. Conflictual goals add the incentive for of political disputes. Convergence of underlying preferences creates the preconditions for peaceful coexistence or cooperation. The critical theoretical link between state preferences, on the one hand, and state behavior, on the other, is the concept of policy interdependence.Policy interdependence refers to the distribution and interaction of preferencesthat is, the ext ent to which the pursuit of state preferences necessarily imposes costs and benefits (known as policy externalities) upon other states, independent of the transaction costs imposed by the specific strategic means chosen to obtain them. Depending on the underlying pattern of interdependence, each of the qualitative categories above, the form, substance, and depth of conflict and cooperation vary according to the precise nature and intensity of preferences.The existence of some measure of divergent fundamental beliefs, scarcity of material goods, and inequalities in domestic political power among states and social actors renders inevitable some measure of pluralism and competition among and within states. Unlike realists such as Waltz and Morgenthau, liberals do not assume these divergent interests are uniformly zero-sum. At the same time, liberals reject the utopian notion (often attributed to them by realists) of an automatic harmony of interest among individuals and groups in inter national society.Nor do liberals argue, as realists like Morgenthau charge, believe that each state pursues an ideal goal, oblivious of what other states do. Liberals argue instead that each state seeks to encounter distinct preferences or interests under constraints imposed by the assorted interests of other states. 4 This distribution of preferences varies considerably. For liberals, this variationnot realisms distribution of capabilities or institutionalisms distribution of informationis of decisive causal importance in explaining state behavior.A few examples illustrate how liberal theories differ from realist, institutionalist or non-rational ones. We ware already encountered the example of war in the introduction, in which liberals stress states with aggressive preferences, rather than imbalances of power, incomplete information, or non-rational beliefs and processes. some other illustration is make do policy. Economists widely accommodate that bighearted trade is superi or welfare-improving policy choice for states, yet trade protection is often practiced. To explain protectionism, liberals look to domestic social preferences.An important factor in almost all countries is the competitive range of touched economic sectors in global markets, which generates domestic and transnational distributional cause Protectionism is generally backed by producers who are globally uncompetitive free trade by producers who are globally competitive. Moreover, even if the state is a net beneficiary from free trade, domestic adjustment costs may be too high to tolerate politically, or may break other countervailing domestic social objectives, such as domestic social equality or environmental quality.Certain domestic political institutions, such as non-parliamentary legislative systems, which governed US trade policy before 1934, agree disproportionate power to protectionist interests. This differs from realist explanations of trade protectionism, which tend to str ess the role of hegemonic power in structuring trade liberalization, or the need to defend self-sufficient national security within the campaigning zero-sum geopolitical competition, perhaps by maintaining liberty or by aiding allies at the expense of purely economic objectives.Institutionalists aptitude cite the absence of appropriate international institutions, or other means to manage the complex informational tasks and collective action problemsnegotiation, dispute resolution, enforcement undeniable to manage free trade. Those who focus on non-rational theories (psychological, cultural, organizational, epistemic, perceptual or bureaucratic) efficacy stress an ideological disposition to accept mercantilist theory, shared historical analogies, and the psychological predisposition to avoid losses.To further illustrate the importance of patterns of policy interdependence, consider the following three circumstances zero-sum, harmonious and fuse preferences. In the display cuti cle of zero-sum preferences, attempts by dominant social groups in one state to realize their preferences through international action may necessarily impose costs on dominant social groups in other countries. This is a case of zero-sum preferences, similar to the realist world. Governments face a bargaining game with few mutual gains and a high potential for interstate tension and conflict.Many old-fashioned cities and states, including those of Ancient Athens, often imposed imperial tribute on foiled neighbors or, in extremis, killed the male population, cast women and children into slavery, and repopulated the town with their own citizensa short letter approximating zero-sum conflict. Today, it might still be argued that there are certain casestrade in agricultural goods by industrial democracies, for examplewhere entrenched national interests are so strong that no government seriously considers encompass free trade.In the case of harmonious preferences, where the externaliti es of unilateral olicies are optimal (or insignificant) for others, there are strong incentives for quiet coexistence with low conflict and (at most) simple forms of interstate coordination. For example, advanced industrial democracies today no longer stare waging war on one another, and in some areas governments have agree to mutual recognition of certain legal standards without controversy. One case of mixed preferences is bargaining, where states can achieve common gains (or avoid common losses, as with a war) if they agree to coordinate their behavior, but may disagree strongly on the distribution of benefits or adjustment costs.Under such circumstances, one of the most important determinants of bargaining power is the intensity of the preferences of each party the more intense their preference for a beneficial settlement, the more likely they are to make concessions (or employ autocratic means) in order to achieve it. Another situation of mixed motives is a situation where i nterstate coordination can avoid significant risks and costs, as in agreement to avoid naval incidents at sea, or to share information on infectious diseases. In such situations, institutional pre-commitments and the provision of greater information can often cleanse the welfare of all parties.Liberals derive several distinctive conceptions of power, very different from that of realism. One form of international influence, for liberals, stems from the interdependence among preferences that Keohane and Nye (Power and Interdependence) call asymmetrical interdependence. All other things equal, the more interdependent a state is, the more intense its preference for a given outcome, the more power others potentially have over it while the less a state wants something, the less a state cares about outcomes, the less intense its preferences, the less power others have over it.Situations of asymmetrical interdependence, where one state has more intense preference for an agreement than ano ther, create bargaining power. In trade negotiations, for example, smaller and poorer countries are often more dependent on trade and thus benefit more from free trade, and thus tend to have a weaker position and make more concessions in the course of negotiations. Enlargement of the European conglutination is a recent instance. Relative preference intensity can likewise influence the outcome of war, but in a different way.Nations are in fact rarely prepared to mortgage their entire prudence or military in conflict, so their power depends not on their coercive power resources, but on their resolve or will. This is wherefore smaller states often prevail over larger ones. Vietnam, for example, did not prevail over the US in the Vietnam War because it possessed more coercive power resources, but because it had a more intense preference at stake. From Assumptions to TheoriesTaken by themselves, these liberal assumptionsthe international system is anarchic, states are rational, social pressures define state preferences, interdependence among preferences dictates state behaviorare thin. They fling most existing realist, institutionalist, and non-rational theories, but they do not, taken by themselves, define very precisely the positive content of liberal theory. Some might rightly complain that simply pointing to state preferences opens up an unmanageably wide range of hypothetical social influences on policy.Yet, in practice, research has shown that, in practice, the range of viable liberal theories that test out empirically are relatively few, focused, and powerful. Three broad variants or categories of liberal theory exist ideational, commercial, and republican liberalism. At the core of each lies a distinct conception of the social pressures and representative institutions that define state preferences, and the consequences for state behavior. Some of these have proven, empirically, to be among the most powerful theories in international relations. Let us co nsider each in turn.