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Neo-liberalism. IR2501 Theories of International Relations. Dr. David Galbreath Lecturer in International Relations Office: F36 Edward Wright Building Hours: Friday 14-17. Neo-realism: A recap. Five key points to remember about Neo-realism States live in anarchy

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neo liberalism


IR2501 Theories of International Relations


Dr. David Galbreath

Lecturer in International Relations

Office: F36 Edward Wright Building

Hours: Friday 14-17

neo realism a recap
Neo-realism: A recap
  • Five key points to remember about Neo-realism
    • States live in anarchy
    • States are the primary actors
    • States are unitary actors
    • States are rational actors
    • States are power-maximising
  • Problem: If this the case, why do we not see more conflict?
liberalism and institutions
Liberalism and institutions
  • Post-1945 International Relations:
    • Rise of international institutions as collective actors
      • Collective action problem
    • Rise of European integration
    • Rise of Pluralism in the US
      • Pluralism focused on new actors (transnational corporations, non-governmental organizations) and new patterns of interaction (interdependence, integration).
neo liberalism5
  • Other liberalisms
    • Commercial
    • Republican
    • Sociological
    • Institutional liberalism
a new liberalism
A new liberalism
  • Neoliberalism’s challenge to contemporary realism.
    • They explain the durability of institutions despite significant changes in context.
  • Institutions exert a causal force on international relations, shaping state preferences and locking them in to cooperative arrangements.
    • Feedback loop
  • Democratic peace liberalism and neoliberalism are the dominant strands in liberal thinking today.
neo liberalism7
  • Neo-liberalinstitutionalism is rooted in the functional integration theoretical work of the 1950s and 60s and the complex interdependence and transnational studies literature of the 1970s and 80s.
    • IR 2001 International Organisations in Europe
  • Neo-liberal institutionalists see institutions as the mediator and the means to achieve co-operation in the international system.
neo liberalism8
  • Neo-liberal institutionalists recognize that co-operation may be harder to achieve in areas where leaders perceive they have no mutual interests.
  • Neo-liberals believe that states co-operate to achieve absolute gains and the greatest obstacle to co-operation is ‘cheating’ or non-compliance by other states.
    • This is were institutions come in.
the neo neo debate
The neo-neo debate
  • The neo-neo debate is not a debate between two polar opposite worldviews.
  • They share an epistemology (shared knowledge), focus on similar questions and they agree on a number of assumptions about international politics.
  • This is an intra-paradigm debate.
the neo neo debate10
The neo-neo debate
  • Neo-liberal institutionalists and neo-realists study different worlds of international politics.
    • Neo-realists focus on security and military issues - the high politics issue area.
    • Neo-liberalinstitutionalists focus on political economy, environmental issues, and lately, human rights issues. These issues have been called the low politics issue agenda.
the neo neo debate11
The neo-neo debate
  • Neo-realists explain that all states must be concerned with the absolute and relative gains that result from international agreements and co-operative efforts.
  • Neo-liberal institutionalists are less concerned about relative gains and consider that all will benefit from absolute gains.
  • Neo-realists are more cautious about co-operation and remind us the world is still a competitive place where self-interest rules.
the neo neo debate12
The neo-neo debate
  • Neo-liberal institutionalists believe that states and other actors can be persuaded to co-operate if they are convinced that all states will comply with rules and co-operation will result in absolute gains.
  • This debate does not discuss many important issues that challenge some of the core assumptions of each theory.
    • For example, neo-realism cannot explain foreign policy behavior that challenges the norm of national interest over human interests.
    • Neither theory addresses the impact of learning on the foreign policy behavior of states.
ir and globalisation
IR and Globalisation
  • Globalisation has contributed to a shift in political activity away from the state.
    • Transnational social movements have forced states to address critical international issues and in several situations that have supported the establishment of institutions that promote further co-operation and, fundamentally challenge the power of states.
  • How do theories of IR address globalisation?
neo liberals and neo realists on globalization
Neo-liberals and neo-realists on globalization
  • Neo-realists think that states are still the principle actors in international politics.
    • Globalization challenges some areas of state authority and control; but, politics is still inter-national.
  • Neo-realists are concerned about new security challenges
    • These challenges result from uneven globalization, namely, inequality and conflict.
neo liberals and neo realists on globalization15
Neo-liberals and neo-realists on globalization
  • Globalization provides opportunities and resources for transnational social movements that challenge the authority of states in various policy areas.
    • Neo-realists are not supportive of any movement that seeks to open critical security issues to public debate.
    • Free market neo-liberals believe globalization is a positive force. Eventually, all states will benefit from the economic growth promoted by the forces of globalization. (positive sum-game)
the promise of neo liberalism
The promise of Neo-liberalism
  • Many neo-liberals believe that states should intervene to promote capitalism with a human face or a market that is more sensitive to the needs and interests of all the people.
  • New institutions can be created and older ones reformed to prevent the uneven flow of capital, promote environmental sustainability, and protect the rights of citizens.
neo liberalism a recap
Neo-liberalism: A recap
  • Five key points to remember about Neoliberalism
    • States live with institutionalised cooperation
    • States are one of many actors
    • States are complex actors
    • States are still rational actors
    • States seek co-operation over conflict