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Understanding World Politics Liberalism and Neo-liberalism Learning Objectives Principles of Liberalism and Neo-Liberalism Differences between Neo-realism and Neo-Liberalism Key terms Absolute gains Commercial Liberalism Liberal Institutionalism Liberalism Market Failure Relative gains

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understanding world politics

Understanding World Politics

Liberalism and Neo-liberalism

learning objectives
Learning Objectives
  • Principles of Liberalism and Neo-Liberalism
  • Differences between Neo-realism and Neo-Liberalism
key terms
Key terms
  • Absolute gains
  • Commercial Liberalism
  • Liberal Institutionalism
  • Liberalism
  • Market Failure
  • Relative gains
  • Republican Liberalism
  • The Liberal tradition in political thought goes back at least as far as the thinking of John Locke in the late seventeenth century. Other important Liberals include Adam Smith, Immanuel Kant, and John Stuart Mill.
  • Most prominent Liberal in foreign policy was U.S. President Woodrow Wilson.
    • Other U.S. Presidents (e.g., Reagan, H.W. Bush, Clinton, W. Bush) pursue a more limited Liberal agenda in foreign policy.
what unites liberals overview
What Unites Liberals? Overview
  • Liberals stress the importance of individualism, tolerance, freedom, and constitutionalism and argue that there are universal values and rights that people have.
    • Conservatives often emphasize order and authority and are willing to sacrifice individual liberty for communal stability.
the liberal view of international politics
The Liberal View of International Politics
  • International system is anarchic.
  • States value survival, but are not necessarily required to permanently attend to their own security.
  • States can escape the “Security Dilemma”
  • The character of anarchy can be transformed through the application of just principles.
just principles
Just Principles
  • Policies that are consistent with the following values are considered just.
    • Freedom
    • Equality
    • Reason
    • Prosperity
    • Competition
  • Commercial Liberalism
    • Increasingly free trade and open borders are a force for peace
  • Republican Liberalism
    • Just political representation leads to peace
  • Liberal Institutionalism
    • International organizations and regimes help states reduce the uncertainties associated with anarchy.
how it works commercial liberalism
How it works: Commercial Liberalism
  • Increasing trade ties create interdependencies among states.
  • Trade creates wealth that actors are loathe to give up.
  • Since war disrupts trade, it harms the interests of those that benefit from trade.
how it works republican liberalism
How it works: Republican Liberalism
  • Also known as “democratic peace theory.”
  • Two contentions:
    • Members of the public favor peace
    • divided representative government is a force for peace
  • Democracies as a result are hesitant to go to war
how it works liberal institutionalism
How it Works: Liberal Institutionalism
  • Cooperation often fails because states do not have good information about the preferences of others or about the performance of their obligations.
  • Institutions supply states with the information they need to make accurate judgments about their potential partners’ reliability.
  • Institutions supply monitoring mechanisms that enable states to assess compliance rates.
neo liberalism
  • Just as there is a structural version of realism, there is a structural version of liberalism
  • Neo-liberals argue that the anarchic quality of international politics makes it difficult for states to cooperate.
    • States fear cheating (the problem of Prisoner’s Dilemma)
    • Problems associated with “Market failure”
absolute gains
Absolute Gains
  • States can overcome their concern about cheating by creating institutions that monitor and enforce agreements.
  • BUT, only if governments are concerned mainly with whether they gain from cooperation at all (absolute gains) and not whether they are gaining less than others (relative gains).
is george w bush a realist or a liberal
Is George W. Bush a Realist or a Liberal?
  • President starts from assumption that the world is a dangerous place.
  • Sees the utility of using force to solve international issues.
  • Argues that promoting democracy is the way to a safer world.