After Hegemony

After Hegemony: Cooperation and Discord in the World Political Economy

ROBERT O. KEOHANE
Copyright Date: 1984
Pages: 312
https://www.jstor.org/stable/j.ctt7sq9s
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  • Book Info
    After Hegemony
    Book Description:

    This book is a comprehensive study of cooperation among the advanced capitalist countries. Can cooperation persist without the dominance of a single power, such as the United States after World War II? To answer this pressing question, Robert Keohane analyzes the institutions, or "international regimes," through which cooperation has taken place in the world political economy and describes the evolution of these regimes as American hegemony has eroded. Refuting the idea that the decline of hegemony makes cooperation impossible, he views international regimes not as weak substitutes for world government but as devices for facilitating decentralized cooperation among egoistic actors. In the preface the author addresses the issue of cooperation after the end of the Soviet empire and with the renewed dominance of the United States, in security matters, as well as recent scholarship on cooperation.

    eISBN: 978-1-4008-2026-9
    Subjects: Political Science

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. PREFACE
    (pp. vii-x)
  3. Table of Contents
    (pp. xi-2)
  4. I Questions and Concepts
    • 1 REALISM, INSTITUTIONALISM, AND COOPERATION
      (pp. 5-17)

      Since the repeal of the “iron law of wages,” economics has ceased to be the “dismal science.” Economists no longer believe that most people must exist at the subsistence level, but argue, on the contrary, that gradual improvement in the material conditions of human life is possible. Yet while economics has become more cheerful, politics has become gloomier. The twentieth century has seen an enormous expansion of real and potential international violence. In the world political economy, opportunities for conflict among governments have increased as the scope of state action has widened. The greatest dangers for the world economy, as...

    • 2 POLITICS, ECONOMICS, AND THE INTERNATIONAL SYSTEM
      (pp. 18-30)

      Robert Gilpin has offered a helpful working definition of the phrase “world political economy” (1975, p. 43):

      In brief, political economy in this study means the reciprocal and dynamic interaction in international relations of the pursuit of wealth and the pursuit of power.

      Causality is reciprocal rather than unidirectional: on the one hand, the distribution of power creates patterns of property rights within which wealth is produced and distributed; on the other hand, changes in productive efficiency and access to resources affect relations of power in the long term. The interaction between wealth and power is dynamic because both wealth...

    • 3 HEGEMONY IN THE WORLD POLITICAL ECONOMY
      (pp. 31-46)

      It is common today for troubled supporters of liberal capitalism to look back with nostalgia on British preponderance in the nineteenth century and American dominance after World War II. Those eras are imagined to be simpler ones in which a single power, possessing superiority of economic and military resources, implemented a plan for international order based on its interests and its vision of the world. As Robert Gilpin has expressed it, “thePax BritannicaandPax Americana, like thePax Romana, ensured an international system of relative peace and security. Great Britain and the United States created and enforced the...

  5. II Theories of Cooperation and International Regimes
    • 4 COOPERATION AND INTERNATIONAL REGIMES
      (pp. 49-64)

      Hegemonic leadership can help to create a pattern of order. Cooperation is not antithetical to hegemony; on the contrary, hegemony depends on a certain kind of asymmetrical cooperation, which successful hegemons support and maintain. As we will see in more detail in chapter 8, contemporary international economic regimes were constructed under the aegis of the United States after World War II. In accounting for the creation of international regimes, hegemony often plays an important role, even a crucial one.

      Yet the relevance of hegemonic cooperation for the future is questionable. Chapter 9 shows that the United States is less preponderant...

    • 5 RATIONAL-CHOICE AND FUNCTIONAL EXPLANATIONS
      (pp. 65-84)

      A simple explanation for the failure of a given attempt at cooperation in world politics is always available: that the interests of the states involved were incompatible with one another. This would imply that discord was a natural, if not inevitable, result of the characteristics of the actors and their positions relative to one another. Indeed, on this account, low levels of cooperation might still be Pareto-optimal; that is, given the interests of the actors, there might be no more cooperative solution that would make all of them better off.

      This is one possible account of discord. But it reminds...

    • 6 A FUNCTIONAL THEORY OF INTERNATIONAL REGIMES
      (pp. 85-109)

      Chapter 5 discussed how international regimes could be created and emphasized their value for overcoming what could be called “political market failure.” Now we turn to a more detailed examination of this argument by exploring why political market failure occurs and how international regimes can help to overcome it. This investigation will help us understand both why states often comply with regime rules and why international regimes can be maintained even after the conditions that facilitated their creation have disappeared. The functional theory developed in this chapter will therefore suggest some reasons to believe that even if U.S. hegemonic leadership...

    • 7 BOUNDED RATIONALITY AND REDEFINITIONS OF SELF-INTEREST
      (pp. 110-132)

      Chapters 5 and 6 developed an abstract argument about the functions of international regimes, on the assumption that governments behave as rational egoists. This chapter will relax both components of this assumption. In the first two sections I will view governments as incapable of meeting the stringent requirements of the classical theory of rationality and will inquire about the implications of this argument for a functional theory of international regimes. I will then broaden my conception of self-interest toward a less egoistical formulation, in order to see how cooperation in world politics may be affected if actors take into account...

  6. III Hegemony and Cooperation in Practice
    • 8 HEGEMONIC COOPERATION IN THE POSTWAR ERA
      (pp. 135-181)

      Chapter 1 observed that Realist and Institutionalist theories were both able to account for the order that characterized the world political economy during the twenty years after World War II, but that they did so in very different ways. Institutionalism emphasized the role of shared interests created by economic interdependence and the effects of institutions; Realism stressed the impact of American hegemony. Both perspectives are valuable but incomplete. A synthesis of Realism and Institutionalism is necessary.

      Part II sought such a synthesis at the theoretical level. Chapters 5 and 6 constructed a functional theory of international regimes on rational-choice foundations....

    • 9 THE INCOMPLETE DECLINE OF HEGEMONIC REGIMES
      (pp. 182-216)

      As we saw in the last chapter, U.S. hegemonic leadership fostered a pattern of asymmetrical cooperation, in which the United States made some adjustments to the needs of its allies and partners while imposing other adjustments on them. By the early 1950s these patterns of cooperation were institutionalized in formal international regimes to help regulate international monetary relations and trade in manufactured goods; in oil, informal arrangements were constructed by the United States and major international oil companies to ensure Western and Japanese access to Middle Eastern oil at prices that were highly remunerative to the companies. In part, cooperation...

    • 10 THE CONSUMERS’ OIL REGIME, 1974-81
      (pp. 217-240)

      In chapter 9 we observed that substantial cooperation in monetary and trade relations continued to take place in the 1970s and 1980s, even though established international regimes were under pressure. Old cooperative arrangements have been undermined in many ways, and the cooperation that remains is not always oriented toward liberal ends; nevertheless, attempts at cooperation persist. Typically, these efforts to cooperate arise, as we would expect, out of discord. For instance, economic summits among the seven largest advanced industrialized countries were instituted in 1975 in reaction to the breakdown of hegemonic cooperation epitomized by the oil crisis and the breakdown...

  7. IV Conclusion
    • 11 THE VALUE OF INSTITUTIONS AND THE COSTS OF FLEXIBILITY
      (pp. 243-259)

      Three tasks remain for this concluding chapter. The first is to restate my principal themes, linking my argument about international regimes to the question about cooperation after hegemony and the dialogue between Institutionalist and Realist writers discussed in chapter 1. What are the implications of this book for understanding the prospects for international cooperation during the coming decades and for theories of world politics? Second, I will return to the question of ethics and cooperation, introduced in chapter 1 but not subjected to sustained analysis there. Finally, I will show how my analysis of international regimes, despite its highly theoretical...

  8. BIBLIOGRAPHY
    (pp. 260-280)
  9. INDEX
    (pp. 281-293)