Home > Uncategorized > Intro to IR Classical and neo Liberalism notes

Intro to IR Classical and neo Liberalism notes

When Hobbes in part2 chapter 17 he mentions that the sovereign has a duty or natural benefit of creating internal peace and protection against enemies abroad. The implication is that abroad and enemies are something predefined for some political unit. In his case it is perhaps non-Britain or Muslims, not clear. But assumption that here may be organic communities before there is a leviathan. So in this case this also challenges the all men equal in a state of nature thing.

So in class we counted Smith and Kant and Hobbes in the same tradition. Prof argues that economic and political liberalism have the same roots. They hold in common an understanding of the sovereignty of the individual and an emphasis n the individual as the unit of politics.All idealists and liberals believe that humans are good but flawed so all of them place controls to highlight the inherent good and mitigate the flaws.=

Pre-sovereign state assumed to be natural, but what forges communities in politics. Is it geography? Why does the sovereign have to stop at any borders, if all men were equal there would be one global sovereign.

For Hobbes the equality is that anybody can kill anybody else.

There is tension in Adam Smith’s opinion on institutions. Are they intrinsically bad all the time?  He shows that primogeniture brought forth the wealth of towns and in this sense that institution was good. Some state intervention is good, like building infrastructure.

Wealth of town is a small city, not wealth of the state. For Smith there is no inter-state trade but trade between isolated towns. Small politically delineated classes.

All these accounts have the role of the autonomous individual as ultimately important. They maximize utility to create a good outcome.

Note: Why did the tradition of anthropology drop out in political science? If at least to debate the limits of the possible. Trend in 1500-1800 to focus on human nature. No one seems to focus on it after that period. Nazi influence? Feminist theorists perhaops are the most anthropologically aware in the field..

Note: Hospitality in Kant requires everyone to have their place. Having a place from which to provide hospitality must be crucial for admittance. So in 1882 some zionists argued that jews would always be persecuted until they had a place from which they could provide hospitality. Even for the international jews not living there.


Keohane starts with the assumption that cooperation is a puzzle. If it isn’t puzzling or unnatural it can’t be researched. So already operating within Realist framework. He gives up the individualism of classic liberalim focuses on states within anarchy, and how institutions can help ease information flows and improve outcomes and provide some stability in relations. Also gives up the cosmopolitan ideal of Kant and the possibility of moving beyond the state and bringing out the good in man.

Delinks economic from military power. Regimes influence the context in which states and actors work and therefore influences their behaviour by allowing cooperation.

All scholarship has naturalized claims. In neoliberalism  these claims are anarchy self interest, self regarding. Lack of violence is good, or is equal to peace. Institutions and regimes definitely help promote periods without violence.

The ideal realist position would claim that inst. dont’ matter since it is all about states and their power. (I don’t really agree with that)

but lib inst argue that once an inst is set up it limits the possibility of future action. Even on the powerful actor that instituted it. Inst are bureaucracies so they also grow and develop interests of their own.

Prof gives example of GATT that when US had supremacy it changed the rules to suit it.

Point: So are institutions just an inertia of the power balance in which they emerged and were founded? If so how can the US change institutions gradually to benefit its own interest? Then any radical change of institutional direction requires a disruption of balance of power. But US doesnt want disruption it wants change within the existing institutions so it takes its shots whenever it can and pushes constantly in the direction of its interests. Gradual change can be seen in change of bretton woods system (see authoritarianism reading)

(international institutions existed before european hegemony but Europeans destroyed them. They were transferred from chinese to arabs to persian relatively stable in terms of economic trade i guess or strait of malaca, so it’s not really new but a return to normalcy)

Cooperation and mutual adjustment comes to benefit the powerful party constantly. cooperation here means unfair compromise, where the weaker party gives up more. (if for you it is an inconvenience but for me it is death it is not cooperation or bargaining)

Not that all cooperation is reflection of power, but yes most of it.

Often the weaker party cannot maintain the status quo even. Either you join WTO or you don’t get loans, and are closed of the economy. So impossible to stay in prior state, that is cooperation here, it sucks.

Institutions can work well in favour of the weak however, and they can not just reflect power dynamics. EU standards first put up to be impossible for countries to join in from communist economies. But with time they saw the rules and worked towards them and now many of them are accepted and even Turkey wants to get in. So standards also create defined goals and opportunity.

Categories: Uncategorized Tags:
  1. No comments yet.
  1. No trackbacks yet.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: