Grieco A Summary In a Nutshell Realism as pertaining to international relations means that international anarchy fosters competition amongst states that restrains their ability to cooperate with each other. In other words, institutions can help states to cooperate. The tensions and conflicts of the s in part swept away these ideas, however, the limited cooperation that still occurred in that decade spurred the rise in the 80s of the neo-liberal institutional theory Axelrod etc. NLI theory is based on the premise that states seek to maximize their absolute gains in international policy.

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International Organization, 42 3 , The main response to realism has come from liberals and Grieco divides this into three types: early functionalist integration theory, later neofunctionalist regional integration theory and even later interdependence theory.

These theories were then followed by liberal institutionalism, which argues that, while anarchy is an structuring variable, states are still able to find ways to cooperate at times. Indeed, the new liberal institutionalism fails to address a major constraint on the willingness of states to cooperate which is generated by international anarchy and which is identified by realism.

Much of this debate centers around conceptions of cooperation and the limits to cooperation. Grieco argues that, yes, while cheating is crucial, one aspect of the formula is missing in the neoliberal institutionalist account: that states will seek both relative and absolute gains.

The liberal focuses on the absolute gains to be taken by states in cooperation. The realist emphasizes the fear that states may have in cooperation: they do not want their counterpart to gain more than they gain. This logic is rooted in the assumption of state survival and rationality. Five properties of realism: states are the actors, international structure penalizes states who are not exclusively looking out for their interest, anarchy is an organizing principle, states in such a situation are worried about security and power, and institutions only roughly affect the above equation.

Liberals have argued against the above assumptions for a variety of reasons. Earlier funcationalism argued against, for example, centering theories on the state. However, the later neoliberal institutionalism began to take on many of the assumptions of realism, though with clearly different consequences. Thus, you have scholars positing theories that begin with basically the same premise, rational states in anarchy, but finding ways for cooperation to emerge.

Grieco does not see this as being legitimate, as the kind of state the two schools of thought envisage are quite different. For the liberal, this equation eventually becomes cooperation, as states can find ways to work together in anarchy. For the liberal, the biggest problem is cheating. Realists reject this focus on cheating as missing the main point about anarchy as an organizing principle.

Anarchy does not simply mean that there is no one to enforce treaties, etc. Anarchy means that there is no guarantee that another state will not try to kill you.

This leads states to directly worry about relative gains in place of absolute gains. Posted by Jonathan at.


Anarchy and the limits of cooperation: a realist critique of the newest liberal institutionalism

Is anybody still a realist? International Security. Grieco posits that states are "defensive positionalists" in search of security-a desire that makes them sensitive to relative rather than absolute gains. States cooperate less-or, more precisely, they cooperate under different circumstances-than the mere presence of mutual benefits might lead us to expect, because they must "pay close attention to how cooperation might affect relative capabilities in the future. Grieco is aware that states do not always forgo "absolute" economic benefits for "relative" geopolitical gains, so that any theory must state the antecedent conditions under which relative-gains seeking occurs. Given that not all states in all situations are equally sensitive to gaps in payoffs, he argues, we should employ a factor termed k that measures sensitivity to gaps between payoffs relative gains , alongside absolute gains. This simply displaces the causal question, however, for we are now impelled to ask: What determines the value of k?


Disida Inter- governmentalism is the choice of realism and neo-realism, English School, and neoliberal institutionalism. An American View Madison: Praeger,pp. Instead,realistsstress,statesrecognizethat, in anarchy,thereis no overarchingauthorityto preventothersfrom using See Working also Mitrany, Peace System,pp. Grieco, Joseph. Contextual influenceson ths to gaps in gainsare exploredin JosephM. Mitrany, Peace System, Working pp.



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