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After Hegemony: Cooperation and Discord in the World Political Economy (Princeton Classic Editions) [Kindle Edition]

Robert O. Keohane
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)

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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.

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Editorial Reviews


Winner of the 1989 Grawemeyer Award for Ideas Improving World Order
One of Choice's Outstanding Academic Titles for 1984

"Can cooperation increase if there is no hegemony? Yes, says Professor Keohane in this outstanding book. . . . The author's painstaking consideration of difficulties and objections should show how often narrow assumptions and obscurantist jargon have led to loose thinking and worse policy conclusions."--Foreign Affairs

"[T]he 'state-of-the-art' publication on the influential, and somewhat controversial, idea of 'regime' in the study of international political economy. The concept is provided with its most thoroughgoing, cogent and stimulating defence."--R. J. Barry Jones, Political Studies

"This is vital and powerful stuff. It makes a major contribution towards breaking the destructive polarization between realism and idealism which for far too long has obscured intellectual middle ground of real importance to policy-making."--Barry Buzan, International Affairs

"This book takes a major step toward bringing economic reasoning and understanding of politics to bear on questions of international political economy."--James E. Alt, Journal of Economic Literature

From review of Princeton's original edition: "The 'state of the art' publication on the influential, and somewhat controversial, idea of 'regime' in the study of international political economy."--Political Studies

From the Publisher

Winner of the 1989 Grawemeyer Award for Ideas Improving World Order One of Choice's Outstanding Academic Titles for 1984

Product Details

  • File Size: 3711 KB
  • Print Length: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Princeton University Press; 1st Princeton Classic Ed edition (August 1, 1984)
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B001C4SLUE
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #622,118 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

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20 of 22 people found the following review helpful
By "abant"
In After Hegemony neoliberal institutionalist Robert O. Keohane deals with the 'central political dilemma': How to organize international cooperation without hegemony? Or in other words, is cooperation possible in the post-hegemonic world? Keohane audaciously contends that cooperation is possible without hegemony since international regimes make this cooperation possible. In this sense, he criticizes hegemonic stability theory (HST) since HST necessitates a hegemon for regime maintenance specifically and for international cooperation in general. This book, however, might not be considered as a fundamental criticism of the realist theory since it accepts basic realist premises of international cooperation. For instance, he takes states as the major actors in international politics in which they have interest maximizing goals. On the other hand, Keohane also basically argues that 'although hegemony can facilitate cooperation, it is neither a necessary nor a sufficient condition for it...hegemony is less important for the continuation of cooperation, once after began, than for its creation'.In this respect, he differentiates hegemon's role in creation of international regimes from their maintenance. While he keeps hegemonic power important in creating regimes he does not see hegemon so significant for the their maintenance. What are the functions and/or benefits of international regimes? Institutions/regimes provide information, decrease transaction costs, monitor compliance, create issue linkages and prevent cehating. Then, they serve states' self-interests and generate international cooperation. Fear of retaliation and search for reputation are the key reasons why states eschew to break the rules of international regimes. Read more ›
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars some optimism for international politics January 10, 2008
I have never shared realism's pessimism towards international politics in general and international cooperation in particular. For me, cooperation among states was logical and practical. It was logical, because in the long run cooperative states were better off than non-cooperative ones; it was practical, because most international problems -such as nonproliferation of nuclear weapons, setting up an international monetary system, and alleviating international poverty- required collective solutions. What makes Robert Keohane's After Hegemony important in my eyes is its logical and empirical support to the possibility and existence of cooperation among states.

The aftermath of WWII witnessed a mushrooming of international organizations/institutions to facilitate international cooperation in political as well as economic issues. The dominant realist theory of international relations did not have a well-defined theory of international organizations. But a sub-theory of realism -hegemonic stability theory- argued that the unchallenged hegemony of the United States was the driving force behind this international institutionalization and the relative peace it espoused (Gilpin 1981). All these institutions were established under the hegemony of the US and therefore their influence on world politics was dependent on the hegemonic status of the US. Thus, when in 1970's and 1980's the hegemony of the US declined with the recuperation of the Japanese and the West European economies, hegemonic stability theory expected a reversal in the impact of international institutions on world politics.

Keohane's central aim in After Hegemony is to challenge these pessimist realist evaluations of the decline in US hegemony. Keohane rejects realism's pessimist evaluations on two grounds.
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25 of 32 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A groundbreaking book September 12, 1999
By A Customer
Robert Keohane is one of the top five International Relations theorists today. His book "After Hegemony", written in 1984, is considered to be the iniciator of the neoliberal institutionalist school of IR. In this book, Keohane shows that although states live in an anarchic world and are racional actors, they can cooperate with each other through institutions. This book revolutionalised the field and opened a fierce debate on cooperation that lasts until now. A very interesting book written by a master in the field - that is enough recommendation.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Robert Keohane's 'After Hegemony' provides important tools to understand post cold war international relations and international order. While the end of the cold war provided the most appropritate international political ambience to evaluate the role of hegemony, as Dr. Keohane does, his coinage of the term 'bounded rationalism' comes handy in explaining the fact that capitalist and developed powers may be prepared to gravitate towards cooperation by sacrificing some of their 'hegemonic' or 'dominating' instincts. One example is trade. Gone are those days when the imperialist-capitalist powers went to war for possession of overseas markets. The post cold war era, at the behest of the liberal United States, believes in trade cooperation and in mutual discussions. Dr. Keohane's is a very useful book in changing the realistic concept of the overriding role of force and power in settling international issues. It is true that Dr. Keohane, rightly, never discount the role of power altogether but he shows enough ingenuity in dishing out a more rational and positive approach towards understanding the undercurrents of hegemonic psychology. All these simply go to show how increasing democratization on a global scale in so many spheres render the role of hegemony redundant. Although, this will take some time if that road is pursued and Dr. Keohane's fine book shows how.

Gautam Maitra
Author of 'Tracing the Eagle's Orbit: Illuminating Insights into Major US Foreign Policies since Independence.
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