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Power & Interdependence (4th Edition) (Longman Classics in Political Science) 4th Edition

3.8 out of 5 stars 13 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0205082919
ISBN-10: 0205082912
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Editorial Reviews


“The most important insight that might help us explain the dynamic of the current world order lie in the concept of interdependence, pioneered and systematically explored by Robert Keohane and Joseph Nye in Power and Interdependence, the classic work of international relations theory you are about to read....Keohane and Nye took these assorted ideas and put forward a powerful, coherent theory, operating at the level of the international system, and thus with great explanatory power.”–Fareed Zakaria

From the Back Cover

Keohane, Robert O. and Nye, Joseph S., Power and Interdependence, 3rd Edition*\ This landmark book, an original work by two of the most renowned scholars in the field, continues to offer a rich theoretical approach to understanding contemporary world politics and valid general prescriptions for policy. Power and Interdependence was written to construct a way of looking at the world of politics that helps us understand the relationships between economics and politics, and patterns of institutionalized international cooperation, while retaining key realist insights about the roles that power and interests play in world politics. The new Third Edition has been thoroughly updated to include analyses of the effects of new technologies and growing globalism on power and interdependence in today's world. For those interested in international relations and politics. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Series: Longman Classics in Political Science
  • Paperback: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Pearson; 4 edition (February 20, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0205082912
  • ISBN-13: 978-0205082919
  • Product Dimensions: 5.9 x 0.8 x 8.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #78,091 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
Keohane and Nye say that "Contemporary world politics is not a seamless web; it is a tapestry of diverse relationships. In such a world, one model cannot explain all situations. The secret of understanding lies in knowing which approach or combinations of approaches to use in analyzing a situation". In that phrase we can find the purpose of this book: to give the reader some analytical tools that will help him to comprehend our world.
The authors say that neither the traditionalist vision nor the modernist vision is nowadays adequate to interpret our world, due to the fact that there is an ever- growing and multidimensional interdependence. Their task is to point out to us the situations in which the assumptions that characterize each vision should be applied, to offer good predictions and satisfying answers. In their words, "to provide a means of distilling and blending the wisdom in both positions by developing a coherent theoretical framework for the political analysis of interdependence".
In "Power and interdependence", you will be introduced to quite a few interesting concepts, starting by what does interdependence mean, and the differences between interdependence and dependence. Each definition is accompanied by several examples, that make the concepts easier to grasp.
I found especially interesting the way in which Keohane and Nye explained the role of power in interdependence, by distinguishing between two dimensions of interdependence: sensitivity and vulnerability. Sensitivity has to do with how much a country is affected by the policies of another country before reacting to those changes (the key assumption here is that the framework isn't changed).
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Format: Paperback
Power and Interdependence, is a classic work that sets out to add a new dimension to international relations thinking. It, literally, turns classical realist thought on its head to attempt to explain areas of IR that realist thought usually struggles to.

Keohane and Nye start out by questioning the realist assumptions made by writers such as Waltz, namely that IR theory is state centric, in an anarchical world where military security is most important. By turning these assumptions on their head, the writers develop what they term `complex interdependence', the conditions of which are that the use of force is minor, that there are multiple issues not arranged hierarchically and that there are multiple channels of contact between states. The key difference that arises out of this is the notion that regimes become more important under a complex interdependence theory and therefore greatly assists in explaining why hegemonic states such as the US still participate in multi-lateral institutions, such as the UN.

The authors then proceed to use four case studies to test their theory. The first two issues deal with global issues, being Oceans (that is law of the sea), money (capital controls, Bretton Woods), while the second two examine the relationship between Canada and the US and Australia and the US. The authors then proceed to examine each case study, looking at changes in the relationship and applying each of the three factors mentioned above. This then leads them to determine which end of the scale the relationships sit, complex interdependence, realist or somewhere in between.
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In recent years the effects of the "internet age" to foster "globalism" has been described by Thomas Friedman of the New York Times, among others. In the current circumstances, it seems as if old notions of power politics by nation-states is just an inaccurate way of looking at international relations. What other ways are there? Keohane and Nye, writing originally in the mid-1980s, describe a "theoretical" framework for what they refer to "interdependence." They illustrate their theory with examples of international monetary negotiations relating to the IMF, in negotiations relating to the Law of the Sea, and US-Canada relations. They state that increasingly major corporations or working government bureaucracies, working apart from the institions of the State Department in the US (for example), reach out to their counterparts across national boundaries. Speaking as someone who has had mid-level military assignments in other nations, it seems to me gratifying that these kinds of situations are presented and discussed. However, I agree with the Afterword in the 1989 edition of the book written by the authors themselves, that states that their treatment in this book is focused on areas where realism was not intended to apply in the first place. Also, they acknowledge (on page 159) that in the kinds of circumstances that "interdependence" applies, domestic politics makes foreign policy decisions subordinate to private interests. I think Hans Morgenthau would say that the role of those making decisions for nations in national security areas need to be leaders in determining national interests and applying policy based on (realist) analysis, and not followers on domestic politics. From my own point of view, lack of focus on "national interests" has caused US foreign policy to be disjointed and opportunistic in recent years.
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