Nevertheless, the historical materialist school of thought is the most promising starting point for a marriage between ecological thought and global political economy and such an endeavor will thus be pursued in more depth in this book. The liberal approach is one that can be evenly divided into a conceptual and a policy-related approach as it is the hegemonic approach of not only global environmental politics but also of the global political economy architecture in general. The classic IPE textbooks dene liberal IPE in the following three ways: Liberal economic theory is committed to free markets and minimal state intervention, although the relative emphasis on the one or the other may differ.
Liberal political theory is committed to individual equality and liberty, although again the emphasis may differ Gilpin, Whereas the realist approach focuses on the nation-state, liberal thinking has tended to see the individual as the basic unit of analysis. The primary motivating force in the economy is the competitive interaction between individuals, who are assumed to maximize their satisfaction, or utility, especially through the social institution of the market.
The market aggregates these individual preferences and utilities on the demand side and on the supply side the actions of prot-seeking rms. Liberalism is a view of IPE that sees markets as more important than states. The role of the market is as a peaceful coordinating process, which brings together individuals in a mutually advantageous positive-sum game. The role of state power is negligible, largely conned to security structures, or stronger, but mainly used to strengthen and stabilize markets.
Despite their differences, all approaches make it clear that liberal IPE is about the importance of the economy and access to markets, i. The benets of free markets will also accrue in the political eld through increased wealth for all and more economic interdependence will lead to less conict. These ideas and principles have been anchored in a global political economy framework through the Bretton Woods system and through the creation of organizations designed to increase economic integration between the various parts of the world.
International economic integration institutions such as the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund, the World Trade Organisation, and regional economic integration organizations have especially changed the political and economic landscape from the s onward. Most of these institutions have of course existed since the end of the Second World War and were architects of the post-war political and economic order. With the collapse of the original Bretton Woods system in the s and the ensuing changes in the production structure, these institutions have also gradually experienced a change in the international economic order to which they have contributed.
The Environment as a Global Issue
The eld of trade is perhaps the area in which most of the change has taken place. The General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade served as the international organization responsible for trade liberalization until when it was replaced with the World Trade Organisation. The World Trade Organisation is perceived as one of the main culprits of the negative effects of economic globalization by the general public, largely because of the attention it has received from protest movements.
Although this is a process that is not related to the collapse of the Bretton Woods system but to the design of the international post-war order, it nevertheless accelerated in the later decades of the twentieth century. Trade liberalization was discussed in trade rounds dealing with specic products and product groups. However, this was primarily a trend affecting goods produced by industrialized countries and most trade liberalization took place within the industrialized world.
Apart from being a legally stronger and more wide-reaching organization compared to the GATT, the WTO aims to reduce or eliminate a whole range of non-tariff barriers and differences in trading conditions between countries. Moreover, the WTO is a much more powerful institution in so far as its dispute panels have the authority to make binding judgements in cases where trade rules are subject to dispute or transgressed Held et al. Therefore the harmonization of import and export rules to liberalize trade has an impact on other policy. The present arrangement whereby WTO rules can, and usually do, take precedence over international environmental agreements or national regulations, for example, may not directly affect state sovereignty as a legal issue but at the same time it erodes the power of the state to be in control of its social and environmental regulations if it wants to be part of the global economic framework.
This is a problem that affects both industrialized and developing countries. Thus one of the main criticisms of the World Trade Organisation and of economic globalization the term used to describe neoliberal policy aims is that the increasing importance of markets erodes the power of states and gives power to non-elected economic organizations such as multinational corporations Hines, States then become more interested in supporting their economies rather than their citizens, arguing that a well-functioning economy is good for their citizens.
The state thus becomes a representative of the economic actors rather than social interests, marginalizing citizens and reducing them to economic actors rather than to private citizens. One of the main problems with this construction is that it leads to an institutional network prioritizing free markets or trade liberalization over most or all other policy issues, automatically assuming that such trends are benecial for society at large.
However, such a view ignores the fact that there are certain policy areas that cannot easily be accommodated in an economocentric worldview and that this leads to a lack of moral agency in the international system. The protection of minimum labor standards and basic human rights for workers or the protection of the environment are a case in point.
If increasing trade liberalization and erosion of non-tariff barriers makes it difcult for individual states to introduce or uphold production, labor, or environmental standards because they would constitute an unfair obstacle to fair trade, then the agency of the World Trade Organisation clearly has a globalizing effect in terms of introducing a liberated market.
However, it also introduces a level playing eld at the level of the lowest common denominator in terms of labor, environmental and production standards and makes it difcult for states with low denominators to rise above that situation. In order to participate in the global market, states are compelled to comply with the rules set up by the WTO. This affects or erodes their sovereign right to selfdetermination in terms of national legislation. Legally, this right to sovereignty is not affected but it is impeded in practice as the whole global economic integration project makes it impossible for a state to opt out.
Not all academics or policy makers agree that trade liberalization leads to lower social or environmental standards. Daniel Drezner , for example, argues that trade liberalization and economic institutionalization through the WTO has actually led to higher labor or environmental standards in developing countries.
The discrepancies between these argu-. Drezner measures improvement in terms of legislation or regulations whereas critics tend to look at living and working conditions as well as at the structural framework. It is also necessary to make distinctions between absolute and relative improvements.
Kütting, Gabriela [WorldCat Identities]
Liberals believe that absolute gains are an improvement while critics of this approach, such as historical materialists, hold that an absolute improvement of a situation may well and usually does mean a relative worsening of a particular states or regions position in the world economyeither in terms of economic performance or in terms of welfare or environmental standards. In fact, world gross product has more than quadrupled since New Scientist, April 27, 31 yet at the same time the gap between rich and poor has increased tenfold ibid. Thus, despite the fact that absolute wealth has increased on the planet e.
The idea of global trade liberalization is a value-neutral project that is based on classical liberal ideas of increased overall wealth beneting everybody in the long run. However, this point of view disregards the actual nature of capital accumulation and its prot motive that is disconnected from moral and ethical considerations. As long as there are expanding markets, moral and ethical considerations toward the work force need not be considered as they are not seen as potential consumers of the product. Likewise, environmental responsibility is externalized and cannot be reconciled with a prot motive.
As this role of the state has now been curtailed through the primacy of the market over welfare agendas, this creates serious problems in terms of moral authority in the international system. However, states themselves have been complicit in this process and relegated themselves to a lower place on the international agenda. Therefore, in terms of agency the WTO cannot be held responsible for this process as it has been set up by an international community of states in order to do exactly what it doesto liberalize trade Kreissl-Drer, Another group of actors supposedly complicit in the construction of a global economy are multinational corporationsthe very actors who are meant to benet most from trade liberalization.
Sheer size and economic impact gives many of the larger companies a disproportionate inuence in certain geographical regions. This is a problem faced by both developing and developed. However, other sources maintain that the actual occurrence and empirical evidence for such behavior is rather more scant than globalization critics would make us believe Drezner, Therefore this claim is contested.
It cannot be denied that the prot and efciency rationale of big business in the era of post-Fordism leads to global practices that contribute to the erosion of human and labor rights as well as to environmental degradation, but this sort of behavior seems to be guided by functionality rather than by a plot to assume power in world politics. These negative effects seem to be unintended consequences as they are outside the framework within which policy is made. However, this view is not shared by many of the new social movements that have developed the mission to demonstrate and ght against the negative effects of economic globalization.
They are actors who benet from political liberalism and are a counterforce to the negative impact of neoliberal economic policy. Although these are organizations with no clear legal or legitimate mandate to act in the international system, they nd strong public support and have often been invited to participate in international policymaking on an informal and advisory basis.
Although NGOs participated in the global political process long before , the precedent for large-scale NGO and social movement involvement in international affairs was set at the Rio Summit and has since become commonplace in international environmental policy-making. The World Bank, too, has started cooperation with non-governmental organizations but the WTO and the IMF have no such sophisticated coordinated consultation mechanisms in place yet or at least not to such an extent. So there is a gradual change happening in the international system with more actors evolving who want to leave their imprint on the policy-making process.
However, it is recognized that these organizations represent parts of society and public opinion and are therefore an important addition to the policy process. These developments show that the liberal and neoliberal approaches to globalization are very much the hegemonic approach to the global political economy as they are so much embedded in actual practice and value structure of the global institutional architecture.
But where does that leave the environ-. Liberal approaches have a strong environmental component but this is related to wealth creation. For example, the Brundtland report equates poverty with environmental degradation and sees the solution to environmental problems in the increase of wealth within a society, which will then give society the nancial means to put regulatory structures in place.
Of course this approach denies the essential link between environmental degradation and wealth creation since it is excessive consumption and use of resources and degrading sinks, i. Thus liberalism and an advanced economic society create the nancial resources necessary to manage environmental problems generated by its excessive wealth generation. Thus liberalism sees environmental degradation as an economic problem rather than as a problem of the interdependence of industrial society and the environment in which it exists and on which it is dependent.
Therefore, I argue that although there is copious literature on environmental regimes, environmental management, and liberal environmentalism, this does not constitute a liberal theory of the environment, even less so a liberal theory of environmental IPE. To achieve such a theory, liberalism would need to rethink the relations between environment and society in a fundamental way that does not see the environment as merely an economic input problem. These are in direct juxtaposition to the views of most liberals, both on issues such as justice and economic globalization and the environment.
This literature sees globalization as the consequence of neoliberal institutions and policies that nd their origins in the political and economic framework set up after the Second World War. Ankie Hoogvelt denes neoliberalism in the following way: At the heart of this neoliberal ideology is the idea that private property and accumulation are sacrosanct and that the prime responsibility of governments is to ensure sound nance: they must ght ination and maintain an attractive business climate in which, amongst other things, the power of unions is circumscribed.
These ideas both underpin and are the result of the structural power of. Globalization and the Environment capital that is so internationally mobile that the investment climate of each country is continually judged by business with reference to the climate which prevails elsewhere The protection and importance of private property is a classic tenant of liberal thought and its emphasis as such is nothing particularly new and unique to the process of globalization. However, its overemphasis is the main characteristic of neoliberal globalization and so is the subordination of other liberal principles to this idea.
The changing role of the state in the global economy is a primary factor in the rise of neoliberalism. Internationalization of production in itself is nothing new and is a permanent feature of most forms of capitalism. States were the accepted guardians of domestic concerns such as welfare and employment and economic progress. The main difference between liberalism and neoliberalism is that under the process of globalization economic structures are disembedded and the responsibilities of the state shift from protecting citizens and other agents to strengthening its place in a competitive world economy, thereby giving its citizens the protection previously enjoyed in different forms.
Thus the state has become the guardian of capital and production only rather than labor, welfare, or particular industries. The rise of multilateral institutions and new social movements within this process have attracted a lot of attention and have been documented in detail elsewhere OBrien et al. In this approach, the World Trade Organization is seen as the most obvious manifestation of neoliberalism and of the erosion of the power of the state. Its establishment in gave it more legal clout and institutional status than the GATT. As Colin Hines puts it: The WTOs greatest power lies in its dispute settlement body and its cross-retaliation provisions, both of which enable it to force nations to comply with WTO rules.
The increasing number of controversial rulings in which the WTO dispute settlement body has upheld corporate interests over those of people and the environment has increased public opposition to the WTO. Globalization is reducing the power of governments to provide what their populations require all over the world. TNCs and international capital have become the de facto new world government. Their increasing control over the global economy is underpinned by their free trade orthodoxy The advent of the WTO parallels in the economic sphere the institutionalization found in the political sphere for the past fty years.
The United Nations system and the International Court of Justice have similarly institutionalized procedures for interstate relations in all sorts of spheres and have provided a dispute-settlement body in the form of the International Court of Justice in The Hague. The statement that the WTO has more power than states is dependent on the denition of power used. The concept of state sovereignty has not changed and states are still the only sovereign actors in the international system.
Just as with the International Court of Justice where there is no enforcement mechanism for the legally binding decisions of the Court, the dispute settlement body of the WTO may be legally binding but there is no enforcement mechanism apart from trade sanctions. These trade sanctions may be very harmful and be a de facto limitation of state sovereignty but in legal terms the WTO is not more powerful than states. So the actual inuence of international economic actors may have increased over time under the process of globalization but the actual status of states has not changed, or rather the effects of neoliberalism have not fundamentally altered the institutional structure of the international system.
In the environmental literature, such discourses have been approached through the conceptualization of non-state actors. The popular global civil society discourse has become prominent within critical and alternative GPE. A recent example of this are the protests at the World Trade Organisation Summit meeting in Seattle or the G8 summit of the worlds seven leading economic powers plus Russia in Genoa.
Therefore this body of literature is mainly concerned with the role of agency in the global system and how agency has been transformed under conditions of globalization, such as the rise of more transnational actors in the international system and the perceived erosion of state sovereignty or the change in the role of the state in general. Although it is certainly true that the role or level of activity of global civil society has either increased dramatically in the past twenty years or has become more visible, these developments have given many non-state actors a more prominent role in the international system as policy advisers and conference participants.
However, in legal terms the role of the state has not changed in this period and nor have international organizations fundamentally changed their organizational structures. The Rio Summit in created a precedent by giving many non-state actors a prominent position in agenda-setting processes and debates but these actors have not acquired decision-making powers and have remained consultation partners.
So, although these new social movements are widespread in the global environmental eld, they are not an environmental phenomenon as such as they can equally be found in other policy areas. Therefore the global civil society literature uses the environment as a case study for its approach rather than offering an environmental perspective for the globalization debate.
Some writers see these new social movements or global civil society as the main avenue through which political and economic change toward a more sustainable political economy can be enacted given their belief that the rigidity of institutional frameworks prevents effective policy options from reaching this side Wapner, ; Bryner, Thus an argument for the particularly environmental nature of this approach can be made.
The actual role of global civil society in bringing about environmental improvement or economic change will be discussed in chapters 46 and the weight of this argument assessed. Another point of departure in the globalization critics account of the process of globalization is the increased power that multinational corporations seem to enjoy. This is seen as a particularly worrying phenomenon because it affects the issue of legitimacy in the international system. Multinational corporations are primarily accountable to their shareholders and their prot motive is thus to ensure high ratings on the stock market and high dividends to shareholders.
This means that their investment policies are very short-term and that economies of exibility and efciency are at the forefront of decision-making strategies rather than the long-term interests of the company. In addition, companies as economic actors are prot-oriented and do not have a social or public responsibility toward people or toward the environment, a role traditionally carried out by governments. Therefore the increased clout of multinational corporations at the expense of the state means that such social responsibilities are neglected.
The idea that the market as the primary forum of international relations incorporates social responsibilities and the fulllment of basic needs of the weak is questioned by the globalization critics Thomas, , Hines, The reason why multinational corporations are doing well in a globalizing economic climate is because trade liberalization and economies of exibility and free ow of capital benet the ones who already have capital and a large share in international trade Thomas, In this situation existing comparative advantages in the international economic system can be used to further extend the position of multinational corporations to one of dominance in the market.
Because they contribute such a large proportion of gross national product GNP , employment gures, corporate taxes, etc. However, the strong criticisms faced by these corporations from the globalization critics and the simultaneous decline of the state can also be seen as exaggerated phenomena. As Herman Schwartz argues: Just as states consciously created markets in the rst place from through , states have consciously recreated markets today. From to around those states made markets in agricultural goods and tried to extend those markets into all agricultural production. In the long 19th century they made markets in industrial goods and this nally did facilitate the extension of markets into agriculture with disastrous results in the s.
Today states are making markets in the service sectors which they had regulated and sheltered from the market since the Depression. As in the 19th century, the re-emergence of markets was planned by market actors and states that stood to benet from the destruction or reconguration of the various forms of social protection created in the golden era of the Keynesian welfare state.
But the driving force behind globalization is still conict between states worried about global market shares, states reacting to shifts in their relative ability to generate export streams and attract capital investment What Schwartz is saying is that multinational corporations have not taken power away from the state but have colluded and cooperated with states to bring about the free market ideology of neoliberalism under which globalization is thriving.
This argument is also valid in the context of the WTO since the WTO was set up by and for states and the changes in the political economy that led to the beginning of the globalization process were also enacted by states. So on the one hand there is an erosion of the power of the state but on the other the new system benets those states that were in a powerful situation when the system was established and therefore strengthens their position in the international system.
Thus some of the arguments of the globalization critics are overly simplistic although the fundamental critique that the conditions under globalization are becoming less socially aware and more individualistic are certainly true. Although institutions such as the World Trade Organisation or regional economic integration organizations certainly do seem to erode the power of the state and place more emphasis on free markets, economic growth, and progress rather than on human welfare, the state, or rather the developed world, have been instrumental in bringing about this new institutional framework and are playing a central role in it.
The state has not been coerced into changing its role. This chapter has critically examined the concept and processes of a globalizing political economy in relation to theory and policy practice as well as relating to environmental and social concerns. Globalization both as a concept and as a process is a contested termits usage has become generally accepted but there is no denition of what constitutes globalization and there is no empirical evidence that it exists on a large scale.
Attempts to conceptualize or theorize about globalization from an IPE perspective tend to sideline the environmental and social consequences of globalization as issues in the intellectual framework within which globalization is analyzed. These issues are usually treated as part of an analysis of global civil society and new social movements but in this context only transnational actors representing social and environmental issues are incorporated into the analysis rather than the structural and systemic forces and constraints within which actors operate.
There is a shortage of literature on this subject and this book aims to address this gap in the literature by offering a conceptual analysis of the social relations between the various actors in the global system and the structural environment in which they operate. The reason why there is no specically environmental theory of GPE is that the social sciences do not generally theorize about the environment as they are primarily concerned with society. The environment enters social science either as a problem to be solved by society, a force dominating society, a force to be dominated by society, or in the form of naturesociety relations.
It is the latter concept that is relevant as a theoretical concept for GPE. Holistic approaches have traditionally been focused on traditional social science, incorporating social, political, and economic factors but have not usually included environmental criteria. The term eco-holistic emphasizes that analysis needs to be social, political, economic, and environmental.
This chapter has subjected the core global political economy approaches to a preliminary eco-holistic analysis. This chapter will investigate the role between environment and society in the globalizing political economy as well as the social and structural origins of environmental degradation.
This subject has not previously been researched as such. There are many studies on the various actors in environmental politics and some studies on environmental ideologies Laferrire and Stoett, ; Peet and Watts, ; Escobar, as well as studies on the commodication of the environment under modern capitalism Merchant, However, there has not been any systematic research in International Relations IR or in any other discipline on the changing relations between society and environment throughout history and the underlying structural forces leading to these changes, which would be crucial for an understanding of the relationship between globalization and environmental degradation.
This chapter is an attempt to remedy this shortcoming and sees this task as the rst step toward an environmental or eco-holistic global political economy approach. Traditionally, literature focusing on the relationship between nature or environment and society or culture has taken the rise of modern capitalism with the associated rises of enlightenment thinking, Newtonian science, and the industrial revolution as the starting point of disturbed nature-society relations.
This view tends to romanticize the environmental impact of preindustrial society, or as Luc Ferry puts it, in a different context, it is possible to denounce the real or imagined misdeeds of liberalism in the name of nostalgia xxvi. There have been several studies Ponting, ; Chew, that have demonstrated that pre-industrial or pre-modern capitalist societies also engaged in practices resulting in widespread environmental degradation. However, it is often argued, that these degrading practices had a local or regional rather than global impact and that modern capitalism and its social relations are the only forms of social organization that actually lead to global environmental degradation.
Not all pollution in modernity is global pollution but modernity is the only form of social organization that can produce. This argument will be investigated further in this chapter because it is vitally important to establish whether the actual structures of modern capitalism intrinsically lead to more global environmental degradation compared with earlier forms of capitalism or if the increasing global nature of pollution can actually be attributed to technological progress rather than to underlying structural forces.
This question is crucial for nding the right way to approach the environmental crisis going beyond a purely management-based approach. The global nature of environmental degradation can largely be linked to the rise of the fossil fuel economy and to the decreasing distance of time and space in the relations between different parts of the globe Daly, These phenomena are intrinsically linked to the rise of modern capitalism.
However, the latter point is part of a longer and larger process that can also be observed in pre-modernity. The rst section of this chapter will be concerned with exploring this point in detail and discussing the historical origins of contemporary nature and society relations. The chapter will then investigate the particular relationship of environment and society under the process of globalization.
Here, several phenomena will be studied in detail as they are seen as vital ingredients of this process. The understanding of time as a social and environmental phenomenon will be a primary focus of this investigation. This point will be extended to focus on the phenomenon of time-space distanciation, which is often cited as one of the primary phenomena of globalization as it is generally associated with the globalizing of production and communication.
However, it is even more pertinent in relation to the spread and structural origins of environmental degradation. These issues highlight the historical dimension of environmentsociety relations around which this chapter is centered. Another globalizing eld is the study of governance and the increasing number of global accords regulating the social and economic activities that lead to environmental degradation.
These agreements tend to be de-linked from the relationship between environment and society and focus on environmental management strategies and damage-limitation exercises rather than dealing with the structural roots of particular environmental problems. In this context, the subject of trade and the environment also needs to be examined given that global trade regimes promote an unsustainable trading pattern that goes against the grain of resource realities. Trade and the environment are issues that have been linked in the academic literature but in practice trade liberalization and environmental protection are unrelated concepts and environmental considerations are only given lip service in the institutionalization of trade.
The latter issues of governance and trade are seen as threads that will go through all of the three main concepts I have signposted as the main pillars of an eco-holistic global political economyenvironmentsociety relations, production-consumption, and equity. These approaches usually dene the rise of modern capitalism as the point in history where society became more alienated from its physical environment than it used to be, a process that became worse as modern capitalism became more sophisticated.
Basically, the rise of modern capitalism, enlightenment, Newtonian science, and the industrial revolution acted in concert to bring about a change in society-environment relations as humans in the core economies saw themselves as increasingly mastering nature rather than being dependent and dominated by it Merchant, This in turn led to the perceived notion of decreasing dependency on the environment that resulted in its neglect through lack of understanding of ecological processes and their signicance for life on the planet.
First of all, the notion of the mastering of nature is conned to the industrializing countries and not a global phenomenon. Even today, nature-society relations are far from universal and can take different forms and shapes in different infrastructures even within the same national society.
For example, in an advanced industrial society, people have a relationship with their immediate local environment if they live in rural areas or a relationship with the countryside as visited at weekends or during holidays for city dwellers. They also have a relationship with the physical environment as experienced while traveling and they have images of what nature is and what its role should be in modern life.
This is their immediately experienced relationship and differs fundamentally from the environment-society relations of a predominantly agricultural developing country such as ood-ridden Mozambique. Therefore it is misleading to speak of the environment-society relationship as there are many different such relations in different societies or different segments of society.
Likewise, different nature-society relations are experienced in different aspects of peoples lives. However, nature-society relations that are not consciously experienced are much more signicant in political economy terms. These are experienced through productive and consumptive relations but the ecological or environmental aspects of these are not perceived by the various actors in the international system, or domestic systems, and their side effects in terms of environmental degradation are de-contextualized through the separation of.
What this means is that social behavior and actions have a much larger impact on the environment through the environmental impact of economic activities far removed from the actual consumer and that these practices are vitally important in shaping environment-society relations. However, these relations are usually not analyzed in the type of context suggested here.
Because of the complexity of environment-society relations at the conscious and subconscious levels as well as at the local, regional, and global level it is difcult to integrate this into a global political economy of the environment. However, because of this diversity of relations, it is also difcult to make a case for fundamentally changed nature-society relations after the industrial revolution and the beginning of modern capitalism from a global perspective.
Therefore a theory based on the assumption that there is one environment-society relationship and that this relationship is fundamentally different from the pre-modernity relationship is reductionist and cannot be the basis of a consistent political economy of the environment. The main argumentative thrust of this type of analysis suggests that the rise and fall of world civilizations can be traced to environmental degradation.
Thus, the nature of capitalism can be understood through the social relations of production, labor, and the environment. Clive Ponting in his environmental history of the world advances a similar argument, however, not couched in theoretical terms. This is, however, by no means a universal preoccupation amongst IR theorists.
The realist tradition continues to animate popular and academic study of international relations but it has had only limited impact upon the specialism of international environmental politics. Realists assert the primacy of the state which is assumed to pursue its national interest, famously reduced by Hans Morgenthau to the pursuit of power, but for most writers defined as the protection of its territorial integrity and the achievement of economic security and other central objectives of the state see Chapter 7.
The natural environment is, therefore, significant not in itself, but in terms of resource competition between states. Thus, the preoccupation of realist thinkers is with the management of power balances and the achievement of some kind of order in a world of conflict. Neorealism, which shares some important characteristics with neoliberal approaches discussed below , sought to provide a parsimonious theory of international power politics based upon a rational choice model of the way that any state would behave within an anarchic structure.
The environment rarely figured as the subject of such analyses, but realism provides one hypothesis that would be relevant to explanations of international environmental cooperation. The occupant of this role for much of the twentieth century was the United States and there was much concern from the s onwards as to the future of world economic regulation, once US dominance began to erode.
For students of international environmental politics this did not appear to be a plausible, still less a desirable, thesis because from the late s, through the period of major construction of international environmental accords, the USA was either absent or obstructive — having relinquished its earlier leadership role. Hegemonic stability does not exhaust the potential of realist theorizing. Realist thinking about shifting power constellations is clearly relevant Rowlands as are the older traditions of geopolitical analysis which centred on struggles over territorial space and resources.
Geopolitics, as outlined by such scholars as Sir Halford Mackinder, was usually located within political geography although it had clear associations with the realist power political analysis. In geopolitical writing the emphasis was always on resource conflict rather than the environment per se although prominent political geographers Harold and Margaret Sprout managed to move on to the consideration of international environmental politics.
As Stevis : 20 notes, geopolitics was the predecessor of the contemporary environmental conflict and security research agenda see Chapter The study of environmental security has produced an extensive literature in recent years Barnett ; Swatuk ; see Chapter When environmental security is defined in terms of the relationship between environmental change and armed conflict — whether war or insurgency — it is of interest to governments and the strategic studies community.
Hence attempts to focus governmental attention and resources on, say, climate change would describe it as a security threat greater than that posed by terrorists King ; see Chapter For one thing the mindsets of soldiers and environmental activists are at variance and the employment of military assets is generally more likely to degrade than enhance environmental quality. A prominent research programme into the actual connections between environmental degradation and conflict has been undertaken by Homer-Dixon , and his associates who isolate three types of conflict that are likely to be causally connected to environmental changes: struggles over diminishing resources, conflict related to migration and insurrections as fragile states fail to cope with the stresses of environmental change.
As evident in cases such as the Darfur conflict in Sudan, there are connections between environmental change desertification and loss of habitats; see Chapters 39 and 37 , the displacement of farmers and ethnically structured conflicts. However, the precise causal mechanisms are notoriously hard to pin down Barnett ; Gleditsch Much of the writing on environmental security is framed within a set of assumptions about conflict and security that align with realism.
For example the Pentagon has commissioned studies of not only the threats but also the strategic opportunities opened up by some of the scenarios for future climate change Schwartz and Randall Nonetheless, it must be pointed out that a great deal of work in this field is performed within the competing normative enterprise of peace research Baechler There is a similar commitment to social scientific modes of explanation but peace research, with its pacifistic and often radical outlook, is in essential opposition to the realist paradigm. The use of the term rationalism can cause confusion.
It does not in this instance refer to procedural rationality of the sort that is to be found in the rational choice models employed by both realists and their opponents. Rather, the sense is that rationalists have a reasoned approach in contrast to the brutalities of power politics or the excessive idealism of those who would overturn the existing system.
At the core of the rationalist tradition in IR are conceptions that can be traced back at least to Grotius, founding father of modern international law see Chapter Classical rationalist thinkers were preoccupied by the problems of war, but the general approach does comprehend the mainstream of studies of international environmental politics that endeavours to improve the management of common problems by states, without the expectation that a revolutionary transformation of the international system, to provide a sustainable form of world ecological government is a realistic prospect for the immediate future.
Liberalism as a political and economic theory has diverse roots in the English constitutional and religious struggles of the seventeenth century and in the European enlightenment of the eighteenth. Its appeal is to the rights of the individual, the limitation of government powers and the importance not only of free association, but of free markets. In IR it has been reflected in a progressive belief in reform of the states system.
In the interwar period liberal internationalist thinkers were in the ascendant as advocates of national self-determination and the encouragement of international law and organization as the antidote to a war-prone international system. Liberals have been suspicious of the state and receptive to the idea of a more pluralist and transnational world system see Chapter This, coupled with a strong belief in the efficacy of free trade for the production of both wealth and political stability, has meant that, in the aftermath of the Cold War, liberalism became the dominant ideology that both celebrated and justified the spread of economic globalization.
The protection of the natural environment did not figure largely in liberal thinking. Indeed, critics will point out that liberal economics, in its encouragement of the rise of consumer capitalism, bears a major responsibility for the degradation of nature associated with economic growth. The liberal response is that free markets will provide the optimal allocation of resources in terms of efficiency and sustainability if only the environmental costs of human activity externalities are properly taken into account in transactions see Chapter The fact that this does not occur and that state authorities fail to coordinate their activities in a rational way, beneficial to all in the longer term, provides a key to understanding liberal approaches to international environmental issues.
In fact proponents of liberal political economy admit that markets in themselves would not operate properly without a framework of rules. Thus governments should be encouraged to cooperate in what was assumed to be their underlying collective interest — as they had at the end of the Second World War with an economic settlement that put in place the Bretton Woods monetary order and the global free trade regime — a critical enabler of globalization. When environmental issues achieved wider salience during the s liberal analysts were able to tap into existing work on the conditions required for international economic cooperation.
There were some exceptions, such as Oran Young, who had already begun to study international environmental cooperation in the preceding decade. They adopted many of the assumptions of neoclassical economics Keohane in the study of what were defined as collective action problems. In fact it is quite difficult to distinguish between work that can be classified as IR and that which presents an essentially economic analysis. Economists have performed extensive research not only on the viability of instruments such as emissions trading, but also into the functions of international agreements and the conditions under which they occur Barrett In economic theory public goods cannot be provided by the operation of the market and this affords a justification for cooperation between governments to ensure their supply.
Key assumptions of this type of approach included the notion of rational, utility-maximizing actors who would take strategic decisions to cooperate if the incentives were right. An awareness of this possibility was assumed to be a major disincentive to potential participants in an agreement Stern The epistemological stance of these scholars of international cooperation, often referred to as neoliberals, was also closely aligned with mainstream economics.
Although the term neoliberal is used to denote scholars who adopted many of the assumptions of their counterparts in economics there are definitional problems. Neoliberalism has a conventional political meaning denoting ideas of a reduced state, privileging the private sector and the individual over the collective interest and inspiring the policies adopted by the Thatcher government in the UK and, at the international level, contained within the Washington Consensus. Some of the intellectual underpinnings of both types of neoliberalism may be similar but many of those who might be defined as neoliberal in the IR literature would not hold with the political and economic programme of neoliberalism.
Neoliberal scholarship sought, in the main, to explain the pattern of incentives under which cooperation was possible for self-interested actors. In some ways neoliberalism represented a simplification because states became the focus of analysis and other liberal preoccupations, for example with a plurality of international actors and with transnational relations Mansbach et al.
It was often said that the difference between neorealists and liberals had been narrowed to such an extent that all that divided them was a disagreement over whether the gains of state participants were relative or absolute — in line with the long-standing liberal credo Lamy : —5. It is no exaggeration to say that the mainstream position in the study of international environmental cooperation is liberal institutionalism.
While sharing many of the economistic assumptions discussed above, institutionalists understand that economic activity and international cooperation necessarily occur within a framework of rules and understandings Young This had long been the province of international law and organization but institutional theorists in IR developed the new concept of an international regime, initially in the study of the regulation of the international economy. Regimes were seen as institutions in the sociological sense of the word. They were defined as sets of norms, principles, rules and decision-making procedures around which actor expectations and behaviour would converge in a given issue area Ruggie ; Krasner ; Young International law and international organizations often referred to as institutions in established usage were only constituent parts of this broader concept which was designed to analyse the less formal understandings upon which cooperation was built see Chapters 8 , 9 and In contrast to realist analysis, regimes were seen to have an independent impact upon the calculations of governments.
As so often in IR theorizing, there was a real-world issue driving these concerns: the presumed loss of US hegemony following the ending of the dollar standard in and alarm at the consequent unravelling of the global monetary order. Regime analysis was readily adapted to the study of international environmental cooperation see Chapter 9 ; commencing with the Long Range Transboundary Air Pollution Convention and the Vienna Convention on stratospheric ozone depletion and its renowned Montreal Protocol see Chapter 29 , the production of global environmental agreements boomed.
Arguably, even though the origins of liberal institutionalist scholarship on regimes lay elsewhere, many of its major developments have been located within the environmental field Haas et al. The approach has been social scientific, searching for patterns in the empirical evidence from numerous cases of environmental cooperation Young and Zurn and looking to explain variance and to specify independent and dependent variables.
The dependent variables have been: the setting up of environmental regimes, the extent of agreement and levels of compliance and effectiveness — ultimately in the solution or amelioration of environmental problems see Chapter 9. At the beginning of the study of environmental regimes the question most frequently posed was the same as that posed by the economists — under what circumstances can cooperation occur Young ?
From the extensive study of cases there were various answers. Perceived mutual vulnerability and a continuing interest in arrangements that safeguarded rights to use the global commons would provide one explanation. The continuing success of the Antarctic Treaty regime with its selective membership and the way in which the Montreal Protocol rested upon agreement amongst a relatively small group of chemical manufacturing companies would lend weight to this proposition.
Young presents a series of hypotheses on the conditions of success, including the absence of a specified zone of agreement and the presence of uncertainty. Other factors include the need to find solutions that are regarded as equitable as well as enforceable. Mastering globalization new sub-states' governance and strategies. The clash of globalisations neo-liberalism, the third way, and anti-globalisation.
Globalization, security, and the nation-state paradigms in transition. Shipping and ports in the twenty-first century globalization, technological change and the environment. Beyond description Singapore space historicity. Global metropolitan globalizing cities in a capitalist world. Russian transformations challenging the global narrative. Systemic change in the Japanese and German economies convergence and differentiation as a dual challenge.
Globalization and the environment greening global political economy. Shadow globalization, ethnic conflicts and new wars a political economy of intra-state war. Globalization and development a Latin American and Caribbean perspective.