Keohane and Nye’s theories of Complex Interdependence and Transnationalism

Keohane and Nye’s theories of Complex Interdependence and Transnationalism

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Robert Keohane and Joseph Nye discussed interdependence and transnationalism in their first publication, ‘Power and Interdependence’ released in 1977. The release coincided with the United Nations (UN) decade of Development where states pushed towards economic growth and social advancement. The 70’s was also a particularly quiet time during the Cold War and was when the European Community (EC) really came to fruition. The world was moving forward at a substantial rate and the old schools of thought seemed less and less relevant in understanding world politics. Keohane and Nye pointed to organisations such as the EC and Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) stating that these along with the rise of multinational corporations and intergovernmental organisations such as the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund, destroyed the old schools of thought, they no longer applied to this new international system.

The traditional view of world politics was Realism, this theory concentrated on security as the main factor in world politics, this meant political integration between states was believed to be slight and only viable as long as it served the national interest of the state. Transnational actors were believed to not exist or not have any political importance. The balance of power was decided militarily and needed to remain stable (Keohane & Nye, 2011: 20). With the changes the 1970’s brought and with transnationalism becoming ever more prevalent and obvious many believed realism no longer described the world.

“Interdependence means mutual dependence… characterised by reciprocal effects across countries or among actors in different countries” (Keohane & Nye, 2011: 7). This mutual dependence can still ...


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...deas such as globalisation. With an ever changing world and ever changing systems are certainly need.



Works Cited

BBC. (2011, September). North Korea country profile . Retrieved December 2011, from BBC News: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/country_profiles/1131421.stm#facts
Clavin, P. (2005). Defining Transnationalism. Contemporary European History, 14(4), 421-439.
Goldstein, J. S. (2001). International Relations (4th ed.). New York: Longman.
Keohane, R. O., & Nye, J. S. (2011). Power and Interdependence. (4th, Ed.) Boston: Longman.
NPR. (2005, April). 50th Anniversary of McDonald's. Retrieved December 2011, from NPR: http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=4600471
Sullivan, M. P. (1982). Transnationalism, Power Politics, and the Realitities of the Present System - Globalism Versus Realism. (R. Maghroori, & B. Ramberg, Eds.) Colorado: Westview.

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