Global Governance Theory

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Global governance is complex in nature. With contemporary Global governance being truly dynamic with a wide variety of actors and issues, the multiple theories on Global governance and international relations matter, as they help to break-down and make clear what actors, if any, matter most, the roles each play, and the nature of the existence of global governance. The major theories (and their associated middle-level theories) of Liberalism, Realism, Social Constructivism, and the English School each attempts to address the process of global governance and the setting in which it takes place. The main premise of Liberalism in IR theory is that human nature is good, allowing for change via institutions (Karns et al, 2015, p. 44). What we traditionally…show more content…
45). Of central importance in liberal theory are States, that each have different interests. Within Liberal theory global governance is described as the stage, or “context”, in which states interact with each other (Karns, p. 45). The power of major states is a key factor but can be held in check by various rules and International Organizations. As states become more interdependent, their shared interests will also increase (Karns, p. 46). Several of the middle-level theories of Liberalism help to better explain the nature of global governance. Foremost, Neoliberalism, or neoliberal institutionalism, predicts a disorderly international setting in which state actors are encouraged to interact with one another in order to maximize absolute gains (Karns, p. 47). The concept of absolute gains distinguishes Liberalism from the further discussed theory of Realism, which focuses on maximizing relative gains (Karns, p. 56). This focus on absolute gains is how neoliberalism explain the importance of international institutions, through which neoliberalism suggests states collectively work to solve common problems for the absolute benefit of all actors involved (Karns, p. 47-48). Because there is an assumed level of distrust between competing states,…show more content…
It places the greatest importance not on state actors, but on the institutions and norms that exist in the international system (Karns, p. 59). Unlike Realism, Social Constructivism suggests that interests and identities of states can in fact change and are not assumed to be fixed. For example, the institution of state sovereignty is important, but the idea of what sovereignty is has changed as the social beliefs, cultural, and norms of states change (Karns, p. 59). According to this theory, the greatest means to affect these kinds of socially constructed changes is through multilateralism. Also in contrast to Realism, Social Constructivism purposes that IGOs have actual power, and their power comes not from their need to enforce authority, but their ability to act impartially as vessels for cooperation, and as actors that can teach and create new norms (Karns, p.
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