|InterJournal Complex Systems, 220
|Manuscript Number: |
Submission Date: 981125
|Emergence of Synergistic Hegemony in International Relations|
Category: Brief Article
Conventional approaches in political sciences have been dominated by the rationality assumption. Two controversial concepts describing the pattern of hegemonic system formation, "benevolent hegemony" and "coercive hegemony", are also based on the assumption that each individual state (whether strong or weak) tries to maximize its own interests in a given situation. Rather than working from this assumption we argue that different actors in international relations behave differently, organizing themselves for collective actions in order to overcome the "tragedy of the commons" or the "prisoner's dilemma" they face. This means that the concept of rationality should be applied in only a limited sense. Thus the emergence of hegemony is to be understood as an expression of the effort for collective actions in international relations. In this scheme, any participant in a hegemonic system needs not be a "loser"; rather, all participants seek a collective "win-win" in this system. Focus should also be put on the scope of collective action. We argue that hegemony should be understood as a search system for local, rather than global, optima through collective action in a dynamically rugged landscape. Thus every historical case of international hegemonic systems would be considered as an effort for finding the regional or local optima at the moment. We recognize that the British and the American hegemonic systems have not covered the entire world. No country could yet have planned a perfect hegemonic system covering the whole world. Instead, each has followed and is following its own strategy (a bottom-up approach) so that they can achieve the macro-level phenomenon of an international hegemonic system.
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