What is neoliberalism with regard to the study of International Relations?

4 Answers

pohnpei397's profile pic

pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted on

In International Relations, neoliberalism is a theory that holds that states should try to achieve absolute gains rather than trying to achieve gains relative to other countries.

Neoliberalism is a response to neorealism.  Neorealism emphasizes the idea that states have no reason to cooperate with one another.  They exist in an anarchic world where states must all compete with one another.  In such a world, the incentives tend to push countries to compete with one another.

Neoliberalism, by contrast, holds that interactions between countries can be win-win situations.  They believe in the idea that the world can be set up in such a way that cooperation will be rewarded and countries can stop emphasizing competition.

Put in terms of the prisoner's dilemma, neorealism focuses on the idea that states have an incentive to defect.  By contrast, neoliberalism focuses on the idea that cooperating brings benefits to both sides and that the world can be set up with institutions and such that make it easier for states to cooperate with one another.

sakura12908's profile pic

sakura12908 | Student, Grade 9 | eNotes Newbie

Posted on

Since the 1990's activists use the word 'neoliberalism' for global market-liberalism ('capitalism') and for free-trade policies. In this sense, it is widely used in South America. 'Neoliberalism' is often used interchangeably with 'globalisation'. But free markets and global free trade are not new, and this use of the word ignores developments in the advanced economies. The analysis here compares neoliberalism with its historical predecessors. Neoliberalism is not just economics: it is a social and moral philosophy, in some aspects qualitatively different from liberalism. Last changes 02 December 2005.