History and theory are intertwined; we shall use a neo-institutionalist approach to give context and meaning to the history of international organizations. International organizations emerge when complex interdependencies prod states into international cooperation to further common interests (the ‘problem condition’). But this explanation is not sufficient; it needs to be complemented with a cognitive one derived from constructivist theory, and a structural power explanation derived from realist theory. The emergence of international organizations depends not only on the mere existence of complex interdependencies themselves, but also on the realization that these interdependencies lead to problems which can only be overcome through cooperation within international organizations (the ‘cognitive condition’). Whereas realists argue that international organizations only emerge out of complex interdependencies when a hegemonic state is willing to bear the costs of their creation (the ‘hegemonic condition’), we propose that international organizations are most likely to be created when each of the three conditions deriving from the institutionalist, the constructivist and the realist tradition — that is, the problem, the cognitive and the hegemonic conditions — are met at the same time. We shall show that these three conditions largely explain the establishment of international organizations in six of the most prominent issue areas of world politics: 1.war and power politics;2.industrial expansion;3.world economic crises;4.human rights violations;5.developmental disparities;6.environmental degradation.
Swipe to navigate through the chapters of this book
Please log in to get access to this content
- History of International Organizations
- Macmillan Education UK
- Sequence number
- Chapter number
- Chapter 3