A Social Theory of the WTO: Trading Cultures by Jane Ford (auth.)

By Jane Ford (auth.)

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In the HST view of the world, hegemons, such as the US since wwn and Britain before WWl, provided free trade as an international public good (Gilpin, 1987, p. 74). They provided free trade partly in an altruistic desire for international stability and partly because they benefited from it. As hegemons, Britain and the US gained the ability to shape and dominate their international environment, while providing benefits to entice middle and small powers to secure their cooperation (Gilpin, 1987).

13). This learning is quite different from that envisaged by neoliberal institutionalism. Whereas neoliberalism observes states adapting their behavior in response to new incentives provided by regime norms, social theory recognizes that learning happens through cognitive change rather just through adaptation (Kratochwil, ] 993, p. 449). Constructivism concentrates on how, by acting in particular ways, states shape expectations about how they will behave in the future. Identities are predominantly formed through cultural selection.

Neorealists such as Kenneth Waltz (1979) and John Mearsheimer (1995) argue that cooperative regimes are aberrations in an international sphere that perpetuates continual conflict and power balancing between self-protective states. Neorealism understands states' identities and interests as 'given', largely determined by the material structure of anarchy (Wendt, 1999, p. 34). The distribution of material capabilities or power among states determines the rules and institutions that regulate interstate relations (Keohane, 1989, p.

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