International Relations and Development - Started post World War II

Research Paper (undergraduate) 2009 17 Pages

History Europe - Other Countries - Ages of World Wars



1 Abstract

2 Definitions

3 International Relations Assessment

4 Development Assessment

5 Critical Assessment

6 Conclusion

7 What will happen in the next 50 years

8 References

1 Abstract

Goldstein & Pevehouse (2006) strictly defines IR as the relationships among the world’s governments and its interaction with other state actors. It overlaps several other fields such as international politics, economics, history, sociology and other sub-disciplines such as comparative politics, international security and international political economy (IPE). IR scholars look at IR in terms of the mix of conflict and cooperation in relationships among nations (Ch. 1, pp 1-5). Traditionally IR has focused on questions of war and peace, a sub-field of international security studies. It is deuced from this that some time immediately preceding , during, after World War 1, but prior to World War II, theories such as realism, hegemony, colonialism etc. compounded with ethnocentrism bestowed upon the superpowers the idea that the only answer to lasting sustainability would be through wielding state power. After World War II it still continued but a new sub-field began to emerge in IR, i.e. IPE. Goldstein & Pevenhouse (2006) note that in the 1970’s and 1980’s, “as economies became increasingly central to international relations, the subfield of IPE grew and became the counterpoint to international security studies as a second main subfield of IR”. Goldstein & Pevehouse (2006) explain that “scholars of IPE study trade relations and financial relations among nations, and try to understand how nations have cooperated politically to create and maintain institutions that regulate the flow of international economic and financial transactions. These topics mainly relate to relations among the world’s richer nations. But since the 1990’s growing attention has been paid to global North-South relations between rich and poor nations, including such topics as economic dependency, debt, foreign aid, and technology transfer.” Goldstein & Pevehouse (2006) link the field of IR to Development through the sub-discipline, IPE (Ch.1, pp 5).

This paper will critically assess the position that IR and Development started with the post World War II time. It will provide some definitions around IR and development, trace IR over time and examine whether or not development has really taken hold using the North-South as a basis for the hypothesis that development started with the post WWII time. The paper will also briefly speak to what might happen in the next 50 years.

2 Definitions

Mclean & McMillan (2003) define International relations as the discipline that studies interactions between and among states, and more broadly, the workings of the international system as a whole. It can be conceived of either as a multidisciplinary field, gathering together the international aspects of politics, economics, history, law, and sociology, or as a meta-discipline, focusing on the systemic structures and patterns of interaction of the human species taken as a whole. The discipline acquired its own identity after the First World War. Its principal branches additional to theory include international political economy, international organization, foreign policy-making, strategic (or security) studies, and, more arguably, peace research. If area studies are added to these, the label international studies become more appropriate. When spelled wholly in lower case, the term refers to the totality of interactions within the international system. The emphasis is often on relations between states, though other collective actors such as multinational corporations, transnational interest groups, and international organizations also play an important role.

Mclean & McMillan (2003) define Development is a normative concept referring to a multidimensional process. Some people argue that development must be relative to time, place, and circumstance, and dismiss any universal formula. Increased economic efficiency, expansion of national economic capacity, and technological advance are generally accepted as necessary conditions if development is to be sustainable, as are economic and industrial diversification and adaptability in the face of shocks. Additional ingredients, attached by writers from various social sciences, include changes in social structure, attitudes, and motivation or specify the purposes of economic improvement. Increases in gross national product (GNP) and average real incomes are means, not ends. In some accounts, the increase of general social welfare embraces even spiritual and cultural attainments, personal dignity and group esteem, development being defined as the fulfilment of the necessary conditions for the realization of the potential of human personality. At its simplest, development is the increasing satisfaction of basic needs such as for food. Controversy surrounds the extent of such needs. Is education one of them? Development is customarily translated into improvements in certain social indicators and indicators of the (physical) quality of life, such as life expectancy. Ideas of development engender debate over the theoretical and empirical relationships between the rate and pattern of economic growth, the distribution of the benefits and equity. Other conditions that have been included in development are increasing national self-determination, predicated on the notion that development is something a country does to itself and means reducing external dependency. More fashionable now are notions of environmentally sustainable development, or the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs, and feminist theories of development that emphasize gender and women’s issues specifically. Democratization, accountable government, and a respect for human rights have also recently become more prominent, as features of political development contained by the generic sense of development. Development, then, values increased freedom. After all, the most basic need of all may be the freedom to define your own needs, taking part in decisions that affect your own life. Economic development cannot be divorced from the other aspects of development. Its principal contribution is to enhance the range of human choice for all members of society without discrimination. Modern observers of the Third world argue that whatever else development is it must be participatory-a ‘bottom up’ exercise, where ordinary people understand, initiate, and control the process.

3 International Relations Assessment

Goldstein & Pevehouse (2006), posit that “the basic structures and principles of IR, even in the current era, are deeply rooted in historical developments”. They explain that the present day international system (IS) is the product of Western civilization, developed among European states 300 – 500 years ago, exported to the rest of the world, and in the last century subsumed all of the world’s territory into sovereign states (Ch 1 pp 25).

For the purposes of this paper, while IR may have dated as far back as the 1500s, a more recent review will be undertaken.

Canavero, Pizzetti, Valent, (2000) explain that despite two world wars, one can see in the development of international relations in the 20th century, the emerging of a move toward an international community of free countries tending to join and become integrated in order to face the growing problems that development and modernization posed, in a global picture of international relations which witnesses a progressive involvement of all countries and their growing interdependence. The idea of resolving the problems of states and protecting their interests not through war, but through cooperation, integration and multilateral agreements, began to gain ground by means of a process that was not linear, rather it presented frequent interruptions or even regressions. In other words, a new type of international relations was being forged alongside the still prevalent, although declining, traditional force-based forms, the logic of power and war.

Canavero et al (2000) interpret that IR have always been dominated by the logic of power. They recount that the First World War was a turning point in the history of mankind as well as in the history of international relations. The war marked the definitive beginning of the contemporary model of international relations: the global involvement – in these relations – of the various protagonists of the international scene on a political, economic, social and cultural level. The war also brought about the first attempt to create a model of international relations based on collective security as an alternative to the logic of power; the League of Nations was born, which was supposed to mark the beginning of a new stage of international relations characterized by peaceful solutions to international controversies. However, this failed and a subsequent attempt i.e. the United Nations was born.


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international relations development post world



Title: International Relations and Development - Started post World War II