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To What Extent Do Effective International Institutions Require the Existence of a Global Hegemon?

2217 words (9 pages) Essay in International Relations

08/02/20 International Relations Reference this

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Introduction

Global Hegemonic power relies on the effective manipulation of social institutions as well as of culture. Antonio Gramsci 1920s from Italy was considered as the social theorist who proposed the concept of Hegemony. The Modern Concept of Hegemony describes that how a certain group with the social power of economic power dominate the society without upholding the state of fear. The control can be through economic power, through cultural means or a mixture of both. The Global Hegemon either describes the supremacy of one power on the international stage or a dominance of one country on the certain region around the globe. For instance, the US practiced its Hegemonic power through different institutions and several key mechanisms. The dominance of US power can be seen in key international organizations such as UN, WTO, and NATO. The US Role in WTO is highly influential due to its financial contribution and Veto power. This study is aimed to discuss the impact of global Hegemon on the functioning of WTO with reference to world politics. The discussion is made in the context of a neo-liberal institutionalist notion of hegemony. All information is obtained through secondary sources, and after reviewing all discussion a conclusion is drawn.

The Global hegemony and WTO

The concept of Hegemony was introduced by Antonio Gramski, and it has gained the reputation in numerous academic disciplines including International relations, cultural studies, world politics, anthropology, literary studies, colonial and neo-colonial studies and social studies (Fontana, 2005). The term “Hegemony” is derived from the Greek word that simply means “Dominance Over”. Gramski was studying the survival of capitalist state in various advanced countries in West. The theory of Gramski is in an extension of Karl Marx, that describes the possible ways in which material forms and various institutional forms explains the predominant mode of rules. According to Gramski concept, the brute dominance is involved in the supremacy of a certain class and behind imitation of its related mode of production. A hegemonic class is that which is successful in attaining the consent of other social classes and able to retain its consent. Gramski also suggested that the civil society institutions are largely involved in shaping the mass cognitions. The success of Hegemony of a certain power or class is linked with the articulation and circulation of particular ideas outside contracted class interest (Dirzauskaite, 2017).

The man focus of the literature and scholarly work is on US Hegemon in international relation and world politics. According to Brown and Ainley (2005) since the end of Cold War US has been emerging as the unmatched superpower in global state. But in the last few years, the US Hegemony has been falling. The emergence of US as unipolar world system and Hegemony is difficult to explain with liberalism and realism. Therefore, the concept of Hegemony is mostly criticized in literature. According to Mowle & Sacko (2007), the existence of different theories of Hegemony lacks one consistent idea. The Role of “Hegemon or Leader” can be explained through various concepts. Similarly, the impact of hegemon or the dominant state in the context of international relations as well as the relation of Hegemon and the stability of the international system is explained through different theories with different ideas. According to Mowle (2007), the concept of Hegemony is much criticized and the only discussed element of it is power while the other important factors of Hegemony are different according to different scholars. Hegemony can also be described as the relative shares of economic power, political power and the military capability of a hegemon. According to Gadzey (1994), the term Hegemony describes the capacity of a State to control the other states according to its own approach to focus on its rivals.

Worth (2015) explains the different ideas of Hegemony in ideological, global and regional perspectives. According to him, Hegemony can give different meanings in different ontological assumptions in international relations. The US has emerged as the most powerful state with unmatched ascendancy in the international context in different fields such as science, the popularity of culture, weaponry, science and the entrepreneurship (Schuster, 2001). Several scholars have made their discussion in nominating the US as the extraordinary power in a Global monetary system. The World Trade Organization is a marketplace and the US uses its bargain power to obtain its desired outcomes. The US Hegemony is certainly impacting the dynamics of international trade. The US is involved in the ministerial administration of World Trade organization meetings being a host. The previous decade has seen a significant merging both in economic and expansion policies of WTO (Goldstein, 2007).

There is an essential relationship between international anarchy and the United State Hegemony. The international Institutions such as WTO depends on US hegemony to shape the world economy in a better way.  US is considered as the hegemonic power that is influencing the international institutions such as WTO, IMF and w\World bank.  WTO’s General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade System is a clear indication of the importance of US Hegemony in international trade and economy. The international Institutions also imposing a noteworthy constrain to the other states under the Hegemonic power of US. The International institutions such as WTO were seen acting as instruments of US private interests. One hegemonic perspective is that other states must follow the US policy level to address the Human rights abuses, pollution, misdistribution of wealth and child labour in international trading. The WTO policies involve around United State interest against Japanese Trade barriers. WTO exercises the US decision making power for making international trade policies (Chorev, 2009).

The international trade and Competition policy are made to work pleasantly together with the main objective of consumer welfare. But the reality is different the majority of trade policy is made by sacrificing the consumer welfare to achieve other goals, both in case of carrying economic development or protecting the hegemonic power. The competition policy of WTO also works to protect the global hegemonic power and to prevent the industrial consolidation. The US policies of disciplinary damages, pretrial discovery, and other arrangements of contingency fee are contributing in US supremacy in international trading. WTO is making unilateral efforts to impose US competition policy on the other states (Roper, 2005).

The impact of US hegemony on International Trading is seen as common sense as US integration and cooperation both are crucial for the economic expansion of International Trading. This is in collaboration of Neo-liberalist notion of Hegemony.  In neo-liberalism school of thoughts, hegemony is the result of the interaction of ideas, institutions and material capabilities. The US supremacy is explained to start with national hegemony that further expanded to the international scale. Neo-liberalism described this US Hegemony is not the newly established world order but in fact, the dominance that is spread through culture, institutions and production to the globe (Engel, 2008). Neo-liberalism explains why states cooperate in international relations and international trading and why is important for WTO. The theory also focuses on the arrangements of mutual profitability of different international institutions as WTO. It defines the importance of the anarchic nature of international systems which is overestimated in other schools of thoughts. The neo-liberal theory provides a wider concept of state interest and international institution interests. It is highlighted that international corporation is required for the effective international institutions that can be possible by creating regimes and norms even in the anarchic autonomous Hegemony (Overbeek, 2002).

Robert Kohane and Joseph Nye are considered as founders of the neo-liberal school of thoughts (Keohane & Nye, 1989). They explained the importance of informal governmental ties on the multinational organizations and companies in the WTO. The existences of multiple channels that link different societies are involved in international politics. The neo-liberal thoughts describe the hegemony as the core phenomenon to attain economic dominance. The Global hegemony is important in the preponderance of material resources. Global Hegemonic power is crucial to control over sources of capital, to control the raw materials, to control the market and generating competitive advantage in the manufacturing of high significance goods. These four sets of resources are crucial for the World Trade Organization and through these; a state can provide aid to its allies and also punish its enemy states. The global Hegemony can act as a direct instrument for the coercive economic diplomacy or it can effect indirectly to reduce the domestic costs. International institutions such as WTO favour the global Hegemon as it provides protection and stability to other states (Kiely, 2005).

According to Ranieri (2012), WTO is working to provide bases for the relative economic gains that are not in favour of US interest. Therefore, it is setting a ground that shifts the distribution of power which can alter the present global hegemony. This concept is in reference to the Neorealist school of thoughts that emphasis on the global hegemonic decline. The Neoliberal approach suggested the US-centered power setting of the international Trading. The multilateral trading order required the existence of global hegemon. The Global Hegemon is linked with the market stability and open world market is considered as the public good and there is important that some global hegemon is present to take control of expensive tasks. In the current order of Global hegemony, the role of US supremacy is important in the WTO’s cultural and structural shift from multilateralism to supernaturalism. The World trade organization also requires global hegemon to create and maintain market-opening trade policies and agreements. GATT was involved in shifting the global hegemony from British supremacy to US supremacy, and now China is emerging as the new superpower. The existence of Global Hegemon is mandatory for the establishment and enforcement rules for equal opportunities and judicial equality to the other states in International Trading (Ranieri, 2012).

Conclusion

The Modern Concept of Hegemony describes that how a certain group with the social power of economic power dominate the society without upholding the state of fear. Global Hegemonic power is crucial to control over sources of capital, to control the raw materials, to control the market and generating competitive advantage in the manufacturing of high significance goods. The Global Hegemon either describes the supremacy of one power on the international stage or a dominance of one country on a certain region around the globe. The impact of hegemon or the dominant state in the context of international relations as well as the relation of Hegemon and the stability of the international system is explained through different theories with different ideas. The international trade and Competition policy are made to work pleasantly together with the main objective of consumer welfare. The neo-liberal thoughts describe the hegemony as the core phenomenon to attain economic dominance. The neo-liberal theory provides a wider concept of state interest and international institution interests.

 

References

  • Brown, C. and Ainley, K., 2009. Understanding international relations. Macmillan International Higher Education.
  • Chorev, N. and Babb, S., 2009. The Crisis of Neoliberalism and the Future of International Institutions: A Comparison of the IMF and the WTO. Theory and society38(5), pp.459-484.
  • Dirzauskaite, G. and Ilinca, N., 2017. Understanding Hegemony in International Relations Theories.
  • Engel, S., 2008. The world bank and neoliberal hegemony in Vietnam. In Hegemony (pp. 171-195). Routledge.
  • Fontana, B., 2005. Hegemony. Retrieved May 25, 2017, from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/social-sciences-and-law/political-science-and-government/international-affairs-diplomacy/hegemony\
  • Gadzey, A., 1994. Theory of International Politics .Palgrave Macmillan UK.
  • Goldstein, J.L., Rivers, D. and Tomz, M., 2007. Institutions in International Relations: Understanding the Effects of the GATT and the WTO on World Trade. International Organization61(1), pp.37-67.
  • Keohane, R.O. and Nye, J., 1989. 1977. Power and Interdependence: World Politics in Transition, pp.3-37.
  • Kiely, R., 2005. Empire in the age of globalisation: US hegemony and neoliberal disorder. Pluto Press.
  • Mowle, T. S., & Sacko, D. H., 2007. The Unipolar World: An Unbalanced Future. New York: Palgrave Macmillan. Retrieved April 10, 2017, from http://14.139.206.50:8080/jspui/bitstream/1/2749/1/Mowle&Sacko%20-%20The%20Unipolar%20World,%20An%20Unbalanced%20Future.pdf
  • Overbeek, H.W. ed., 2002. Restructuring hegemony in the global political economy: The rise of transnational neo-liberalism in the 1980s. Routledge.
  • Ranieri, R., 2012. Thinking Situationally About the Role of International Institutions: The Dynamics of Change in the International System and the Role of the World Trade Organization (Doctoral dissertation, University of Cincinnati).
  • Roper, J., 2005. Symmetrical communication: Excellent public relations or a strategy for hegemony?. Journal of Public Relations Research17(1), pp.69-86.
  • Schuster, S., 2001. Does America Need a Foreign Policy? Toward a Diplomacy for the 21st Century:17. New York.
  • Worth, O., 2015. Rethinking hegesmony. Macmillan International Higher Education.
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