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study on the causality between wai:
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without the prior permission of Dartmouth Publishing Company
Dartmouth Publishing Company Limited
Gower House, Croft Road
The Concept of Interdependence in Political Science ........8
The West-West context. The East-West context. The North-
South context. Global challenges. Politicians and interdepen-
A typology of structural interdependence. Qualifications of
structural interdependence: a) confrontational interdepen-
dence; b) constructional interdependence. Doubts about em-
ISBN 1 85521 iki 6
Printed in Great Britain by
Billing & Sons Ltd, Worcester
Three paradigms in
-theory. The origins of Realism and
Structuralism. The post-war origins of Pluralism. The hidden
tradition of Pluralism.
The Era of Global Interdependence: When Did It Start? .....41
FRANCIS DELAISI (1873-1947):
A Frenchman's View of Global Interdependence ..........116
Two histories of global interdependence. The discovery of
interdependence in the 1970s. Recurring discoveries. The
Extreme left-wing syndicalism. Cooperation or collaboration?
covery of interdependence in the 1980s. The conquest of
1911: "La guerre qui vient". Delaisi versus Angel!. 1925: Is this
tance. Social learning. The continuity of change.
the same man talking?
NORMAN ANGELL (1872-1967):
economicus versus the
Ancestor of Interdependence Theory .....................61
function of political myths. Should facts give way to ideas or
ideas to facts? Rural ideals and industrial realities. Economic
Not successful, merely right. The temporizer idealist. Angell's
nationalism and imperialism. The classic solution
sic mistake: a plea for free trade. Extreme advocacy of inter-
Interdependence, prosperity and conquest. Modifications of
the economic futility of war. Survival of the fittest or can-
The organs of interdependence: Delaisi's "working peace sys-
tern". The need for international professional organizations.
Epilogue: "On taking one's bearings".
Last warnings in 1938
Angell's theory in practice. Deter-
rence is political. Democratic internationalism and collective
CHARLES E. MERRIAM (1874-1953):
Civilized Power in a Pluralistic World ...................142
The real opposites: idealism
fatalism. Irrationality: a hurdle
Behaviourism and the Chicago School. Scientific empire. The
Angell could not leap. Angell's concept of interdependence,
new realism: singing the human blues. Morgenthau's justified
criticism of the Chicago School. Merriam's political ex-
RAMSAY MUIR (1872-1941)
perience. Science, public education and society
and the Lessons of the First World War ...................91
Pluralism I: the family of authority. Pluralism II: a world
Man of the middle class. Why perception matters: comparing
society. Pluralism III: world order. The epitaph of war. Civi-
two lives. Liberal in heart and soul. A liberal-christian
lized power: a neglected aspect of pluralism.
DAVID MITRANY (1888-1977):
The world a single political system. Economic interdepen-
Functionalism as Statecraft and Revolt
dence versus autarchy. Cultural assimilation (I): fewer barriers
between people. Cultural assimilation (II): the reign of law and
Bridging the second World War. A British Rumanian with an
human rights. The perils of interdependence. The myth of
American accent. Global service networks or balance of
Two principles of functionalism: form-follows-function and
spill-over. The social function of swindle and extortion. Where
do national governments
Morgenthau and functionalism: the State is dead
the State! Mitrany versus Morgenthau? The flirtations of
functionalism and Realism.
Sovereignty as a solution. The "state fixation" of political
writers. From "order state" to "service state". Sovereignty
the threat-system surpassed. Grass-root
functionalism. The problem of war is defined the wrong way.
the twentieth century. The neglect of interdependence and its
results. Learning interdependence. Awareness is crucial but
not enough. Policies of interdependence. From cosmopolitism
to individualism and from parochial autarchy to world
economy: two sides of the same
Appendix: Dutch Summary ............................288
The main task of Peace Research is to study the causes of war and
the conditions of peace. With this objective in mind, in 1962, profes-
sor Bert Ming (1906-1985) founded the Polemological Institute
within the Faculty of Law at the University of Groningen, the
Netherlands. This study aims to contribute to that objective.
Interdependence theory is studied because interdependence in
world politics is sometimes seen as a cause of war and sometimes
as a condition of peace. Supporters of both views have a serious
point. Interdependence is a relation between two or more actors,
and, like all relationships, it is therefore a source of conflict. The
actors involved affect one another's behaviour, which can be both
pleasant and irritating; the irritation may cause conflicts, and their
management can involve threats and acts of deliberate and or-
ganized destruction (political violence). On the other hand, inter-
dependence by definition implies a measure of reciprocity, which
limits the options for conflict management.
In view of this apparent contradiction, it is important to notice
from the outset that, when interdependence is connected with the
absence of political violence, this should not be equated with the
absence of conflict. Interdependence is a source of conflict. But
conflicts under interdependence are characterized by all kind of
constraints, and these constraints may stimulate more sophisti-
cated forms of conflict management than the primitive killing or
mutilating of people or the threat to destroy (parts of) their civiliza-
tion. To quote Charles E. Merriam, peace is not the end of struggle
but the finer organization of it (see page 169).
The awareness of constraints made Robert 0. Keohane and
Joseph S. Nye hypothesize, in 1977, that governments will not use
military force toward one another, if they and the peoples they
represent are involved in a complex network of interdependent
relations. The more complex the network of relationships in which
countries are involved, the stronger the constraints on all-out war.
One constraint may be that the employment of force with respect
to a fierce conflict on one issue is likely to rupture mutually
profitable relations concerning other issues. This explains for in-
stance why many writers about interdependence have stressed
economic relations among countries as an incentive to peace.
Moreover, other actors might get involved, because of unavoidable
chain-reactions. This will complicate the assessment of the risks of
aggressive military policies.
Another constraint may be that, given such a complexity of
interests, it will be very hard to make a clear-cut hierarchy of
national interests and thus to define policy objectives for which
these ruptures are an acceptable price. Also, some very important
policy goals in modern national societies, such as public economic
and ecological welfare, by their nature cannot be served by the use
of military force.
Furthermore, the existence of multiple channels provides a
variety of instruments for power politics. This variety leads to an
increased competition with military options in times of crisis. In
case of complex interdependence, escalation ladders may be longer
and there may be more emergency escapes for the conflicting
parties to back out without losing face. In short, constraints like
these might increase the safety margin within international rela-
tions, despite the increase of conflicts that accompanies growing
The "how", "why" and "when" of these constraints are the concern
of this study. But it is not an empirical analysis. I am not measuring
indicators and characteristics of complex interdependence, such as
information flows between actors, networks of issue-specific ac-
tivities, import-export percentages of Gross National Products
measure of global social mobility of (specific groups
people, densities in cross-border traffic, the number of economists
and ecologists working in foreign policy departments, the number
of political scientists in advisory boards of multinational corpora-
tions, the number of joint ventures, the number and character of
governmental participation in international organizations, the size
of transnational activities and the number of non-governmental
organizations with international activities, the sensitivity or vul-
nerability to sanctions, the measure of symmetry among actors,
etcetera. Such empirical research should indeed take place in order
to tell us more about interdependent relationships. But, though
empirical research is important, when it comes to test hypotheses
about the causality between war, interdependence theory has not
yet reached the stage in which empirical findings can achieve the
status of empirical evidence.
The measurement of social variables may be difficult, their inter-
pretation is still harder, because it requires theory. Theories provide
frameworks for the interpretation of facts. As long as the
framework is insufficiently defined, there is no use in endlessly
accumulating new and more detailed data, because this will not
help to take away the fundamental defects. When it comes to
hypotheses about the relationship between interdependence and
the role of the military component in diplomacy, there are still many
of these defects. For that reason I have chosen to restrict myself to
the conceptual and theoretical level.
The defect that is addressed in this study concerns the neglect of
early theories about interdependence. The critics of the interdepen-
dence thesis in particular have pointed out that the presumed link
between peace and interdependence is not new. They pointed at
Norman Angell, for instance, who propagated the promise of inter-
dependence as far back as 1909. But Angell has been generally
known as a classic liberal, placing his confidence in the merits of
free trade. Furthermore, two world wars have taken place despite
all this interdependence. Some people even argued that they took
place because of all this interdependence. The title of Angell's book,
The Great Illusion,
therefore, seemed to sum up the quintessence of
his own ideas. Why pay renewed attention to them?
One of the reasons is that pre-war literature about interdepen-
dence has never been critically examined with the explicit objective
to distil those parts which are still useful for current theorizing.
Political science as a distinct discipline started in 1919 and every
student in political science learns what was wrong with its first
phase, which lasted to about 1939-1945: it is utopian, idealistic,
eurocentric, moralistic, legalistic, naïve in its descriptions,
dangerous in its predictions, in short, mainly of historical value. All
this is true, and evidence is easy to find, also in the work of the
authors discussed in this volume. But, simultaneously this criticism
is simplistic, because it reveals only part of the story. It is a myth to
think that half a century of serious research by concerned, well-
trained intellectuals has yielded merely rubbish. The baby has been
thrown away with the bath water. Before passing judgment, the
pre-war contribution to the development of a consistent theory of
interdependence has to be analysed. In this volume I hope to do so.
To that end, I have tried to break with a tradition that, in my
opinion, has unwillingly contributed to the neglect of the literature
written in the period 1900-1950. In this study, I stress in what ways
the work of Angell, Muir, Delaisi, Merriam and Mitrany can con-
tribute to the improvement of contemporary theories on Interna-
tional Relations. The aim is to save the good parts of their work
from oblivion. The rest can be forgotten. The general tradition in
reviewing contributions to science, however, seems to work the
other way round: the good parts are forgotten because critics take
their credit primarily from their ability to lay bare the shortcomings
of the works they review. The bad parts are stressed, the rest is taken
for granted. This is a very inefficient method of accumulating
knowledge. Probably the development of political science is
hampered by this practice. Don't read Angell, for he is an Idealist!
Forget about Mitrany, for functionalism doesn't work! Keep away
from interdependence literature, for it repeats the simplistic
-not-pay thinking of the nineteenth century! I have tried to
break with that tradition, and have concentrated mainly on the
aspects which in my opinion do contribute to interdependence
This volume is structured as follows. The first two chapters place
interdependence theory in its disciplinary and historical context.
into a typology which aims to provide a framework for all the
different specific applications of the term. Both chapters have an
hav decided to include a certain amount of
biographical information because the historical context and the
ideas on interdependence and related subjects add much to the
understanding of these ideas. In chapter
the insights of the
authors are combined and the debate about the feasibility of pur-
suing a policy of growing interdependence is re-opened.
reader a hand, the synopsis provides summaries of
Many people have contributed to the preparation of this disserta-
tion. Very important were the two conferences about "Interdepen-
dence and Conflict in World Politics" that were organized by the
Polemological Institute in November 1986 in Groningen and, in
cooperation with the Inter-University Centre, in June 1987 in
Dubrovnik, Yugoslavia. Not only did these two conferences cul-
minate in a volume about interdependence theory, edited by
professor James N. Rosenau (Institute for Transnational Studies,
University of Southern California) and professor Hylke Tromp
(Polemological Institute, University of Groningen), but they also
resulted in valuable discussions and numerous international con-
tacts. Moreover, the constructive criticism and useful suggestions
of Rosenau and Tromp, who were kind enough to supervise this
manuscript, contributed greatly towards structuring my thoughts
about the complexities of interdependence theory. Where I failed
to do so, they should not be held responsible.
International contacts are essential to any student studying In-
and in this respect the Dubrovnik Sum-
merschools on "Political Violence" fulfilled an important function,
as did professor Chris Mitchell's invitation to work for a month at
the City University of London (October 1987). In this respect the
international Pugwash conferences on "Science and World Affairs"
and the conferences of the International Peace Research Association
(IPRA) should be mentioned, too. In different ways, these conferen-
ces visualized the importance and difficulty of questions such as
how to define and how to translate the social responsibility of
sciences, and how to organize a fruitful debate among scientists
from many, fundamentally different social backgrounds and na-
The difficulties of answering questions like these are not only
typical for the international context in which IPRA and Pugwash
operate. Even in a small country, like the Netherlands, contacts
among institutes, and, at times, also within them, are characterized
by dialogue and cooperation as much as by indifference to each
other's research projects. Still, the discussions with my colleagues
at the Polemological Institute, in the interdisciplinary research
group on "Security & Development" and at several seminars and
conferences at other Dutch universities, have been very stimulating
and important to my work.
The administrative support from the Polemological Institute has
Pilon, Astrid van Dort and Erik
sisted my work when needed and took care that the conditions for
doing research were optimal, while Digna van
collect relevant literature even after her working conditions as a
librarian had become far from optimal. Peter Kruijt and Ramses
Wessel contributed considerably to the continuity of the research
project on interdependence at the Institute (which includes a yearly
interdisciplinary course for graduates). Instead of fulfilling their
military service, they collected literature, reviewed articles,
prepared research proposals, published case-studies, helped to
organize courses and conferences and constantly kept the discus-
sion about interdependence alive. The index of this volume was
correct my English; except for chapter
which was largely cor-
Karen Shostak. Hans van der
manuscript camera-ready and constructed the tables, figures and
and former members of
the Polemological Institute, for their positive contributions and the
Outside the Institute,
was kept in tune
all my musical friends
of whom especially Anke van
should be mentioned for
jaap de Wil(Z^
The main incentive to study interdependence theory is formed by
the hypothesis that governments will not use military force toward
one another if they and the people they represent are involved in a
complex network of interdependent relations. Support for this
thesis can be found in West-West and East-West relations. It is
challenged, however, by the relations that exist in a North-South
context, while the manner in which politicians appeal to inter-
dependence at times conceals the traditional, nationalistic and
ethnocentric motives behind the foreign policy proposals they
make. Apart from the need to analyse these problems concerning
the interdependence thesis, another strong incentive to study the
subject concerns its descriptive value as a central concept in
theory. Its relevance is particularly obvious in respect to the so-
called global challenges, which can be summarized under the
headings disarmament, development and environmental preserva-
In general, interdependence refers to independent social actors,
who wish to preserve their identity, but who are also structurally
affected by one another's behaviour.
Interdependence is a structural condition which can be divided
into three types: a) systemic interdependence;
The first type is primarily
explained in terms of system dynamics; the second and third types
are primarily explained in terms of the consequences of specific
These structural conditions can be operationalized into a three-
dimensional concept, which further qualifies the way in which
given actors are mutually affected by one another's behaviour. The
first dimension concerns the
of mutual influence (the
measure of existential value of the interdependence). The second
dimension concerns the
of the mutual influence (confron-
tational and constructional aspects). The third dimension concerns
of the mutual influence (the distribution of costs
In this study, this definition is taken as a framework within which
the different early contributions to the development of a theory of
interdependence are placed.
These early contributions should also be related to the three
dominant paradigms in contemporary
Pluralism and Structuralism. Interdependence theory fits in the
Pluralist paradigm. This means that the basic unit of analysis is the
the main subject is
should be defined as the global dimension of local issues and the
local dimension of global issues.) The normative goal is to develop
an interdependence theory with the characteristics of a satellite
with a zoom lens: both the globe and the topographic map should
be sketched and analysed from one perspective. The present
volume contributes, though only moderately, to this end by dis-
cussing the ancestors of interdependence theory; thus revealing an
intellectual history which is generally neglected in the
HE ERA OF GLOBAL
In order to understand the emergence of global interdependence it
is necessary the distinguish structural interdependence
Structural interdependence refers to the conditions
as defined in chapter 1. Cognitive interdependence refers to the
awareness of these conditions. The cognitive dimension implies
that externalities are internalized and politicized. The distinction is
important, because it is open to debate to what extent political
conduct is shaped by structural conditions or by the perception of
these conditions. This problem is not a matter of either/or but
concerns the balance between both aspects. The intermediary force
may be that of social learning.
The history of the awareness of global interdependence starts at the
beginning of the twentieth century. Since then, scientists and
politicians discovered and rediscovered the conditions of global
interdependence and debated their consequences for politics. The
statements about the emergence of global interdependence share
four arguments: 1. (descriptive) the world has fundamentally
changed over the past decades; 2. (explanatory) the reason for this
is that the communities in the world have become increasingly
interdependent; 3. (prescriptive) as a result "old", traditional world
views should be put aside; 4. (predictive) if not, disasters will occur,
some of them on an unprecedented scale.
The observation that the world is at a crucial turning point, is
typical of all literature on interdependence. Partly, this may be due
to rhetorical motives, partly, it may be the result of a "natural"
inclination to experience one's own life-time as a crucial period in
human history. But in part it may also point to the fact that rapid
change is characteristic for the twentieth century. Change has be-
come a constant.
The origin of the processes leading to the era of global interdepen-
dence lies in the European expansionism of the sixteenth century.
This process resulted in what nowadays is called the global village
or the world society. The Industrial Revolution, that is, the rise of
World War proved that the world had become the ultimate unit of
politics, and the foundation of the League of Nations proved that
the establishment of global interdependence was also
governmental mechanism on a global basis. Therefore,
the era of
global interdependence started in 1914-1919.
An important implication of this is that contemporary world
politics should be understood as a continuum running from
accepting that current global problems are less unique than
people generally like to think, we may detect processes of social
learning that span several generations. In this context, it is a chal-
lenge to examine the extent to which contemporary theories on
3. NORMAN ANGELL (1872-1967): ANCESTOR OF INTER-
Angell is generally considered to belong to the Idealist School of
international relations. He is said to be a utopian because he con-
sidered it possible to "abolish" war, because he was an advocate of
the League of Nations, because he trusted in the power of education
to reform and believed in the ability of economic interdependence
to promote conditions of peace. Part of this image also stems from
misinterpretations of his work.
From the publication of the pamphlet
Europe's Optical Illusion
1909 up to his autobiography
in 1951, Angell criticized the
"conquest pays" axiom and the "national superiority" axiom. In-
stead, he argued for "democratic internationalism" and "collective
security" based on a proper understanding of self-interest under
conditions of economic and political interdependence.
His criticism of the "conquest pays" axiom was based on observa-
tions concerning the conditions of modern economies. Because the
assets responsible for prosperity in a modern economy are largely
intangible, annexations are economically futile. But, he did not
specify in how far this criticism is valid with respect to the relations
between countries with modern economies and those with un-
developed, traditional agricultural economies or among countries
with both modern and traditional economic sectors.
The "national superiority" axiom is partly rebutted on logical
grounds: when all countries live up to the principle
bellum" arms races, explosive situations and, finally, wars are
The other part of his criticism results from his observation that
an international order should be formed in order to manage the
increased cross-border activities. Normative was his view that this
order would have to be a democratic one.
In relation to the problem of defining self-interest, Angell con-
centrated on the poor quality of public opinion, of the politicians
who had the duty to represent it and of the newspapers who, for
commercial reasons, tended to confirm popular misconceptions.
Angell did not succeed in incorporating irrationality as a given in
his optimistic future scenarios.
the recognition that "external"
factors play a
I RK11 a I a o
W, Wo. " W
4. RAMSAY MUIR (1872-1941) AND THE LESSONS OF THE FIRST
In defence of democratic values and norms, Angell stressed the
need of solidarity with small democracies and the need to form a
Muir was a typical man of the British middle class and a confirmed
military alliance, especially in face of the rising totalitarianism in
liberal. Up to 1914 he was a provincial who lived in too small a
Europe and Japan. Here the principle
world to worry about political problems of which he later realized
re-entered his thinking, though he stressed the political (non-
the fundamental importance, for this small world, too. Though he
military) nature of deterrence. Moreover, he argued that to be
was a professor of contemporary history, he was blind to the
effective, a peace policy should always be a dual track policy:
processes that culminated in the war and that made it a
combining resistance to aggressive behaviour with offering equal
This experience illustrates the importance of cognitive interdepen-
economic and political rights and opportunities.
dence: Muir lived in an interdependent world, but it did not in-
fluence his thinking about politics because he was completely
According to Angell, war could be abolished because its fundamen-
unaware of this condition.
causes lay (a) in social circumstances and (b) in (mis)perceptions
of self-interest. If the social circumstances are such that war serves
The Interdependent World and Its Problems
(1933) reflects the
thinking. He developed a cryptic thesis: world war
the risks of global interdependence, yet the end of war is
its necessary consequence.
This thesis is based on the observation that the global iñfra-struc-
ture had changed fundamentally because of the "conquest of dis-
tance" by technological means and by economic and social impetus.
The world had become the macro dimension of politics; modern
welfare demands could not possibly be combined with autarchy
and political independence. The political and economical unifica-
tion of the different peoples on earth also provoked a process of
cultural assimilation out of which, Muir hoped, new "rules of the
game" would gradually grow that would guide the social traffic in
the world society.
The price of ending global interdependence would be a return to
the social, economic and political conditions of the Middle Ages; it
would mean a deliberate abandonment of modern methods of
production and communication.
The price of accepting global interdependence would be the
surrender of the ideals of unlimited sovereignty and economic
autarchy, including autonomous economic decision-making. This
would result in growing economic prosperity, the abolition of war
and worldwide cultural assimilation. Muir called this the fruits of
interdependence, which he contrasted with the so-called perils of
The perils of interdependence are directly related to the problem of
perception. If people refuse to recognize the conditions of inter-
dependence, they will not be able to understand the scope of their
own local and short-term policies, nor will they understand the
impact of external developments. This results in five perils: global
interdependence (a) makes war more difficult to avoid, and more
ruinous if it comes; (b) it makes for a growth of nationalism which
will be a source of future conflict; (c) it makes the pursuit of national
economic self-sufficiency by means of tariffs a source of economic
loss to all people; (d) it enhances the risks and the severity of
Because of his belief in human's ultimate progress, he was sure that
people would come to understand these perils and that mankind
would survive the learning process. But he developed no time table
for this process, while his definition of the fruits of interdependence
primarily reflected his liberal-christian way of thinking.
5. FRANCIS DELAISI (1873-1947): A FRENCHMAN'S
Delaisi was a French syndicalist and as such convinced of the
dominance of economics over politics. This enabled him to see that
Britain was losing its hegemonic position in the world. In that
process war was likely, and in 1911 he predicted such in his
La guerre qui vient.
But he predicted the wrong war: he
thought the war would essentially be one between England and
Germany, initiated by England in order to destroy the economic
competitive power of the Germans. He even thought that the
destruction of German industrial power would indeed be to the
advantage of England, especially if France did the fighting. Only
after the war did he develop an understanding of the reciprocity of
economic processes. This changed his view about the dominance
of economics over politics: politics was dominated by myths and
the most dangerous aspect of contemporary politics was that
people tried to adapt the economic reality to these myths.
The root of the problem was that, since the Industrial Revolution,
the economic structure of life changed faster than political struc-
tures. In the agricultural, rural economies, economic changes were
more or less automatically incorporated when the political system
changed. The political myths that legitimized the existing order
changed more frequently than the economic base of that order;
laws, regimes and constitutions changed faster than economic
structures. This order had been reversed.
Taken by itself, myths fulfilled the positive functions of identify-
ing, legitimizing and preserving reality but, since global economic
interdependence had been established, the myths reflected an out-
dated reality. The sovereignty concept, for instance, had been
developed in agrarian societies. Neither economic nationalism nor
imperialism were the right political reactions to the increasing
economic interdependence; they finally helped to cause the first
Les contradictions du monde
plea for free trade and a bizarre attempt to create a new political
myth based on an extreme advocacy of interdependence.
More relevant to contemporary interdependence theory is his ob-
servation about the silent development of the
organs of interdepen-
dence. His is the first theory of functionalist interdependence. In the
foundation of the International Chamber of Commerce, the Inter-
national Labour Office and the League of Nations he recognized
the beginnings of what David Mitrany in 1943 would come to call
a working peace system.
Delaisi developed his functionalism on the lines of syndicalism. His
solution to the problem of war was to get rid of the political myths
that stemmed from the agrarian era. This could be achieved by the
formation of international professional associations.
The members of
professional organizations would develop an awareness of both
their national interests and their international interests. In this way
a certain equilibrium would be achieved within both the profes-
sional group as a whole as within the individual minds of its
6. CHARLES E. MERRIAM (1874-1953): CIVILIZED POWER IN A
Merriam built a scientific "empire" in the United States, centred
around the Chicago School. His ideal was to turn political science
into an interdisciplinary enterprise based on empirical research.
But he remained a generalist himself, as well as an optimist, at times
misled by his linear conception of history. In the midst of the second
World War, for instance, he prophesied the abolition of war mainly
because for him it was out of the question that humankind could
lapse back to a lower level of civilization. It is for reasons as these
that his work sank in oblivion. Moreover, his generation of scien-
tists was followed by a wave of pessimism, personified by the
immigrants that had fled from fascist Europe. These immigrant-
refugees included Morgenthau whose theory of political Realism
was to dominate the study of
from the fifties to the seventies.
The Realists disproved of the Idealism of the
which implicitly included Merriam's Chicago School.
Merriam's political career modified much of his idealism. From
1905 onwards he was active in Chicago politics, where he was
occupied taming the "invisible government" of big business and
combatting corruption. During the first World War he ran a bureau
in Italy that had as its objective the prevention of a communist
revolution in that country. Under Roosevelt he worked in the
National Resources Planning Board, a think-tank of the New Deal.
Recurrent themes related to these political experiences are the
problems of striking a balance between central control and the
responsibilities of local authorities, and of balancing indoctrination
and public education.
His political theory is mainly based on his American background,
while the bulk of
-theories (Realism in particular) is based on the
European history. One of the most interesting differences between
these two traditions is that the absence of a feudal and an aris-
tocratic tradition in America led to a political agenda that was
dominated by issues unknown in Europe.
In his political theory Merriam applied a multiple actor perspec-
the family of authority.
He stressed that political analysis had to
be differentiated with respect to the multitude of individuals,
groups and organizations that are seeking one another's loyalty in
order to achieve their specific objectives.
He extended this logic to the analysis of international relations.
On such grounds Merriam argued that a world order had to be
based on democratic principles for it to be successful: it would be
unthinkable that the struggle among the many actors for one
another's loyalty could result in a clear-cut, universally approved
victory for some of them.
the societal role of violence. This evolution involves (a) the relation
between social objectives (the ends of government) and the means
to realize them (the tools of government), and
the legitimacy of
violence as one of these means. When social objectives cannot be
the use of violence or when less demanding
options promise a similar result, the legitimacy of violence will
Power rests on four pillars: force, obedience, persuasion and par-
ticipation. The power-pillars "force" and "participation" are not
complementary: the more power depends on joint action, the less
force is a reliable element of power.
7. DAVID MITRANY (1888-1977): FUNCTIONALISM AS
STATECRAFT AND REVOLT
David Mitrany's life and work spans and connects the pre-war
phase of Pluralism and the Pluralism of the 1950s and 1960s. He is
generally known for his theory of functionalism, but less known is
that he formulated functionalism in reaction to the emergence of
global interdependence. Its emphasis on the technical management
of issues is an attempt to go beyond political and ideological
boundaries without disputing them. This was prompted by the
transnational reality of international relations. Functionalism is a
strategy of international organization and, ultimately, this strategy
serves a normative end: to create a "working peace system".
Functionalism is based on the principles that (a) organizational
form follows from social function and that (b) successful forms of
cooperation in some issue-areas have a positive spill-over effect on
the relations of the same actors in other issue-areas. Mitrany's
functionalism has been criticized for making an artificial distinction
between the technical and the political aspects of social problems
and for being too deterministic in respect to the expectation of
spill-over effects. Moreover, Mitrany neglected the social function
of swindle and extortion; functionalists should specify for whom
something is functional (actor specific) and to what purpose (issue
during the first World War, all belligerents made similar arrange-
ments to deal with the unexpected economic character of the war,
despite their ideological and political differences.
tive was formed
the American New Deal in which the issue-
fhe Progress of International Government
he placed this in a
historical context and he stressed the emergence of global inter-
dependence as the main factor in the process.
An intriguing aspect of Mitrany's work is his ambiguity about the
future role of the nation-state related to the question whether war
can be abolished. On the one hand he argued that war would vanish
the end of the state drew near.
After 1945 this argument was
picked up by the integrationists. On the other hand he argued that
war would vanish because the metamorphosis of the state drew near.
Though the prediction about the end of the nation-state turned
out to be wrong, it was this aspect of his work which brought
functionalism close to political Realists, especially Morgenthau.
Morgenthau struggled with the future of the nation-state system,
too, because nuclear weaponry had made him aware of the friction
between the "ultima ratio" of military force in foreign policy and
the "self-destructiveness" of military force; a friction that actually
had been present throughout the twentieth century. Morgenthau
saw a solution in supranational developments and these might be
stimulated by functionalism.
overall Mitrany's work is inconsistent with the Realist
paradigm. In 1933 he attacked the state-as-actor paradigm and the
entire conception of foreign politics, defined as an articulated set of
principles which are consistently executed by the Foreign Office
during a period of government. In this respect he pointed at the
increasing material interdependence between countries, which had
grown to the point where it turned their formal separation into a
This myth originated in the concept of sovereignty. But Mitrany
recognized that its instalment in 1648 meant a pragmatic solution
for one and a half century of wars. The pacification of Westphalia
was achieved by denying the artificial cosmopolitan unity of the
Middle Ages and by recognizing European pluralism. Here,
Mitrany identified the paradox that growing systemic interdepen-
dence on the one hand stimulates fragmentation, self-development,
individualism, in short, pluralism, while on the other hand it
stimulates the integration of local communities into larger societies.
There are several reasons for the neglect of the tradition of the study
of interdependence. The most important one is that when inter-
dependence theory reappeared in the seventies, this had little to do
with the kind of idealism that had been characteristic for political
science during the
The concept re-entered political
science in order to express the need to change the dominant con-
cepts of the basic forces, relations and actors in world politics. This
need was provoked by the experience that the state-centric theories
of power politics had become too simplistic to be of assistance in
understanding the complexity of the contemporary world. Inter-
dependence was used essentially as a descriptive concept. But,
because a change in the diagnosis greatly influences the therapy,
normative ends and expectations about the influence of increasing
interdependence on the chances of war reentered the discussion.
Therefore, provided that one is aware of the liberal-christian and
eurocentric way of thinking that was typical for the
period, much can be learned from the early authors about inter-
The central political problem observed by the five authors is that
the world has changed fundamentally while governmental
mechanisms have remained unaltered. Social life in the twentieth
century is much more dynamic than it was in the heyday of agricul-
tural civilization: material conditions change faster than genera-
tions. Rapid change in the realm of technology affects the structure
of society, and is characteristic for the present age. Mitrany's theory
of functionalism has been a valuable attempt to incorporate this
dynamics in political theory. It stresses that the technical imperative
should be the decisive factor in social organization.
According to the authors, the neglect of global interdependence
formed the root of many political problems. The first World War
was a result of this neglect. It can be hypothesized that unwanted
and unforeseen wars can be the result of increased systemic inter-
dependence while they are caused
the failure to perceive this
systemic inter ependence.
The relationship between levels of interdependence and the chan-
ces of war is complicated by a process of social learning and
experience. In its turn this process is more complex than the early
authors of interdependence theory thought. In their view the main
problem lay in the misunderstanding of reality: a proper analysis,
leading to the awareness of mutual dependence in economic, politi-
cal and military affairs, automatically implied the acceptance of
these conditions. However, when interdependence is recognized,
this merely means that the price of a policy is better understood in
advance. Whether this price will be a decisive constraint on
decisions to wage war does not only depend on the existing struc-
ture, but also on the presence of alternative policies, and the price
The early authors formulated policies of interdependence that were
directed against the conventional knowledge of statecraft. Angell
and Merriam put their trust in "reason" when it came to the
question how to achieve world order. They argued in favour of
creating democratic internationalism, but how to get there
remained unclear. Muir argued that sovereignty rights could be
pooled or divided among governments, but he did not have a clear
strategy as to how to limit state-sovereignty or the claims to it.
Delaisi formulated a true policy of functionalist interdependence
when he argued in favour of the deliberate propagation of a net-
work of "international professional organizations". Mitrany's
functionalism is the best developed strategy of the period, provided
that it is not presented as an instrument of integration.
S not onl
to an increased coll
an increased individualization. The process from medieval cos-
chy to world economy are both related to growing
interdependence. The second concerns the observation that in com-
plex, individualized societies political power rests more on par-
ticipation than on force. This implies that an increase of
constructional interdependence changes the nature of political
power from power based
.. force towards power based on
The general world view that emerges from the early writings on
interdependence reinforces the thesis that the study of
focus on transnational relations rather than on interstate relations
The term "stable peace" refers to Kenneth Boulding's book with that title
(Boulding, 1979). Stable peace is used here to refer to the absence of not only
war, but also of the preparation of war and the threat and expectation of
war. The opposite is unstable peace, in which there is no war either, though
there is preparation for war, an expectation of war and, at times, actual
threats of war. Compare
18, 1989, nr. 3, pp. 209-224.
A rather important qualification concerning the OECD as an example of
stable peace involves the dimension of time: for how long a period do the
characteristics of stable peace have to exist and how pure should they be
before peace can be labelled stable? Which are the factors on which the
expectancies about the continuation or disruption of stable peace in the
future are based? If 10% of the Japanese population expects war with the
United States within 10 years, is it still stable peace that we are talking
about? And how should we see this in case of 45% or 65% and 5, 20 or 50
years? Does it make a difference whether the war-expectancy is based solely
on cultural pessimism ("war is inevitable, anyway, anyhow") or on a sober
analysis of for instance the economic developments between Japan, the EC
and North-America? Does it therefore make a difference
the war? War between France and the FRG certainly is unthinkable, but not
impact on world politics or whether it is only of local importance. Put
differently: the demarcations of micro- and macro-politics have not yet been
See about this development of warfare e.g. Earle (19732), Spits (1971),
Howard (1976) and Tromp (1986).
The main antagonists of an interdependence policy in this respect are
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are attempts to end interdependence: the actor pursuing them tries to
increase his or her own independence ("unabhangigkeit") by reducing the
independence ("selbstandigkeit") of other actors. Policies of isolationism
are also attempts to end interdependence: the actor who pursues them tries
to increase his or her own independence by reducing the relations with
other actors to a minimum. Both types of policy are attempts to reduce the
complexity of politics by reducing pluralism.
This concern has in the meantime been institutionalized in several institu-
tions, especially UNESCO.
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