Developing Countries and Regional Economic Cooperation

By M. Leann Brown | Go to book overview

commitment that the leadership of developing countries may find difficult to sustain. In some cases, the effort to secure independence necessitated the generation of extremely nationalistic, often revolutionary sentiment among the elite and general population. The leadership may have sought to sustain this nationalistic fervor to assuage the political impact of ideological, ethnic, and class cleavages and economic hardship so that state building could proceed. The psychological and political momentum implicit in tossing off the colonial yoke and accruing legitimacy for governing the new state is not congruent with relinquishing sovereignty for economic decision making to a regional entity.

In most cases, after the immediate burst of enthusiasm and political will that accompanies the establishing of the organization, it may languish in an extended embryonic state. The mission of the organization may be unclear and the recruiting of effective leadership and personnel often difficult. In this early state of institutionalization, expectations have yet to converge; collective norms are not yet in place; institutional legitimacy is in question; and there is little elite commitment to the regional enterprise or collective goals. The literature suggests that the cognitive framing of developing country elites may be contrasted with the framework of benefits implied in regional economic integration as shown in Table 2.2.

The case studies to follow demonstrate that the long-term perspective required to realize the economic benefits from the regional economic organization is in many cases incongruent with immediate and specific needs that dominate national decision makers' cognitive frameworks. The issue-specific framing of these decision scenarios will be considered in Chapters 3 through 5.


NOTES
1.
Cooperation is not necessary if interstate relations are harmonious. The concept of cooperation implies a conscious effort to adjust policies to meet another's preferences, needs, or demands. It proceeds not only from shared interests but also from discord or potential discord. Without discord or its potential, harmony obtains rather than cooperation ( Keohane, 1984: 12).
2.
This is an illustration of instrumental rather than procedural rationality. This approach claims to explain the consistency of choices with one another and the underlying preferences of decision makers rather than decision processes.
3.
Stein ( 1992: 203, 209, footnote 17) writes that states behave as "defensive positionalists." This interpretation of states' motivations derives at least in part from the fact that realist analysis traditionally has focused on disputes over territory in the Westphalian system. Territory is a fixed quantity good, and therefore, disputes are, of necessity, constant-sum games.

Snidal ( 1991: 387-398, 401) denigrates the usefulness of distinguishing between states' struggle for relative and absolute advantage. In cases with large numbers

-39-

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