The Dynamics of Interdependence

The Dynamics of Interdependence

The Dynamics of Interdependence

The Dynamics of Interdependence

Synopsis

A UNC Press Enduring Edition -- UNC Press Enduring Editions use the latest in digital technology to make available again books from our distinguished backlist that were previously out of print. These editions are published unaltered from the original, and are presented in affordable paperback formats, bringing readers both historical and cultural value.

Excerpt

Since humankind's knowledge and physical capacities have never been as great as they now are, how does it happen that there are so many difficult international problems? How does it happen that nations, even the most powerful, have difficulty achieving the ends they desire and avoiding the ills they want to avoid? Why is it that the global scene is littered with major and persistent problems for the existence of which no actor can be held clearly responsible -- inflation, pollution, energy crises, emerging resource shortages, food and population problems, the great gap between rich and poor nations, an unstable international economic system, problems with multinational corporations, and so on? Where do such problems spring from and why are they proving so hard to deal with?

Despite the fact that they have been studying the subject for several millennia, scholars and statesmen have not achieved an adequate understanding of international politics. Principally this is because the world keeps changing while they are striving to describe and understand it. The conditions Thucydides depicted in The Peloponnesian Wars, or those that Machiavelli advised a prince about, have a good deal in common with contemporary conditions but are also different in important respects.

A body of knowledge, insight, and theory concerning international politics has developed over time but it has not kept pace with the profound transformations taking place in the international system. Individuals perceive the world in terms of the mental constructs with which their minds are furnished, but many of the concepts being used today in an effort to comprehend the global system are tired leftovers from an earlier era. Reality has outrun theory. Humankind is trying to understand and manage a highly interactive and interdependent world while relying upon assumptions and concepts developed for a preinterdependent world. Thucydides and Machiavelli may have had a better . . .

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