Interest and Ideology: The Foreign Policy Beliefs of American Businessmen

Interest and Ideology: The Foreign Policy Beliefs of American Businessmen

Interest and Ideology: The Foreign Policy Beliefs of American Businessmen

Interest and Ideology: The Foreign Policy Beliefs of American Businessmen

Excerpt

In this book we have tried to bring some systematic evidence to bear on a set of questions we believe to have been inadequately investigated in previous research. Moreover, the questions—which concern the roots of foreign policy, and especially the relative importance of ideological and economic influences—seemed sufficiently important both on theoretical and on policy grounds to justify a major research effort. These are extremely difficult questions that have perplexed foreign policy analysts for many years. We do not feel that we have answered all of them definitively, but we do believe that we are closer to obtaining satisfactory answers than when we began. The degree to which we have been successful can be taken as justification of our conviction that modern empirical social science can say something useful if the effort is made, and if it is pursued in a multimethod way. Our effort, incorporating as it does the attempt to state propositions in an empirically testable manner and to devise new ways of bringing evidence to bear, is meant to provide a building block for further scientific work. If it is largely a success, it will lead to the posing of new questions for examination. If it is largely a failure, we hope that we have stated our propositions and described our testing procedures precisely enough to allow others to correct our errors and do a better job. Presumably that is what scientific cumulation is about. The questions are too important to leave in the realm of unsubstantiated theory, and too important to be answered solely by the true believers.

The job was difficult because we were attempting to test a variety of propositions, some of which we regarded as highly plausible and others we regarded as empirically dubious. In one sense, it is often advantageous if a scientist believes passionately in the truth of the theory he is testing. The greater his conviction, the harder he will work to devise ways to demonstrate his theory's correctness, and the more ingenious he will be in devising new ways to find and analyze evidence. Of course, there is a risk that the . . .

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