Reading log - Multilateralism: The anatomy of an institution – John Gerard Ruggie (1992)

New institutionalism – focus on cooperation and institutions in a generic sense, with international regimes and formal organizations as specific institutional subsets

6 Ruggie is concerned with the kinds of relations, the qualitative characteristics of multilateralism

7 what is distinctive about multilateralism is that it coordinates policies on the basis of certain principles of ordering relations among those states

multilateralism is a generic institutional form of modern international life

8, 11 as its core, multilateralism refers to coordinating relations among three or more states in accordance to certain principles: that is, principles which specify appropriate conduct for a class of actions, without regard to the particularistic interests of the parties or the strategic exigencies that may exist in any specific occurrence.

11 Two corollaries: Indivisibility; Diffuse reciprocity – rough equivalent of benefits in the aggregate over time

Three institutional domains of interstate relations:

international economic orders – multilateralism here refers to the constitutive rules that order relations in given domains of international life – character 0of an overall order of relations

international regimes – encompasses more of the “how” question, it is used to refer to common, deliberative, though often asymmetrical means of conducting interstate relations.

International organizations – palpable entities with headquarters – some were not multilateral in nature, “multilateral organization” is a distinct type of institutionalized behaviour

16 Coordination problem – wherein states are more or less indifferent in principle about the actual outcome, provided only that all accept the same outcome

19th century example – Lessons:

• defining and delimiting property rights of states is as fundamental a collective task as any in the international system
• successful multilateralism exhibits “diffuse reciprocity” – each state has to believe that its current sacrifices yield a long-term return
• before 20th century few instances of multilateralism generated formal organizations

Consequences of move to institutions in multilateralism:

• Complicated in some instances straightforward ends-means relations, created principal-agent problems
• Multilateral forums share agenda-setting and convening power of states
• Multilateral diplomacy has come to embody a procedural norm in its own right

Explanations for American multilateralism:
Structural – focus on U.S hegemony or on strategic bipolarity as independent variables
Functional – concerned with factors as the desire to minimise transaction and information costs and similar institutional inefficiencies

34 k-groups – major postwar global regimes have been governed by what Snidel terms “minilateralist” groupings within them

35 international institutional order appears robust and adaptive

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