Show Summary Details

Quick Reference

Between industrial democracies.

Influenced by the emergence of trade deficits after 1970, the rapid post‐war spread of multinational corporations, and the oil crisis of 1973–4, many political scientists in the United States reacted against the strong emphasis placed by the dominant realist school of international relations upon the centrality of the state and the relative autonomy of its military and political power from social and economic pressures. R. O. Keohane and J. S. Nye coined the term ‘complex interdependence’ to describe the new pattern of relations between mature industrial democracies in which functionally defined international regimes, comprising state agencies, specialized international organizations, and firms, managed matters as diverse as international trade, security, environmental issues, public health, and development assistance in ways which could no longer be relied upon to yield outcomes dictated by the United States as the conventionally pre‐eminent power. Interdependence was also seen as an insurance against any collapse of Western security and the international economy that might follow a post‐Vietnam decline in United States hegemony, since it was argued that cooperative international regimes might outlast the hegemon that had instigated them. Mere lexical coincidence has led to confusion between interdependence and neo‐Marxist Latin American dependency approaches to international relations, but the two are quite unrelated.


Subjects: Politics.

Reference entries

Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content. Please, subscribe or login to access all content.