Chapter

The Utopian Impulse in International Relations

in The Perils of Global Legalism

Published by University of Chicago Press

Published in print September 2009 | ISBN: 9780226675749
Published online March 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780226675923 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.7208/chicago/9780226675923.003.0001
The Utopian Impulse in International Relations

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Economists call the various essential goods and services that cannot be supplied privately—including defense against external aggression, law enforcement, a currency, a social safety net, enforcement of property rights and contracts, environmental protection, a transportation infrastructure, basic education, and so forth—public or collective goods. These goods are those that are most efficiently supplied at a scale beyond that available to individuals or corporations: they are solutions to collective action problems. Yet governments fail to supply their populations with public goods that exist at a scale that transcends national borders—what this book calls global public goods. Global collective action problems, which pose the most significant challenges of our time, include war, pollution, overfishing, disease, and terrorism. This chapter explores global legalism as an approach to solving the problem of global collective action, and also discusses political integration (and its variant, hegemony), economic integration, and ideological integration. Finally, it considers the place of global legalism in international relations.

Keywords: public goods; collective action problems; global legalism; international relations; political integration; hegemony; economic integration; ideological integration; war; terrorism

Chapter.  9190 words. 

Subjects: Public International Law

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