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Multilateralism with small and large numbers

  • Miles Kahler

Extract

Multilateralism, international governance of the “many,” was defined by the United States after 1945 in terms of certain principles, particularly opposition to bilateral and discriminatory arrangements that were believed to enhance the leverage of the powerful over the weak and to increase international conflict. Postwar multilateralism also expressed an impulse to universality (John Ruggie's “generalized organizing principles”) that implied relatively low barriers to participation in these arrangements. A ticket of admission was always required, whether acceding to the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) or joining the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank. Nevertheless, the price of that ticket was not set so high that less powerful or less wealthy states could not hope to participate.

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1. This aspect of multilateralism is described by Richard Gardner in Sterling-Dollar Diplomacy (New York: Columbia University Press, 1980), pp. 4247 and 56–62.

2. See John Gerard Ruggie, “Multilateralism: The Anatomy of an Institution,” in this issue of IO.

3. See, for example, Steve Weber, “Shaping the Postwar Balance of Power: Multilateralism in NATO,” in this issue of IO.

4. Olson, Mancur, The Logic of Collective Action (New York: Schocken, 1968), p. 35; emphasis in the original text.

5. Ibid., p. 48.

6. See Taylor, Michael, The Possibility of Cooperation (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1987); and Hardin, Russell, Collective Action (Baltimore, Md.: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1982), chap. 3.

7. Hardin, , Collective Action, p. 43.

8. This aspect of certain collective goods is a key assumption in Chamberlin's critique of Olson. See John Chamberlin, “Provision of Collective Goods as a Function of Group Size,” in Barry, Brian and Hardin, Russell, eds., Rational Man and Irrational Society? (Beverly Hills, Calif.: Sage, 1982), pp. 197212, and the comments by Barry and Hardin, p. 196. Some of these collective goods also resemble the lumpy goods described by Taylor, in The Possibility of Cooperation, pp. 51–53.

9. Taylor, , The Possibility of Cooperation, p. 12; emphasis in the original text.

10. Oye, Kenneth, “Explaining Cooperation Under Anarchy,” in Oye, Kenneth, ed., Cooperation Under Anarchy (Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 1986), p. 19.

11. Ibid., pp. 20–21.

12. Ibid., p. 21.

13. Hardin, , Collective Action, p. 228.

14. Snidal, Duncan, “The Limits of Hegemonic Stability Theory,” International Organization 39 (Autumn 1985), p. 612.

15. Mastanduno, Michael, “Trade as a Strategic Weapon: American and Alliance Export Control Policy in the Early Postwar Period,” International Organization 42 (Winter 1988), pp. 121–50.

16. Weber, “Shaping the Postwar Balance of Power.”

17. Milward, Alan S., The Reconstruction of Western Europe, 1945–51(Berkeley: University of California Press, 1984), p. 169.

18. For an account of these years, see Miles Kahler, “The United States and the International Monetary Fund: Declining Influence or Declining Interest?” in Karns, Margaret P. and Mingst, Karen A., eds., The United States and Multilateral Institutions (Boston: Unwin Hyman, 1990), pp. 9497.

19. Eichengreen, Barry, “Hegemonic Stability Theories of the International Monetary System,” in Cooper, Richard N. et al. , eds., Can Nations Agree? (Washington, D.C.: Brookings Institution, 1987), p. 287.

20. See Patterson, Gardner, Discrimination in International Trade: The Policy Issues, 1945–1965 (Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 1966), pp. 5460. These agreements concerned not only East-West trade but also a substantial part of the trade within Western Europe and Latin America. By 1963, they had been whittled down to agreements that concerned state trading countries.

21. Winham, Gilbert R., International Trade and the Tokyo Round (Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 1986), p. 34.

22. Ibid., p. 65.

23. Ibid., p. 376.

24. Patterson, , Discrimination in International Trade, pp. 14–15.

25. On the Lomé Convention, see Ravenhill, John, Collective Clientelism: The Lomé Conventions and North-South Relations (New York: Columbia University Press, 1985).

26. Patterson, , Discrimination in International Trade, pp. 140–41*.

27. On the evolution of the textile trade regime, see Aggarwal, Vinod K., Liberal Protectionism: The International Politics of Organized Textile Trade (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1985).

28. Patterson, , Discrimination in International Trade, p. 388.

29. Aggarwal, , Liberal Protectionism, pp. 78–80.

30. Weintraub, Sidney, “Selective Trade Liberalization and Restriction,” in Preeg, Ernest H., ed., Hard Bargaining Ahead: U.S. Trade Policy and Developing Countries (New Brunswick, N.J.: Transaction Books, 1985), p. 170.

31. Patterson, , Discrimination in International Trade, p. 390.

32. This interesting history is recounted by Riches, Cromwell A. in Majority Rule in International Organization (Baltimore, Md.: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1940), pp. 267–72.

33. Hollick, Ann L., U.S. Foreign Policy and the Law of the Sea (Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 1981), pp. 164–69.

34. Buzan, Barry, Seabed Politics (New York: Praeger, 1976), p. 134.

35. Ibid., pp. 99–100.

36. Baradi, Mohamed El and Gavin, Cloe, Crowded Agendas, Crowded Rooms: Institutional Arrangements at UNCLOS III (New York: United Nations Institute for Training and Research, 1981), pp. 46.

37. See Hollick, , U.S. Foreign Policy and the Law of the Sea, p. 282; Buzan, , Seabed Politics, pp. 216–18; Miles, Edward, “The Structure and Effects of the Decision Process in the Seabed Committee and the Third United Nations Conference on the Law of the Sea,” International Organization 31 (Spring 1977), pp. 180–85; and Sebenius, James K., Negotiating the Law of the Sea (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1984), p. 13.

38. Hollick, , U.S. Foreign Policy and the Law of the Sea, pp. 378–79.

39. Miles, , “Structure and Effects of the Decision Process in the Seabed Committee and the Third United Nations Conference on the Law of the Sea,” p. 232.

40. Buzan, , Seabed Politics, pp. 138–39.

41. Baradi, El and Gavin, , Crowded Agendas, Crowded Rooms, p. 19.

42. Sebenius, , Negotiating the Law of the Sea, p. 209.

43. See Hollick, , U.S. Foreign Policy and the Law of the Sea, p. 304; and Buzan, , Seabed Politics, p. 264.

44. Hollick, , U.S. Foreign Policy and the Law of the Sea, pp. 299–300 and 378.

45. Sebenius, , Negotiating the Law of the Sea, p. 26.

46. Hollick, , U.S. Foreign Policy and the Law of the Sea, p. 363.

47. Sebenius, , Negotiating the Law of the Sea, p. 91.

48. For an account and documentation of the issues in the Uruguay Round and the early phases of the negotiations, see Golt, Sidney, The GATT Negotiations, 1986–90: Origins, Issues and Prospects (London: British-North American Committee, 1988).

49. For an excellent account of the negotiations leading to the Uruguay Round, see Hamilton, Colleen and Whalley, John, “Coalitions in the Uruguay Round,” working paper no. 2751, National Bureau of Economic Research, Cambridge, Mass., 1988.

50. Winham, Gilbert R., “The Prenegotiation Phase of the Uruguay Round,” in Stein, Janice Gross, ed., Getting to the Table: The Processes of International Prenegotiation (Baltimore, Md.: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1989), p. 54.

51. See Hamilton, and Whalley, , “Coalitions in the Uruguay Round,” pp. 17–18.

52. Ibid.

53. See ibid., p. 18; and Winham, “The Prenegotiation Phase of the Uruguay Round,” p. 59.

54. Winham, , “The Prenegotiation Phase of the Uruguay Round,” pp. 60–61.

55. Ibid., p. 65.

56. Hamilton and Whalley, “Coalitions in the Uruguay Round.”

57. See Higgott, Richard A. and Cooper, Andrew Fenton, “Middle Power Leadership and Coalition Building: Australia, the Cairns Group, and the Uruguay Round of Trade Negotiations,” International Organization 44 (Autumn 1990), p. 601. This source provides a detailed account of the history and activities of the Cairns Group.

58. On other groups, see ibid., p. 591; and Hamilton and Whalley, “Coalitions in the Uruguay Round,” pp. 32–36.

59. In “Middle Power Leadership and Coalition Building,” Higgott and Fenton argue that the Cairns Group has played such a role. In “The Prenegotiation Phase of the Uruguay Round,” however, Winham argues that the great powers have continued to be predominant in the bargaining.

60. Hamilton and Whalley, “Coalitions in the Uruguay Round.”

61. See Sebenius, James K., “Crafting a Winning Coalition: Negotiating a Regime to Control Global Warming,” in Benedick, Richard Elliot et al. , eds., Greenhouse Warming: Negotiating a Global Regime (Washington, D.C.: World Resources Institute, 1991), p. 79; and Skolnikoff, Eugene B., “The Policy Gridlock on Global Warming,” Foreign Policy 79 (Summer 1990), pp. 8485.

62. Benedick, Richard Elliot, Ozone Diplomacy: New Directions in Safeguarding the Planet (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1991), p. 99.

63. Ibid., pp. 6, 69, and 101–2.

64. Ibid., pp. 69 and 74.

65. See Benedick, Richard Elliot, “Ozone Diplomacy,” Issues in Science and Technology 6 (Fall 1989), pp. 4950; and Sebenius, , “Crafting a Winning Coalition,” pp. 80 and 91.

66. As Benedick, notes in Ozone Diplomacy, p. 150, the threat posed to the Montreal regime was real. By 1989, three of the prospective largest consumers of CFCs had ratified the Montreal protocol, but only fourteen developing countries had become parties.

67. This account is drawn from the excellent narrative presented by Benedick in Ozone Diplomacy, pp. 178–89.

68. For one pessimistic view of the possibilities for negotiating a regime of global limits on greenhouse gases, see Grubb, Michael, “The Greenhouse Effect: Negotiating Targets,” International Affairs 66 (01 1990), pp. 6789.

69. Sebenius, , “Crafting a Winning Coalition,” pp. 90–91.

70. See Stevens, William K., “At Meeting, U.S. Is Alone on Global Warming,” The New York Times, 10 09 1991, pp. Bl and B8.

71. Shepsle, Kenneth, cited by McCubbins, Mathew D. and Sullivan, Terry in Congress: Structure and Policy (New York: Cambridge University Press, 1987), p. 315.

72. On some of the controversies concerning voting during the 1970s, see Zamora, Stephen, “Voting in International Economic Organizations,” American Journal of International Law 74 (07 1980), pp. 583–88.

73. See Jenks, C. Wilfred, “Unanimity, the Veto, Weighted Voting, Special and Simple Majorities and Consensus as Modes of Decision in International Organisations,” in Cambridge Essays in International Law (London: Stevens & Sons, 1965).

74. On the Bretton Woods organizations, see Lister, Frederick K., Decision-Making Strategies for International Organizations: The IMF Model (Denver, Colo.: University of Denver, 1984); Zamora, , “Voting in International Economic Organizations,” pp. 576–78; and Gold, Joseph, “Weighted Voting Power: Some Limits and Some Problems,” American Journal of International Law 68 (10 1974), pp. 687708.

75. On consensus decision making, see Kaufman, John, Conference Diplomacy: An Introductory Analysis (Dordrecht: Martinus Nijhoff, 1988), pp. 2425; and Jenks, , “Unanimity, the Veto, Weighted Voting, Special and Simple Majorities and Consensus,” pp. 55–62.

76. See, for example, Kiewiet, D. Roderick and McCubbins, Mathew D., The Logic of Delegation: Congressional Parties and the Appropriations Process (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1991).

77. Sebenius, , Negotiating the Law of the Sea, p. 209.

78. Sand, Peter H., “Preserving the Global Environment: The Challenge of Shared Leadership,” background paper prepared for the American Assembly, Arden House, Harriman, N.Y., 1990, p. 19.

79. Riches, , Majority Rule in International Organization, p. 106.

This article was prepared for the Ford Foundation West Coast Workshop on Multilateralism, organized by John Gerard Ruggie. I gratefully acknowledge the Ford Foundation's financial support for this project. I also thank Stephen Krasner, John McMillan, and two anonymous reviewers of International Organization for their comments on an earlier version of this article and Stephen Saideman for his research assistance.

Multilateralism with small and large numbers

  • Miles Kahler

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