IPE Assignment 2017
Choose an institution of global governance: the World Bank, the IMF or the WTO. Has the institution of your choice needed United States (US) hegemony in order to be an effective institution? Argue your case from a neo-Gramscian perspective, a neo-realist or a neo-liberal institutionalist notion of hegemony.
International institutions shape the world we live in today. This essay aims to explain economic and political theories in today’s global political economy; I will explore whether the IMF (International Monetary Fund) has needed US hegemony in order to be an effective institution and I will argue this from a neo-realist notion of hegemony, using relevant theories and concepts. The global economy is a complicated system. International regimes were created in order to govern the world economy, they require ‘strong international leadership’ and ‘an effective international governance structure’ (Giplin 2001:97), however, what makes an international institution effective? This is something I will discuss further in my assignment.
Neorealism is “based on a view of the individual as primarily selfish and power seeking” (Mingst, 2003:67). The essay will argue this view whilst discussing important factors relating to the International political economy including: power, institutions and US hegemony in relation to the IMF. According to Mingst “all realists characterize the international system as anarchic”. She describes this as there being no authority that exists above the state; meaning the state is sovereign. (Mingst, 2003:86)
The IMF, conceived in 1944 at the United Nations Bretton Woods conference, assists international trade and encourages international financial stability. It claims to “promote financial stability and monetary cooperation” (IMF, 2017: Online) and some of their aims include promoting exchange stability and making resources available to members with balance-of-payments issues. (IMF Fact Sheet, 2017: Online)
The term institution is used more predominantly in social sciences in recent years. Many theorists and writers have disputed definitions of the term and are often compared incorrectly with similar terms such as an ‘organisation’. However saying this, some theorists have suggested that by overcoming obstacles and biases, the term can be defined. Hodgson defines institutions as ‘systems of established and prevalent social rules that structure social interactions’ (Hodgson, 2006:2). Here, Hodgson sees institutions directly involved with structuring everyday social interactions. However, what an institution is can be complex to define, as John Searle suggests, we take institutions for granted, as we presuppose language, we have already presupposed institutions themselves. (Searle, 2005). One could argue that institutions are merely instruments of US Hegemony; this is something I will discuss in more depth below.
Power plays a prominent role in institutionalism from a neo-realist point of vi...