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Back to BasicsState Power in a Contemporary World$
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Martha Finnemore and Judith Goldstein

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780199970087

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2013

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199970087.001.0001

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The Tragedy of the Global Institutional Commons

The Tragedy of the Global Institutional Commons

Chapter:
(p.280) 13 The Tragedy of the Global Institutional Commons
Source:
Back to Basics
Author(s):

Daniel W. Drezner

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199970087.003.0013

In recent years there has been a proliferation of international rules, laws, and institutional forms in world politics. Some policy makers, a fair number of international relations scholars, and many international lawyers posit that these trends will lead to more rule-based outcomes in world politics. This chapter suggests a contrary position: institutional thickness paradoxically weakens global governance structures. Institutional proliferation erodes the causal pathways through which regimes ostensibly strengthen international cooperation. After a certain point, therefore, the proliferation of regimes shifts global governance from rule-based outcomes to power-based outcomes. To demonstrate these effects, the chapter examines two cases: the aftermath of the 2001 Doha Declaration on intellectual property rights and public health, and recent efforts to create a WMD interdiction regime that permits the boarding of ships on the high seas. These cases show that state power can break down “viscosity” within global governance structures.

Keywords:   international institutions, global governance, international regimes, international relations, Doha Declaration, trade, nuclear proliferation

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