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Political Science7


Political science


Neoliberalism is a phenomenon that blends technology and ideology to explain how international system functions. It proposes that human beings can embrace technological advancements to liberate their entrepreneurial skills and freedom. Thus, neoliberals advocate that state governments should incorporate institutions that foster economic interdependence in the globe. As such, states should form cooperation with each other governments to avoid international conflicts and accrue absolute gains for their countries (Rourke & Boyer 2010). The neoliberals indicate that international institutions play a vital role in resolving conflicts and ensuring that states work towards achieving their long-term gains. In this regard, this article seeks to provide an in-depth analysis of neo-liberalism and identify its impact on international relations.


The neoliberal theory emerged in the 1970s after the end of capitalism golden age. After the golden age, the world economy fell into recession, the old strategies ceased to work, and this caused an economic depression (Sutch 2007). As such, neoliberals’ strategies proved to rectify the economic challenges that faced the globe. The core principle of the theory was to rectify the bad policies rooted in the government intervention and caused the economic recession. It aimed at restoring policies that ensured that there would be competitiveness in the world to boost economic growth. Nevertheless, neoliberal development theory enhanced a free market that boosted business growth. It aimed to replace Keynesianism that was weak because it made the implement government intervention that resulted in the poor economic performance in many global countries (Johnston, 2007). Thus, many international organizations aimed at adopting neoliberals to make an economic transition in an effective manner.

Originally, the neoliberal economic model focused on the Washington consensus development policy, which was adopted by World Bank and International Monetary Fund. As such, the neoliberalism policies include fiscal discipline, prevention of inflation strategies and opening doors for foreign investment and trade ((Sutch & Elias 2007). Therefore, it reduced the role of government in interfering with trade as it advocated for tax reforms. The new tax reforms helped to promote trade exports and created a competitive exchange rate between countries. Lastly, the policy secured international property rights for foreign investment especially the developing countries to achieve economic development.

Pillars of neoliberalism

The period of the 1970s induced the non-state actors to change their world structures to achieve great political and economic development (Sutch & Elias 2007). For instance, multinational companies and the European community started playing a great significance in world politics and transnational relations. Thus, neoliberalism emerged to explain the changes in the world structure and provide guidance on international politics. Neoliberalism explained that globalization provided resources and opportunities that helped governments to form social movements that changed the state authority. Neoliberalism put forward a pluralistic vies that demonstrated how non-state actors could contribute to world politics. Furthermore, the view indicates that non-state actors can also affect international politics because they regulate cross-borders transactions without government authorization (Rourke & Boyer 2010). Thus, this indicates how states do not act in a unitary fashion, but it is fragmented and composed of bureaucracies and individuals with stakes that shape the state policy. Therefore, neoliberalism indicates that transnational cooperation is imperative to respond to the common problems resulting from the state government by encouraging cooperation in all sectors.

In this regard, the foundation of neo-liberalism is that state government should establish development forums and strategies that will ensure state cooperation. State cooperation will enable the government to for solutions for new challenges or issues facing the regime and its institutions. Moreover, neoliberalism accepts anarchic principles by outlining that states should become principal actors to recognizing the importance of rational choice in governance (Rourke & Boyer 2010). Thus, neoliberals concern themselves by establishing how cooperation can be obtained in the conditions of anarchy. Conversely, neo-realist explains that in anarchy, there are significant power struggle and conflicts that characterize the features of international politics. Thus, cooperation is insignificant and cannot help rectify the situation. Nevertheless, the neoliberals agree that achieving cooperation in international relations is difficult but they disagree with neo-realists and state that cooperation can occur in anarchical government. Neoliberals claim that cooperation requires the actions of different organizations and individuals that can help people to conform to one another through negotiation. .they further claim that cooperation could be increased through establishing international regimes that allow for effective exchange of information. Thus, international regimes will act as mediators and would be means to achieving cooperation on the international platform. More pertinently, the neo-liberals signify that institutions can exert a force on international relations by accruing state benefits through cooperative arrangements.

The second neoliberalism pillar indicates that interdependence forms a great part of international relations. The pillar indicates that the greater the level of transnational interdependence between nations means great transnational relation (Rourke & Boyer 2010). This means that transnational ties between nations lead to peaceful coexistence and a cooperative relation among state governments. For instance, this phenomenon is depicted in Asia Pacific that highlights great economic interdependence between state governments in the region. Particularly, after the Second World War the states demised the Soviet Union leading to their increased globalization and economic liberalism (Johnston, 2007). The degree of economic interdependence in this region is significantly high, and this explains why the region is very peaceful despite having so many marginal disputes. Thus, based on reality, the Asian Pacific high level of interdependence results to a peaceful coexistence of countries in the region and builds their market economy.

The third strand of neoliberalism is formed under institutional liberalism that explains the present world events. Institutional liberalism helps organizations to cooperate and merge states to form a unified international body. As such, this explains the creation of world organizations such as United Nations, world trade organizations and the European Union. Nevertheless, the institutional liberalism allows member countries to set rules that allow the formation of international treaties such as the Montreal Protocol and Kyoto Protocol. It also allows member states to form binding international conventional that provides mutual advantages for member countries. The formations of these agreements help member states to maintain international security through developing peacekeeping mechanism that promote stability and prosperity.

The last stand of neoliberalism explains the present liberal democracies evident in law-abiding political systems. Simply put, neoliberalism help democratic states to accrue perpetual peace and this means that they will not fight each other. For instance, it is evident that constitutional republics will never cast a vote to propose their country to go to war unless it is a war on self-defense (Sutch & Elias 2007). The main reason is that the countries established that wars could harm their national interests and hurt their democracy. It is also believed that democratic states do not go to war because they have rules of law that preserve human dignity.


This article has provided an in-depth analysis of neo-liberalism and identified its impact on international relations. Most importantly, the four pillars of neo-liberalism have been identified and discussed. It is evident that the strands of neoliberalism could pave the way for solutions that affect states such as global challenges. Transnationalism can help build on nations sovereignty and helps states achieve a great economic and political interdependence.


Johnston, G. (2007). Neoliberalism: A Critical Reader. London: Pluto Press.

Rourke, J. &. (2010). International politics on the world stage. New York: McGraw-Hill.

Sheikh, A. (2009). The Economic Mythology of Neoliberalism. London: Pluto Press.

Sutch, P. &. (2007). International relations: the basics. Hoboken: Taylor & Francis.