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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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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 02 December 2021

The Tragedy of the Global Institutional Commons

The Tragedy of the Global Institutional Commons

(p.280) 13 The Tragedy of the Global Institutional Commons
Back to Basics

Daniel W. Drezner

Oxford University Press

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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