Dynamics among Nations: Evolution of Legitimacy and Development in Modern States
Sat, September 5, 10:15am to 12:00pm, Nikko, Ballroom I
Dynamics among Nations offers a new way for political science to study diversity in global political economy. Panelists discuss how the science of complex adaptive systems can be applied to understand institutional adaptation, political processes, the stability of international systems, and global policy. They will explore both system-level patterns that concern the field of international relations and the diversities in institutional adaptation and political processes within nations that concern comparative politics.
The approach contrasts with rational choice models and modernization theory. It looks at persistent diversity and disequilibrium as a dynamic process, and argues that complex problems can’t be solved optimally. Yet most policymakers address the challenge of correcting inferior choices (“digressions from optimality”) as if it were a condition of working with incomplete information. Their faith in objective “best practices” nurtures the belief—which the book calls into doubt—that liberal market democracy will inevitably triumph as a global norm-setter. Complexity thinking illuminates the pitfalls of this reliance on objective measures of optimization, and describes an alternate scenario in which heightened connectivity creates opportunities for regional and national diversities to proliferate.