Reports predict that the size of the Chinese economy will surpass the United States (US) and European economies to become the world’s largest by 2016 (cite). With its growing economy and military might, by 2016 China will have surpassed the US in terms of population, economics, and military. Therefore, the predominant question of our time is whether the international order created by the US can remain the dominant order in the twenty-first century. Some predict that a hegemon is needed to maintain the existing world order, and without it a struggle for global preeminence between the US and China will ensue. Others argue that powers such as China will work within the liberal ...view middle of the document...
Allowing all countries to benefit from international economic liberalization.
The initial phase of the international system is characterized by a hierarchic ordering of the states system. Over time, the subordinate state powers will begin to grow disproportionately, and they will eventually encounter the hegemon. What ensues is a struggle between these two states and their respective allies, to rebalance the power in the international system. If a balance cannot be achieved then a hegemonic war will take place. The outcome of the hegemonic war is the transformation of the structure of the international system.
Hegemony is based on a general belief in its legitimacy, at the same time it is constrained by the need to maintain it (cite). Other states accept the rule of the hegemon because of its prestige and status in the international political system. Historically, circumstances favorable to hegemonic leadership and the emergence of a liberal world economy has only occurred twice. The first was Great Britain during the nineteenth century, an example of their success can be seen with the general acceptance of liberal ideals among the major economic powers (cite). Second, the US took the lead after the Second World War, the General Agreements of Tariffs and Trade and the IMF can be seen as examples of their leadership being exercised (cite). During these eras of British and American preeminence the international market and global economic interdependence expanded.
To be a hegemon a state must take the lead in organizing trade liberalization and in keeping its market open in times of recession (cite). It must manage the monetary system and supply investment capital and encourage development in the peripheral area. Moreover, it must be very powerful relative to other states, both in economics, and military as well as socially and culturally. Lastly, a hegemon must have the will and ability to lead (cite). The relative large size of the hegemon’s market is a source of considerable power and enables it to create an economic sphere of influence. The ultimate basis of the economic strength of the hegemon is the flexibility and mobility of the economy (cite).
The basic contention of the hegemonic stability theory is that the distribution of power among states is the primary determinant of the character of the international economic system. The US had lost its hegemonic status by the mid 1970s and predictions of its erosion is resulting in instability. However, the theory makes no prediction regarding the consequence of war. Instead, it states it will create a new basis of political and social order at both the domestic and international levels.
Mutual interests in economics and politics of the major powers are crucial for the dominant order to continue to exist. Mutual interests can be measured by the amount of cooperation that occurs between two actors (cite). In the realm of international relations this cooperation can be...