Prisoners Of Reason: Game Theory And Neoliberal Political Economy Book Pdf

this book is an examination of the concept of war as a game. the book describes a game as a situation in which there are two or more alternatives. the alternatives are choices, such as which city to attack, and the player s choice affects the outcome of the game. the book states that there are different forms of war, but that one of the most important is the terror war. the book focuses on the psychological differences between a terror war and a conventional war, and on the psychological consequences of the two for the participants. it is argued that there are numerous possible outcomes of a terror war, and that one of the most important is the outcome that makes one side lose face.

the analysis begins with a brief overview of the three major theories of international relations, neorealism, neoliberalism, and constructivism. next, the author offers a critique of rational choice theory, and then discusses the concept of rationality in the theories of international relations. the discussion of rationality in neorealism is based on the assumption that the rules of international politics are independent of the agents who make decisions. the rules of the game guide the behavior of states and their leaders. the author argues that this view ignores the possibility of institutional change, which can undermine the rules of the game.

the starting point for post-positivist theorists is social science. for instance, neumann & waever (1997) argue that the logic of organisation is replaced by the logic of the game; that is, it is all about the social world, not the natural world. this means that the actions of states, movements of public opinion, international organisations, international institutions and even international law are all taken as the objects of study (mearsheimer, 1994, p.109). political scientists use the game theory model, as used by economists, to understand the logic of organisations (baldwin, 1993, p.22). game theory is based on the idea that ‘every player in a game has certain preferences, and these preferences reflect the ends that he or she seeks to achieve’ (neumann & waever, 1997, p.40). the game then evolves as players, through their choices, achieve their goals.

a significant difference between reflectivism and rationalism is that the former approach is a little less specific about how individuals act, and a little more specific about their sociality. the main difference between neorealism and neoliberalism is that neorealism emphasises the role of the state as sovereign, while neoliberalism emphasises the role of free markets. neoliberalism is also more specific about the political processes that determine institutional change (mearsheimer, 2001). they recognise that political processes play a role in determining the social order and social change, but the focus is on the role of states in the formation and maintenance of political institutions (mearsheimer, 2001). the neoliberal view is not complete, as it assumes that states will act rationally and autonomously. neoliberalism is more concerned with the processes by which political institutions are determined than the content of institutions themselves (beck, 1993). neoliberalism follows a set of policies that individuals and states are assumed to act rationally; they should be free to act autonomously (arrighi, 2010).
the focus of neo-neo is largely political rather than economic. its methodology is based on the assumption that states exist as entities with a certain degree of autonomy and rationality. they are rational, and follow rules; they are self-interested actors.
amadae begins by discussing two prominent theories of realism and instrumentalism. first, realism is the theory that states have inherent value and ought to be respected as self-interested rational actors. with the emergence of the discipline of international relations, realism has been the dominant theory. second, instrumentalism is a theory of realism that conceives of states as rational actors, but assumes that self-interest and morality need not necessarily coincide. in her analysis, amadae describes the fundamental differences between realism and instrumentalism. the former asserts that states will act in accordance with their inherent value and interests, whereas the latter claims that states will act rationally in their interests. on the basis of this assumption, realism draws on the concepts of rationality, interest, value, and cooperation. on the other hand, instrumentalism is dominated by the concepts of utility, rationality, and cooperation.
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