The Debate about Collective Goods in the Context of Contemporary Issues of Global Governance

DOI: 10.20542/0131-2227-2021-65-2-109-116
Institute of Business Studies (IBS-MOSCOW), 82, Vernadskogo Prosp., Moscow, 119571, Russian Federation;
A. Kazantsev (,
Moscow State Institute of International Relations, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation (MGIMO University), 76, Vernadskogo Prosp., Moscow, 119454, Russian Federation;
National Research University Higher School of Economics, 20, Myasnitskaya Str., Moscow, 101000, Russian Federation;
L. Fljyan (,
Northern University, 10/1 Alek Manukyan Str., 0017 Yerevan, Republic of Armenia;
S. Medvedeva (,
Moscow State Institute of International Relations, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation (MGIMO University), 76, Vernadskogo Prosp., Moscow, 119454, Russian Federation

Acknowledgements. This paper is a part of MGIMO University research program no. 1921-01-02.

Abstract. This article is dedicated to three interconnected concepts – “collective goods”, “free rider” and “hegemony” in the context of modern politics. We analyze three theoretical approaches to the problem of provision of collective goods by hegemonic states. These approaches are: neoliberal, (neo) realist and World-System Theory. Basing on these theoretical premises, we analyze the debate about free-riding in the Western political discourse (especially among US allies) and we point out that particular interests of US can be disguised as “collective goods”. Basing on this, we analyze discussions about free-riding both in the Western world (among NATO and EU members) and among US allies in the Pacific region (Japan, South Korea, Australia, New Zealand). We point out that in fact US can use the concept of collective goods to push their own agenda. Than we move to popular in western political science idea that China is a global free rider – for instance in the sphere of sea lane security and global energy security. Basing on A. Kennedy works, we demonstrate that China in fact does not wish to make western powers pay the costs of collective goods. China is rather afraid that western powers will exploit his resources. This idea is supported with the evidence, gathered during in-depth interview with Chinese diplomats and foreign policy experts. Having said that, paper points out that mentioned cases mark the importance of the concept of trust. Trust is well-studied in the field of behavioral economics, but IR theory doesn`t usually takes the concept of trust into account. Also this paper raises a question about including historical and cultural topics in the theory of international relations. Basing on analysis of different ways to incorporate economic arguments in IR theory, authors point out that modern IR theory lacks economic argumentation. Paper concludes with the idea that IR theory should capitalize on behavioral economics.

Keywords: IR theories, collective goods, hegemony, global governance, free-riding issue, foreign policy strategy, collective security, energy security, NATO


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For citation:
Lebedev S., Kazantsev A., Fljyan L., Medvedeva S. The Debate about Collective Goods in the Context of Contemporary Issues of Global Governance. World Eonomy and International Relations, 2021, vol. 65, no. 2, pp. 109-116.

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