Liberal internationalism and the decline of the state : a comparative analysis of the thought of Richard Cobden, David Mitrany, and Kenichi Ohmae
The purpose of the thesis is to provide a critical analysis of the liberal idea of the decline of the state based on a historical comparison. It takes special note of the implications of state failure for international relations. The author identifies three acknowledged proponents of the theme. They are Richard Cobden (1804-1865), David Mitrany (1888-1975), and Kenichi Ohmae (b. 1943). The dissertation analyses how Cobden, Mitrany, and Ohmae view the state and its role in their respective periods. It elucidates similarities and differences between their conceptions with the aim of shedding light on the status of the state in their systems of political and economic thought. It also puts the three thinkers into context by exposing the influence of their historical and social environments. A supplementary objective is to infuse caution into future prophesies about the state's imminent decline. The text is divided into three sections. The first analyses Cobden, Mitrany, and Ohmae's empirical claims. The second focuses on their normative judgements. Finally, the third directs the attention to their predictive assertions. The discussion is organised according to the distinction between the state as a country in its entirety, and the state as an institution of government separate from the society which it rules. The central question of the dissertation asks what we can learn from a study of the history of the liberal idea of the decline of the state. The thesis emphasises, in particular, five lessons and concludes that Cobden, Mitrany, and Ohmae primarily propose normative arguments for less state involvement in economic and international relations, but conceal them partly in empirical and predictive assertions. The liberal idea of the decline of the state is more of an ideological statement in response to contemporary political, social, and economic trends than an objective observation of an empirically verifiable fact.