In This Review

Renegotiating the World Order: Institutional Change in International Politics
Renegotiating the World Order: Institutional Change in International Politics
By Phillip Y. Lipscy
Cambridge University Press, 2017, 348 pp

How will rising states such at Brazil, China, and India seek to reshape the global order? Will they be responsible stakeholders working within the existing Western-led order, or will they be revisionists seeking to overturn it? After years of debate, most scholars have concluded that the most likely answer is not either-or: sometimes rising states will seek greater authority within existing institutions (for example, greater voting rights in the International Monetary Fund), and at other times they will venture out to create new ones (such as China’s Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank). Lipscy provides the most elegant and systematic explanation yet for these diverse and shifting choices. His key insight is that policy areas differ in their propensity to create competition between institutions. In some areas, such as the management of financial crises, all states want global surveillance of the situation, so it makes sense to concentrate capabilities in a single institution—and the costs for dissatisfied rising states of creating new institutions would be prohibitively high, anyway. But other policy areas, such as foreign aid and infrastructure lending, reward competition over cooperation, creating more opportunities for rising states to strike out on their own.