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  Educators Course Syllabi Politics, Pfaltzgraff- World Politics, Theory and Practice, 6

Week 6: The Nature of the International System: Its Structure and Operation

 Topics for Reports:

  • Bipolarity: Implications for International Conflict
  • Multipolarity: Implications for International Conflict
  • Systems Theory and International Relations
  • Technological Change: Implications for the International System
  • The Regional Subsystem
  • World System Analysis

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Basic Readings:

Brown, Seyom
"Explaining the Transformation of World Politics," William Olson (ed.), The Theory and Practice of International Relations (Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall, 1994), pp.9-17.
Dougherty, James E. and Robert L. Pfaltzgraff, Jr.
* Contending Theories of International Relations, Ch. 4
Selected Bibliography:
Aron, Raymond
Peace and War (New York: Doubleday, 1967)
Brzezinski, Zbigniew
Between Two Ages: America in the Technetronic Age (New York: Viking Press)
Deutsch, Karl W. and David J. Singer
"Multipolar Power Systems and International Stability," World Politics, (April 1964)
Grunberg, Isabelle
"Exploring the Myth of Hegemonic Stability," International Organization (Autumn 1990)
Haas, Ernst B.
"On Systems and International Regimes," World Politics, Vol. XXVII, No. 2 (January 1975)
Hopkins, Terence K. and Immanuel Wallerstein
World Systems Analysis: Theory and Methodology (Beverly Hills, CA: Sage Publications, 1982)
Kaplan, Morton A.
The Revolution in World Politics (New York: John Wiley and Sons, 1962)
System and Process in International Politics (New York: John Wiley and Sons, 1957)
"The Systems Approach to International Politics," in Kaplan, ed., New Approaches to International Relations
Krasner, Stephen D., ed.
International Regimes (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1983)
McClelland, Charles A.
"Systems and History in International Relations: Some Perspectives in Empirical Research Theory," General Systems, III, (1958), pp.242 ff.
Riggs, F.W.
"Agraria and Industria: Toward a Typology of Comparative Administration," in W.J. Siffin, ed., Toward the Comparative Study of Public Administration (Bloomington: Indiana University)
Rosecrance, Richard N.
Action and Reaction in World Politics: International Systems in Perspective (Boston: Little, Brown, 1963)
"Bipolarity, Multipolarity and the Future," Journal of Conflict Resolution 10 (September 1966), pp.314-327
Thompson, William R.
"The Regional Subsystem: A Conceptual Explication and a Propositional Inventory," International Studies Quarterly, Vol. 17, No. 1 (March 1973)
Wallerstein, Immanuel

The Modern World System, 2 Vols. (New York: Academic Press, 1974)

Alternative Energy Futures Study Questions, Week 6

  • What is the rough average rate of adult energy consumption in the form of food in Watts?
  • What are the OECD countries? Roughly what is their population? Roughly what is the population of the "developing countries?"
  • What is roughly the current average per capita rate of consumption of commercial energy in: a) the US, b) Western Europe and Japan, and c) the developing countries?
  • Roughly what fraction of U.S. primary energy is used to generate electric power? Roughly what is the average efficiency of fuel-burning power plants in converting fuel energy into electrical energy?
  • What was the generally prevailing relationship between economic and commercial-energy consumption in the industrialized countries before 1973 (the year of the first energy crisis)? What has happened to this relationship since 1973? Why was the pre-1973 correlation broken?
  • If energy-efficiency improvements are a better investment than new energy supply, why doesn't the "invisible hand of the market" result in investments being distributed appropriately? What policy tools are available to rectify these "market imperfections?"
  • The world's fossil-fuel resources are large enough to support human commercial energy use at current rates for hundreds of years. What is the principal obstacle to the full exploitation of this resource?
  • What is the basis of the concern that a long-term, large-scale dependence on fission energy could make nuclear terroism more likely? What about fusion?
  • What "external" costs of energy supply are not paid for in the price of energy?
  • Passenger cars and "light trucks" (vans, etc.) account for almost one half of U.S. oil use. How has the U.S. tried to reduce the oil consumption of this fleet? How successful have we been? How much further could we go?
  • What, in your view are optimistic and pessimistic scenarios for the future of world energy use?