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Leadership, Hegemony, and the International Economy: Naked Emperor or Tattered Monarch with Potential?

Research Question of the Article: The author, David A. Lake from the “Institute on Global Conflict and Cooperation University of California, San Diego” seeks to explain the major factors, concepts, assumptions, structures, theories, and important data that International Relations (IR) experts have presented regarding leadership, hegemony, and the international economy. Moreover, the eminent scholar has explored the relationship between economics and politics. There is a relationship between the political and military power of the UK and the rise of its trading and economic power. According to the researcher, the leadership theory and hegemony theory have not been tested “adequately by existing empirical studies” (Lake, 459). He has evaluated the opinions of political researchers and scientists’ regarding three main characteristics of economic and political hegemony. In his exploration of factors and intricacies of global politics, Lake elaborates the importance of comprehending the differences between economic and political interdependence. He indicates his concerns by saying “I question the utility of interpretations of the international political economy that lack a clear, deductive foundation” (Lake, 461). It seems that the writer is worried due to the non-availability of a clear operational definition of international political economy (IPE). The reviewers might appreciate the approach of Lake to explain certain concepts before going into details; moreover, the research article seems lucid for new learners of global politics.

Main Arguments and Theories: This article’s main argument is that “a new research program is required to revitalize the theory of hegemonic stability”. To achieve this goal, scholars have to conduct studies with empirical data. According to the writer, some political scientists seem to be unaware of the existence of clear and visible differences between various concepts of IPE. The author negates the idea of proceeding with the research with unclear definitions which poses problems for the explanation of various real-life situations in IPE, including the role of the political power of states. The author seems to have a mixed view about the traditional theories of IPE. According to the scholar, “leadership theory builds upon the theory of public goods and focuses on the production of international stability, redefined below as the international economic infrastructure”. “The theory is extended here by identifying its necessary and sufficient conditions and explicating when leadership is likely to be benevolent or coercive” (Lake, 460). The author tries to prove his thesis and calls for detailed exploration of hegemony and points out the weaknesses of previous attempts on the important IPE topic.

Closing Thoughts: The author has offered a lucid analysis and review of the relationship between leadership, economic stability, and hegemony. The researcher has also explored three major pillars of IPE stability: “a medium of exchange, sufficient liquidity, and property rights” (Lake, 463). On page 464, the author uses two diagrams to explain payoff to state when there are government interventions and otherwise of it. These diagrams are indeed useful for many learners of IPE. Lake is of the view that leadership might be provided by many states of the world and economic crisis might occur even if a country is playing a leading role in international politics and economy. “The first Great Depression (1873-1896) occurred despite England’s continued desire and willingness to provide international leadership” (Lake, 465). By shedding light on the weakness of logic of some researchers the author provided an alternative to assess the importance of certain theories discussed in the paper. In the end, the author has proposed that scholars should devote time and energy to carry out further research on leadership and hegemonic theories (Lake, 485). Moreover, they should not repeat the mistakes that happened in the previous studies. His approach is multidisciplinary, which enhances the weight of rationality and logic applied in his contemplations of economic and political leadership and hegemony.

Works Cited

Lake, D. A., (1993). Leadership, Hegemony, and the International Economy: Naked Emperor or Tattered Monarch with Potential?, International Studies Quarterly, Volume 37, Issue 4, December 1993, Pages 459–489,



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