Private Authority and International Affairs

Edited by A. Claire Cutler, Virginia Haufler, and Tony Porter

Subjects: Political Economy
Series: SUNY series in Global Politics
Paperback : 9780791441206, 412 pages, April 1999
Hardcover : 9780791441190, 412 pages, April 1999

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Table of contents

List of Tables and Figures


Part 1 Introduction

Chapter 1 Private Authority and International Affairs
A. Claire Cutler, Virginia Haufler, and Tony Porter

Part 2 Ruling Themselves—Interfirm Organizing in the Global Arena

Chapter 2 Lost in (Cyber)space: The Private Rules of Online Commerce
Debora L. Spar

Chapter 3 Private and Public Management of International Mineral Markets
Michael C. Webb

Chapter 4 The Standards Regime for Communication and Information Technologies
Liora Salter

Chapter 5 Strategic Partnerships, Knowledge-Based Networked Oligopolies, and the State
Lynn K. Mytelka and Michel Delapierre

Part 3 Ruling Others—The Effects of Private International Authority

Chapter 6 Bond-Rating Agencies and Coordination in the Global Political Economy
Timothy J. Sinclair

Chapter 7 Multinational Corporations as Agents of Change: The Globalization of Intellectual Property Rights
Susan K. Sell

Chapter 8 Self-Regulation and Business Norms: Political Risk, Political Activism
Virginia Haufler

Chapter 9 Embedded Private Authority: Multinational Enterprises and the Amazonian Indigenous Peoples Movement in Ecuador
Pamela L. Burke

Part 4 The Evolution of Public and Private International Authority

Chapter 10 Hegemony and the Private Governance of International Industries
Tony Porter

Chapter 11 Private Authority in International Trade Relations: The Case of Maritime Transport
A. Claire Cutler

Part 5 Conclusion

Chapter 12 The Contours and Significance of Private Authority in International Affairs
A. Claire Cutler, Virginia Haufler, and Tony Porter

List of Contributors


Explores in detail the degree to which private sector firms are beginning to replace governments in "governing" some areas of international relations.


Governments today are too often unwilling to intervene in global commerce, and international organizations are too often unable to govern effectively. In their place, firms increasingly cooperate internationally to establish the rules and standards of behavior for themselves and for others, taking on the mantle of authority to govern specific issue areas. Are they stepping into the breach to supply needed collective goods? Or are they organizing themselves in order to prevent governments from interfering in their business? This book explores the meaning of this private international authority, both for theory and policy, through case studies of specific industries, associations, and issue areas in both contemporary and historical perspective.

[Contributors include Pamela Burke, Lynn Mytelka and Michel Delapierre, Liora Salter, Susan Sell, Timothy Sinclair, Deborah Spar, and Michael Webb.]

A. Claire Cutler is Assistant Professor of Political Science at the University of Victoria, Canada. She is the coeditor (with Mark W. Zacher) of Canadian Foreign Policy and International Economic Regimes. Virginia Haufler is Senior Associate at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace and Associate Professor of Government and Politics at the University of Maryland. She is the author of Dangerous Commerce: Insurance and the Management of International Risk, and coeditor (with Karol Soltan and Eric Uslaner) of Institutions and Social Order. Tony Porter is Associate Professor of Political Science at McMaster University and author of States, Markets, and Regimes in Global Finance.


"The topic is both timely and significant. In my judgment the problem of private authority is connected to the erosion of state power and is central to the emerging and increasing deterritorialized world of global politics." — Richard W. Mansbach, Iowa State University

"The subject matter is pioneering and of enormous significance both for international relations theory and for a practical understanding of contemporary global politics. " — Yale H. Ferguson, Rutgers University-Newark