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Dependency Theory and Complex Interdependence Essay

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Updated: Jun 20th, 2020

There are many different concepts that aim at discussing international relations. Each idea has its own peculiarities and purposes, shortages and advantages, and impacts on human lives. Several decades ago, the two interesting theories, complex interdependence, and dependency theory were introduced to put emphasis on how differently the relations of the same states and societies may be developed and organized. Both theories contain a clear point: complex interdependence helps to facilitate the relations between societies, and the dependency theory aims at evaluating the reasons why the relations between different types of societies cannot be equally developed. The current paper intends to compare and contrast the dependency theory and complex interdependence and prove the urgency of both in order to get an opportunity and develop appropriate relations around the whole globe.

In the middle of the 20th century, complex interdependence and dependency theory were introduced as the opportunities to describe how the relations between states and societies of different types may be developed. Hans Singer and Raul Prebisch represented dependency theory as a way to explain the poverty in poor countries and the impact of developed countries to the developing ones. In their turn, Keohane and Nye worked out complex interdependence as an idea of different states’ cooperation in economic, military, political, etc. fields (Isiksal 130). So, the dependency theory was developed to explain international relations, and complex interdependence was introduced to describe one of the possible ways of international relations development.

The main idea of the dependency theory is to prove that poor countries do not have a single chance to make a fortune while cooperating with rich countries. Poor countries do not have enough money from their export earnings in order to pay for their imports, and wealthy countries continue enriching at the expense of poor states’ integration. Meanwhile, complete interdependence shows that good transnational relations may be developed in case economic and political relations start developing by means of military relations’ decline. In other words, the dependency theory supports the promotion of one society at the expense of another society’s success, and complex interdependence offers to replace the development of one type of relations with another.

In both cases, interchanges within the relations may lead to unpleasant results. Dependency theorists do not want to view any other ideas by the promotion of one society by means of another society’s decline. The outcome of such relations is simple – the rich stay rich, the poor do not have any chances. The snag of complex interdependence is that the relations of two societies, which follow an agreement, consider their cost-benefit perspective, neglect the development of hierarchy, and support the decline of military force (Isiksal 139), may be easily interrupted by any third party that does not find it necessary to pay attention to the conditions of the complex interdependence idea and use its sources to gain benefits.

In general, the comparison of dependency theory and complex interdependence helps to understand that the relations of states may be developed in a variety of ways. People are free to choose the methods and opportunities to achieve their goals and consider their future prospects. Both concepts have advantages and disadvantages, and the ability to define the strongest aspects of both may define the level of international relations’ success. Though these two theories are not used nowadays, their echoes are still observed in the ways societies prefer to develop their relations.

Works Cited

Isiksal, Huseyin. “To What Extend Complex Interdependence Theorists Challenge to Structural Realist School of International Relations?” Alternatives: Turkish Journal of International Relations, 3. 2&3 (2004): 130-156. Print.

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IvyPanda. "Dependency Theory and Complex Interdependence." June 20, 2020. https://ivypanda.com/essays/dependency-theory-and-complex-interdependence/.

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IvyPanda. 2020. "Dependency Theory and Complex Interdependence." June 20, 2020. https://ivypanda.com/essays/dependency-theory-and-complex-interdependence/.

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IvyPanda. (2020) 'Dependency Theory and Complex Interdependence'. 20 June.

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