Neorealism and neoliberal theories Essay

  1. Neorealism and neoliberal theories

Theories of neoliberalism and neorealism have attracted unending debate in the field of International Relations (IR). As a result, there has been a contention between the scholars of International Relations in different nations, especially in the United States. Besides, the evolving debate has made the general assumptions of neoliberalism and neorealism theories to become more obvious. Most people believe that neorealism and neoliberal are remarkably similar theories. However, there exist several factors that define the differences between the two theories of institutionalism. The debate has significantly exposed the comparable paradigm positions of neoliberalism and neorealism theories, resulting in a ‘neo-neo synthesis.’ However, there are specific issues that cause disagreement over the debate. The issues of disparity include the priority of state goals, regimes, and institutions, capabilities versus intentions, absolute versus relative gains, international cooperation and the nature versus impacts of anarchy. Neoliberalism and neorealism can be compared and contrasted as significant theories of institutionalism.

Neorealism is focused on international cooperation while neoliberalism is concerned with the overall benefits of a state. Realists advocate for international cooperation as a fundamental aspect of the strength of a state. However, neoliberals are focused on how a state would benefit from international relations.  In other terms, neoliberals narrow their arguments to address the basic needs of a state, unlike with the neorealist who are tied to the systems of international relations. Indeed, neorealists believe that it is paramount for all states to attach themselves to the international system (Jackson, Sørensen & Møller, 2019). They argue that international cooperation ushers state to work towards helping others, rather than for selfish gains. According to neorealism, international cooperation promotes mutual gains as a key to security for all states. Under this theory, world politics are well understood about the balance of power. On the other hand, neoliberalists argue that states pursue their interests.

Despite having many differences, there are some points of similarity connecting neorealism to neoliberalism. Both are views of the same approach to the international system. Both neorealists and neoliberals argue that the behaviors of the states are shaped by international anarchy. They hold a similar argument that the actions of the state are guided by the rational choice model. Besides, they assume that states act rationally as the main actors in the international system (Jackson, Sørensen & Møller, 2019). Both study the world using similar analogous methods, thus sharing both ontology and epistemology. Significantly, neoliberals and neorealists have a common belief that the acquisition of knowledge depends on the liberal concept of politics and power. Both neoliberalism and neorealism are state-centric structural theories. They share similar premises of analysis from the state actors. This explains why both theories strive to explain the behaviors of states concerning the structure of the international system.


  1. Stages of the Rational Model

The rational model of decision making is the most effective tool for solving various issues faced in daily life. Unlike with the intuitive model, a rational method not only provides reliable solutions to the problems but also leaves the decision-maker satisfied. The rational model is based on a rational approach to decision-making to ensure effective solutions to problems. The model is developed in several significant stages. The first and key step to making a rational decision is the identification and definition of the problem. This enables the decision-maker to understand and strategize on effective ways of handling the issue. The second step is the identification of the criteria for decision making. Under this step, the decision-maker analyzes to identify the most reliable criteria for addressing the problem (Gough & Boaz, 2017). The third step is the weighing of the identified decision criteria. In the fourth step, the decision-maker generates a list of alternatives. In the fifth step, they evaluate the alternatives. Lastly, the decision-maker evaluates and concludes on the most reliable decision to make towards solving the problem.

To make an effective decision that aids in the attainment of set goals, one should adhere to the key steps of the rational decision-making model. To identify the underlying problem, one must understand the cause of the problem. Besides, they should define the gap between the current and desired state. It is also important for the decision-makers to outline the possible options for the decision.  All the criteria for making the decision are outlined to guide the decision-maker. The alternatives are weighed using relative comparison or an absolute comparison (Gough & Boaz, 2017). From the list of alternatives, a final decision is made. A rational decision-making model gives rise to a reliable solution. A rational decision is not biased but made in consideration of various factors. The model gives rise to a significant solution to the underlying problem. Besides providing a solution to the underlying problem, a rational model provides reliable ideas for preventing the reoccurrence of the problem. The list of alternatives forgone during the decision-making process is used for addressing the reoccurrence of the problem in the future. A rational decision-maker is a great leader in society. Indeed, the rational model is a fundamental technique of making effective decisions and solving problems.


Jackson, R., Sørensen, G., & Møller, J. (2019). Introduction to international relations: theories and approaches. Oxford University Press, USA.

Gough, D., & Boaz, A. (2017). Applying the rational model of evidence-informed policy and practice in the real world. Evidence & Policy13(1), 3.



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