Rules for the World: International Organizations in Global Politics

Front Cover
Cornell University Press, 2004 - Law - 226 pages
0 Reviews

Rules for the World provides an innovative perspective on the behavior of international organizations and their effects on global politics. Arguing against the conventional wisdom that these bodies are little more than instruments of states, Michael Barnett and Martha Finnemore begin with the fundamental insight that international organizations are bureaucracies that have authority to make rules and so exercise power. At the same time, Barnett and Finnemore maintain, such bureaucracies can become obsessed with their own rules, producing unresponsive, inefficient, and self-defeating outcomes. Authority thus gives international organizations autonomy and allows them to evolve and expand in ways unintended by their creators.

Barnett and Finnemore reinterpret three areas of activity that have prompted extensive policy debate: the use of expertise by the IMF to expand its intrusion into national economies; the redefinition of the category "refugees" and decision to repatriate by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees; and the UN Secretariat's failure to recommend an intervention during the first weeks of the Rwandan genocide. By providing theoretical foundations for treating these organizations as autonomous actors in their own right, Rules for the World contributes greatly to our understanding of global politics and global governance.


What people are saying - Write a review

We haven't found any reviews in the usual places.


Bureaucratizing World Politics
International Organizations as Bureaucracies
Expertise and Power at the International Monetary Fund
Defining Refugees and Voluntary Repatriation at
Genocide and the Peacekeeping Culture at the United Nations
The Legitimacy of an Expanding Global Bureaucracy
List of Abbreviations

Other editions - View all

Common terms and phrases

References to this book

All Book Search results »

About the author (2004)

Martha Finnemore is University Professor of Political Science and International Affairs at The George Washington University.

Bibliographic information