EASSC Publications


Strategic Interaction in an Era of Complex and Deep Interdependence

Date of this Version


Document Type

Conference Paper


The global system can be understood in terms of complex and deep interdependence created by rising levels of tightly coupled, complementary and functionally differentiated interdependencies among nations and firms. This leads to strengthening effects from the "shadow of an adaptive future," as well as rising systemic turbulence, with each effect requiring greater cooperative management by states and firms. What is the structure of strategic interaction in such an environment?

We treat this issue in terms of game theory, framed around two forms of defection: 1) systemic defection, or rejection of the system of global economic and strategic cooperation and withdrawal into autarky; 2) partial defection, or defecting from some of the common norms that organize the global economy, thereby reaping special gains, while still retaining most of the gains from cooperation. Strategic interaction in a world of complex and deep interdependence involves engaging in partial defection without slipping into systemic defection. This framework is applied to Chinese maritime conflict with its neighbors and Russian annexation of Crimea.

Journal, Book or Conference Title

East Asia Security Symposium and Conference 东亚安全座谈谈论会

Publication Details

Author Information: Dr. Thomas Lairson is the Gelbman Professor of International Business and Professor of Political Science and teaches Asian political economy and business. He was a Ford Foundation Professor of International Relations at the Institute for International Relations in Vietnam, has taught at Wuhan University, East China University of Science and Technology, and has lectured at Fudan University, Jindal Global University, Shanghai Institute of Foreign Trade and Jiao Tong University, and was a Fulbright Fellow at the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies at Nanyang Technological University in Singapore. Dr. Lairson frequently teaches at the Rollins Center in Shanghai. His publications focus on international political economy, the global financial crisis, the Chinese economy, state capitalism and Vietnam’s economy. He leads student field studies in Asia. tlairson@rollins.edu http://www.rollins.edu/political-science/faculty-staff-listing/index.html

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