Thursday, May 08, 2003

Nuclear Power & The Pursuit Of Prestige
Abstract: Prestige is defined as a group’s sharing a certain second-level belief: each member believes that the rest believe that a party has a certain desirable quality. Their beliefs must also give the party influence in the group. It is important even within a strategic approach to international relations since states may use it to judge quality or they may bandwagon, choosing who to support depending on what they expect others to do.

A survey of the word in historical books and articles supports the definition and identifies typical sources of prestige. The definition explains why building nuclear weapons is an especially effective vehicle for prestige, and shows what can be done to link it to societal development instead of armaments. A game model of prestige-seeking has one obvious equilibrium where nuclear weapons enhance one’s prestige for technical prowess, and another surprising one where that can lower prestige. The world community can take certain actions to promote the safer regime.

Please read for your edification. I am, and will comment further when I am through.