published on The Chinese Journal of Global Governance 2 (2), 129-141
Cooperation among countries to deal with climate change and other global challenges seems almost impossible. However, recent research in the behavioral and evolutionary sciences suggests that people cooperate willingly and perhaps even naturally. Why the contradiction? In this paper we call for the need to think about international relations beyond the assumptions of rational choice and narrow self-interest. We suggest that seemingly intractable international challenges are not only the result of power struggles, but may also reflect the under-provisioning of the key enablers of cooperation – what we call the “cooperation hexagon”: reciprocity, trust, we-identity, enforcement,
communication, reputation and fairness.