Steven Weber

Steven Weber
Professor (I School and Dept. of Political Science)
Focus: International relations, international business, and the information economy.


Steven Weber is a specialist in international relations with expertise in international and national security; the impact of technology on national systems of innovation, defense, and deterrence; and the political economy of knowledge-intensive industries particularly software and pharmaceuticals.

Trained in history and international development at Washington University, and medicine and political science at Stanford, Weber joined the Berkeley faculty in 1989. In 1992 he served as special consultant to the president of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development in London. He has held academic fellowships with the Council on Foreign Relations and the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences. He is Senior Policy Advisor with the Glover Park Group in Washington DC and actively consults with government agencies, private multinational firms, and international non-governmental organizations on issues of foreign policy, risk analysis, strategy, and forecasting.

Weber’s major publications include The Success of Open Source, Cooperation and Discord in U.S.-Soviet Arms Control, and the edited book Globalization and the European Political Economy; and numerous articles and chapters in the areas of U.S. foreign policy, the political economy of trade and technology, politics of the post-Cold War world, and European integration.  With colleague and co-author Bruce Jentleson at Duke, Weber directs the "New Era Foreign Policy Project".  Weber and Jentleson's new book is The End of Arrogance:  America in the Global Competition of Ideas (2010)

What brought you to the I School?
I came to the I School because of my substantive interests in political economy of information-intensive production, but also because I am learning to build prototypes and experiments as a way to evaluate and test theory in the fast-evolving space that interests us.

What information issues interest you most?
I’ve had a long-standing interest in the open source software community that hasn’t ebbed; but these days, I’m particularly interested in the economic models that support the production and delivery of information services — a problem that some people think has been solved.  I strongly disagree, and I think it’s going to blow up in our collective faces at some point soon.   And we need to be ready to fix it.  

You've been on the Berkeley faculty (in the department of political science) since 1989; how have your academic interests evolved during that time?
My theoretical interests haven’t really changed that much.  I’ve always studied large scale systems of non-hierarchical cooperation, and I’ve tended to follow that puzzle into different substantive areas — from international regimes to open source software communities.  I suspect some version of that problem will keep me busy for another couple decades at least.

A Web site you recommend?  Make your own word clouds!  A very compelling and memorable way to make a point, when used correctly.

Something few people know about you?
I’d rather be on my road bike than just about anything else.  

What keeps you up at night? 
The ‘other side’ of the acute phase of the 2008–9 financial crisis.  We haven’t really begun to see the political-economic-social fallout from this series of events, and the sense of complacency has snuck back in.  The world is going to look very different in 2012, but most Americans (including much of the educated elite) is acting as if the crisis was just a blip on the screen and we’re back to trend.  We’re not, and that’s going to become evident over the next year on a number of different dimensions. 

How to Reach Me

Office: 203B South Hall
Telephone: (510) 643-3755