Robert Gilpin Global Political Economy

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Robert Gilpin Global Political Economy Powered By Docstoc
					     Theories and Issues in
International Political Economy
      Leonard Seabrooke
                         CONCEPTUAL BASICS

What is Political Economy?

• Political economy is about the relationship between politics and
  economics. It is all about power and money.

• Whether they are looking at domestic systems or international systems,
  power and money are under analysis.

• International Political Economy is all about how political and economic
  dynamics change within an international and transnational arena.

• The line between what is comparative and what is international is
  commonly blurred and depends on your theoretical position

                 What is Political Economy?

• Let’s separate out some disciplines -

• Accountants manage the accountability of units within an economic
  system, as well as alternative ways of accounting.

• Economists reflect upon the efficiency and efficacy of economic systems
  and their alternatives.

• Political Economists reflect upon how the distribution of power within an
  economic system is, and can be, justified in different contexts.

           What is Political Economy?

• Ruskin argued that to exclude moral problems from political and
  economic analysis is akin to ‘being interested in ‘a science of
  gymnastics which assumed that men had no skeletons’.

• Or: the ‘essence of wealth consists in its authority over men’.

• Political economists must seek to learn more than how states become
  wealthy, but understand systems of domination.

   Approaches to Explaining and Understanding all of this…

• Economic Nationalism

• Economic Nationalist or Mercantilist theories see the state as the key

• The state is more important than the market

• International anarchy, markets are zero-sum. Might is right.

• Protection of national wealth (and culture) by barriers to foreign
  penetration. Trade is a strategic tool to enhance a state’s power in the
  world economy

Approaches to Explaining and Understanding all of this…

   Robert Gilpin

   ‘As the mercantilist theorist of
   American economic development,
   Alexander Hamilton, wrote: "not
   only the wealth but the
   independence and security of a
   country appear to be materially
   connected to the prosperity of
   manufactures" (Gilpin, 1987: 33)’

   Approaches to Explaining and Understanding all of this…

• Liberalism

• Liberal theories see the individual and self-interest as the starting point of

• Markets are more important than states. TNCs can bring advantages

• International cooperation, markets are positive-sum. Rights are right.

• Furthering global economic integration is an aim, with increased peace the
  consequence. International regimes can hold together order.

Approaches to Explaining and Understanding all of this…

  Robert Keohane

  “Fragmentation of power between
  competing countries leads to
  fragmentation of the international
  economic regime; concentration
  of power leads to stability.
  Hegemonic powers have the
  capabilities to maintain
  international regimes that they
  favor” (Keohane 1991: 78).

   Approaches to Explaining and Understanding all of this…

• Critical Perspectives

• Marxist crtiical theories see class conflict as the starting point of analysis

• Class is more important than states and markets. TNCs exploit the working
  classes, as do the transnational capitalist class

• International relations are typified by exploitation between the owners of
  the means of production and the workers who are exploited.

• Capitalism leads to uneven development and reinforces international
  dependencies between the core and the periphery.

     Approaches to Explaining and Understanding all of this…

Stephen Gill

“the power of capital is both direct (e.g. capital’s superior
bargaining power over labour, or relative to states which bid for
investment against one another) and indirect (e.g. discipline
exercised on firms, their workers, or on governments in the
financial, e.g. stock and bond markets). Thus the state is also
subjected to market disciplines. Indeed, public policy has been
redefined in such a way that governments seek to prove their
credibility, and of the consistency of their policies according to the
degree to which they inspire the confidence of investors. In this
way, new political and constitutional initiatives in the sphere of
money and finance are linked to the imposition of macro-
economic and microeconomic discipline in ways that are intended
to underpin the power of capital in the state and civil society”
(Gill, 2000: 2).

                        Key figures in the field

Susan Strange

“Even at their most extensive, the ‘directional’ or ‘azimuthal’ agendas that
exist are still far too restrictive and so do not really qualify as the study of
politcal economy. The literature on the politics of international economic
relations reflects the concerns of governments, not people. It tends
always overweight the interests of the most powerful governments.
Scholars who accept this definition of the subject thus become the
servants of state bureaucracies, not independent thinkers or critics”
(1988: 13).

                       Key figures in the field

Robert Keohane

‘Two features of the international context are particularly important:
world politics lacks authoritative governmental institutions, and is
characterised by pervasive uncertainty. Within this setting, a major
function of international regimes is to facilitate the making of mutually
beneficial agreements among governments, so that the structural
conditions of anarchy does not lead to a complete “war of all against all”’
(1991: 106).

                      Key figures in the field

Robert W. Cox

“the purpose served by problem-solving theory is conservative, since its
aim is to solve the problems arising in various parts of a complex whole in
order to smooth the functioning of the whole. The aim rather belies the
claim of problem-solving theory to be value-free… Critical theory contains
problem-solving theories within itself, but contains them in the form of
identifiable ideologies, thereby pointing to their conservative
consequences, not their usefulness as guides to action” (1986: 207).

                        Key figures in the field

Other approaches

   – Rational Choice - self-interested individual choices over iterated

   – Institutionalism - institutional environments for politics

   – Constructivism - role of ideas and social norms in creation of

Course Objectives:

• To examine the changing environment for businesses
  within the international political economy.
• To engage critically with the key approaches of
  International Political Economy in explaining
  multinational and other business activities and
  debating their role and influence in the international
• To develop a critical understanding of the emerging
  international business agenda
Term 1:

Week 1 Introduction: what is IPE?

Week 2 Historical Processes 1: The World Economy before World War One

Week 3 Historical Processes 2: From Inter-War Crisis to Bretton Woods

Week 4 Historical Processes 3: The Collapse of Bretton Woods, and the
  Emergence of a Global Economy

Week 5 Introduction to Theorising IPE: British and American Schools

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