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Introduction to International RelationsTheories and Approaches

Introduction to International Relations: Theories and Approaches (7th edn)

Robert Jackson, Georg Sørensen, and Jørgen Møller
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date: 04 December 2023

p. 1776. International Political Economy: Classical Theorieslocked

p. 1776. International Political Economy: Classical Theorieslocked

  • Robert Jackson, Robert JacksonUniversity of Boston
  • Georg SørensenGeorg SørensenUniversity of Aarhus
  •  and Jørgen MøllerJørgen MøllerUniversity of Aarhus


This chapter examines the three most important classical theories within the field of International Political Economy (IPE): mercantilism, economic liberalism, and neo-Marxism. It considers the relationship between politics and economics, and between states and markets in world affairs, that IR has to be able to grasp. It suggests that IPE is about wealth, poverty, and power, about who gets what in the international economic and political system. The outlook of mercantilism has much in common with realism, while economic liberalism is an addition to liberalism. Mercantilism and economic liberalism thus represent views on IPE that are basically realist and liberal. The chapter concludes with a discussion about the original theoretical position of Marxism.

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