This chapter assesses feminist international political economy (IPE) insights about care. It begins by discussing military spouses and the vital everyday role that their care labour plays in sustaining the military as an institution. The chapter then looks at three interrelated debates that show the importance of care in everyday IPE: feminist work on social reproduction; the extent to which care can be commodified; and the heteronormative assumptions that underpin understandings of care. It also examines three crucial areas of feminist work on care that have informed IPE scholarship. These are the ‘care crisis’, how this crisis is experienced in everyday life as a form of depletion, and the transnationalization of commodified care labour in global care chains. Finally, the chapter reflects on how care can be measured through time use surveys and how policymakers have responded to the concerns raised by feminists about the significance of unpaid caring labour.
This chapter addresses the concept of the global city in international political economy (IPE), relating it to changes in the international financial system. It begins by looking at mega-events like the Olympic Games. The chapter shows how these are used in place branding strategies adopted by host cities, how they drive urban transformation through infrastructural investment, and how they have been politicized to challenge social injustice. It then considers the broader questions of what the concept of the global city reveals about the process of globalization; how urban development takes place, and the role of the state in managing this; and how the right to the city is being used to articulate and link up struggles against urbanized inequality. Finally, the chapter studies urban development, highlighting the racialized processes of gentrification and ableist environments.
This chapter discusses the topic of clothing in everyday international political economy (IPE). It begins by looking at how the garment industry and workers in that industry have been impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic, focusing in particular on the vulnerabilities faced by women workers in Leicester. This analysis introduces the concepts of fast fashion and commodity fetishism, and demonstrates how the globalization of garment production relates to the feminization of low-wage labour. The chapter then considers the broader politics of international trade that have shaped where in the world the production and disposal of clothing has been located. It also reviews efforts to reform the garment industry, including corporate social responsibility initiatives and the use of podcasting to highlight the under-researched topic of clothing disposal.
This concluding chapter summarizes the key aspects of international political economy (IPE). IPE can be described as the study of global systems of production, exchange, and distribution, with a view to understanding what these mean for the basic values of wealth, security, freedom, and justice. This book connects this academic field and its animating questions to everyday life. Alongside states and markets, it looks at households as important sites of power. Alongside production, exchange, and distribution, it also considers the contested economic sphere of consumption. Using the I-PEEL approach, the book takes everyday objects and economic practices as both entry points into IPE and things to be studied in themselves. The chapter then demonstrates the process of creating I-PEEL tiles, highlighting the merits of the I-PEEL approach in studying global capitalism.
3. Cooperation and Conflict in the Global Political Economy
This chapter discusses the problems of collaboration and coordination in the global political economy. It first identifies situations that might require states to work with each other to achieve a desired outcome. It then turns to a focus on basic game theory as an analytical tool to tackle the nature of collaboration and coordination efforts. International cooperation can help to address three typical problems associated with the process of global economic integration: a temptation to free ride, an inhibiting fear, and a need to find meeting points in situations where collaboration will produce differing costs and benefits to governments. Different types of problems associated with the process of global integration call for different solutions to address these three typical problems, ranging from the provision of binding rules to facilitating mechanisms. A country's need for international cooperation depends on its sociopolitical structure as well as on the structure and flexibility of its economy. Finally, the chapter considers how institutions might play a role in enhancing the prospects for cooperative behaviour.
This chapter focuses on the key themes of money and finance in international political economy (IPE) analysis. It describes the concepts of commodification, assetization, and financialization, and how they apply to the case of student debt. In many countries, borrowing money to pay for tuition fees and living costs is an expected part of going to university. Thinking about the emergence of personal indebtedness in the higher education system helps to foreground the international political economy of debt. The chapter then turns to other kinds of debt, including sovereign debt and household debt, and considers the reasons why people go into debt and why debts are repaid (or not). Using Islamic finance as a case study, it looks at alternatives to debt, such as non-conditional grants and risk-sharing contracts. Finally, the chapter reflects on the moral and power dynamics that underpin interest-bearing loans, as well as demands for debt cancellation.
4. The Domestic Sources of Foreign Economic Policies
This chapter examines the domestic sources of foreign economic policies. Different people in every society typically have different views about what their government should do when it comes to setting the policies that regulate international trade, immigration, investment, and exchange rates. These competing demands must be reconciled in some way by the political institutions that govern policy making. To really understand the domestic origins of foreign economic policies, we need to perform two critical tasks: identify or map the policy preferences of different groups in the domestic economy; and specify how political institutions determine the way these preferences are aggregated or converted into actual government decisions. The first task requires some economic analysis, while the second requires some political analysis. These two analytical steps put together like this, combining both economic and political analysis in tandem, are generally referred to as the political economy approach to the study of policy outcomes. The chapter then considers the impact of domestic politics on bargaining over economic issues between governments at the international level.
This chapter details the history, politics, and recent trends and challenges of the multilateral trade system. The twentieth century witnessed a remarkable emergence of international institutions, and nowhere was their impact greater than in international trade. Following decades of depression and war, a global trading regime was initiated with the creation of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) in 1947, which expanded steadily in both scope and membership through the twentieth century and culminated in the establishment of the World Trade Organization (WTO) in 1995. Underpinned by the philosophy that open markets and non-discriminatory trade policies promote the prosperity of all countries, and issued with a powerful dispute settlement mechanism, the WTO has been hailed as the most prominent example of cooperation between countries. At the same time, however, the WTO has been subject to internal and external criticism and now faces a number of difficulties.
8. The Evolution of the International Monetary and Financial System
This chapter explores the international monetary and financial system, which plays a central role in the global political economy (GPE). Since the late nineteenth century, the nature of this system has undergone several pivotal transformations in response to changing political and economic conditions at both domestic and international levels. The first was the collapse of the integrated pre-1914 international monetary and financial regime during the interwar years. The second transformation took place after the Second World War, when the Bretton Woods order was put in place. Since the early 1970s, various features of the Bretton Woods order have unravelled with the globalization of finance, the collapse of the gold exchange standard, and the breakdown of the adjustable peg exchange rate regime. These changes have important political consequences for the key issue of who gets what, when, and how in the GPE.
9. Financial Openness and the Challenge of Global Governance
This chapter studies the globalization of finance. The world economy today reflects a systemic experiment involving, on the one hand, the unleashing of cross-border capital movements and, on the other, the dispersion of the political authority necessary to oversee and, when necessary, stabilize the markets through which vast amounts of capital now flow. Resulting tensions become most obvious during financial crises, when those flows suddenly stop or reverse their direction. In the late twentieth century, most such crises began in emerging-market or developing countries and had limited systemic consequences. In 2008, however, the global experiment capital market openness, now far along in its evolution, almost failed catastrophically when policy mistakes in the United States combined with large national payments' imbalances and a broad economic downturn to spawn a worldwide emergency. Shortly thereafter, Europeans at the core of the system narrowly escaped a similar disaster at the regional level. The chapter then explores key implications for contemporary global governance. It calls particular attention to the increasingly difficult and variegated politics of systemic risk assessment, emergency management, and future crisis prevention as the experiment continues.
This chapter examines the topic of food in everyday international political economy (IPE). It primarily focuses on the international trade of agricultural commodities and its developmental implications within the Global South. It explains the concepts of governmentality and the global value chain. The chapter begins by looking at corporate brands behind the globalization of chocolate, the associated transformation of dietary patterns, and the attempts to manage the exploitation that persists in the cocoa industry. It shows how these trends can be drawn together conceptually with reference to neoliberalism, a key term in IPE and in food studies generally. The chapter then analyses the meaning of food security, looks at how diets are governed, and looks at where value is distributed in the agri-food sector. It also considers how autoethnography and foodscaping can be used to reflect theoretically on daily diet and the moral economy of veganism.
12. Global Growth, Inequality, and Poverty:
Power and Evidence in Global ‘Best Practice’ Economic Policy
This chapter argues that economists have oversold the virtues of globalization, displaying confidence in derived policy prescriptions well beyond the evidence. The most spectacular recent demonstration of hubris is the failure of almost the whole of the mainstream economics profession in the few years before 2007–8 to forecast a major recession. The chapter then outlines the neo-liberal world view and its application in the form of the development recipe known as the Washington Consensus. Since the 1980s, the Western economic policy ‘establishment’ has espoused a doctrine of ‘best economic policy’ for the world which says, put too simply, that ‘more market and less state’ should be the direction of travel for developed and developing countries. This overarching neo-liberal ideology embraces globalization as a major component, relating to the nature of integration into the international economy. The chapter then looks at trends in world income distribution and poverty, bearing in mind the optimistic claims of the globalization argument.
Global Political Economy presents a diverse and comprehensive selection of theories and issues. Debates are presented through a critical lens to encourage readers to unpack claims, form independent views, and challenge assumptions. This text has been updated with contemporary real word examples, including the impact of the Trump administration, Brexit, and economic nationalism. Furthermore, new analysis has been added on the international political economy of work, labour, and energy.
This chapter addresses the globalization of production. Although companies have been investing abroad for centuries, the most recent era of globalization has created an unprecedented range of possibilities for global firms to reorganize and relocate their activities. The chapter analyses how advances in transportation and technology allow a firm to divide up a global value chain — the sequence of activities that lead to the production of a particular good or service — and how these decisions create new opportunities and challenges for both companies and the societies within which they operate. It first reviews the rise of global production and the forces that have led to dramatic increases in foreign direct investment (FDI) and outsourcing. The central questions for any firm involved in global production involves how to govern the value chain and where to locate different activities. The chapter then provides a framework for understanding these issues and the implications of the various choices. It also applies these concepts to the case of East Asia, particularly China.
This chapter discusses globalization's impact on states. There is no topic more controversial in the field of global political economy than the impact of globalization on the accountability, autonomy, capacity, and sovereignty of the nation state; and the controversy has only intensified since the onset of the global financial crisis. Arguably, the democratic character of governance in contemporary societies is at stake in such debates. The chapter reviews the extensive controversy that surrounds such questions, focusing attention on the principal mechanisms in and through which globalization is seen to impact upon the nation state and the empirical evidence that might either substantiate or question the existence of such mechanisms. It also provides a detailed assessment of the case for and against the globalization thesis, examining the extent to which global economic integration might be seen to restrict the parameters of domestic political autonomy. Moreover, the chapter differentiates between the politics of globalization and the globalization of politics. It concludes by considering the complex and sometimes paradoxical relationship between globalization, democracy, and the nation state.
This chapter discusses the ambiguous subject of humour in the everyday politics of globalization. It begins by drawing out three related concepts of resistance, carnival, and subversion to reflect on how joking and pranks can critique, but also reproduce, the inequalities and exclusions of market life. The chapter then analyses the ethical, social, and political functions of comedy. Satirical resistance has contributed to seemingly laudable interventions in the sphere of international development, like the Comic Relief fundraiser and the Make Poverty History campaign. Humour therefore seems to carry a productive association with issues of global justice and responsibility. Yet postcolonial scholars, and comedians themselves, have questioned the privileged agency of the white, male, Western comedian typically at the centre of such interventions. Moreover, the widespread circulation of humour and irreverence within the public sphere might even create an opportunity for the ‘weaponization’ of irony by populists and authoritarian states.
James Brassett, Juanita Elias, Lena Rethel, and Ben Richardson
Published in print:
01 December 2022
I-PEEL: The International Political Economy of Everyday Life locates the study of international political economy (IPE) in the context of everyday life. It provides a fresh introduction to IPE, and highlights the relevance and prominence of IPE in the real world. In addition, the text establishes the conceptual and theoretical techniques required to engage with the IPE discipline and how those can help us understand the complexity of everyday power relations. Also, it prompts ethical self-reflection by asking if everyday economic relations are ‘right’ or ‘good’. The text starts off with an introduction to the topic. The first main chapter considers clothes. The next few chapters cover food, debt, and care. After that comes a chapter that looks at the concept of the ‘city’, followed by social media. The last two chapters present the idea of ‘share’ and humour. They are followed by a Conclusion.
This chapter introduces the rationale for everyday international political economy (IPE). IPE is primarily concerned with the interrelationship of wealth and power across state borders. Whether through the sites of routine behaviour, the role of popular culture, or the stuff of mass consumption, everyday IPE has sought to show that the economy is continually remade in, and through, our daily lives. The chapter then identifies the lineages of everyday IPE which draw from the influences of theoretical traditions such as liberal, economic nationalist, Marxist, feminist, black, and post-structural theories. It also describes the I-PEEL approach and its implications for learning about and doing IPE. The I-PEEL approach looks at interrelated daily life experiences and explores how social relations of class, gender, race, nationality, and others sustain and subvert global inequalities.
This chapter provides a systematic account of the causes of economic globalization. Within the global political economy (GPE) literature, economic globalization tends to be more precisely specified as ‘the emergence and operation of a single, worldwide economy’. This assists its measurement by reference to the intensity, extensity, and velocity of worldwide economic flows and interconnectedness, from trade, through production and finance, migration to information and data. Understood as a historical process, the concept of economic globalization also infers an evolving transformation or evolution in the organization and operation of the world economy. The chapter then reviews the principal theories of economic globalization, drawing upon the GPE literature. It develops a multi-theoretic account of economic globalization which captures its structural, conjunctural, and contingent causal factors. The chapter also demonstrates how this multi-theoretic framework is relevant to understanding the current crisis of economic globalization. It considers whether, in the aftermath of the Global Financial Crisis, this crisis is the precursor to a period of accelerating deglobalization.
2. The Nineteenth-Century Roots of Theoretical Traditions in Global Political Economy
This chapter focuses on the historical origins and the subsequent intellectual lineage of the three core theoretical positions within contemporary global political economy (GPE): realism, liberalism, and Marxism. ‘Textbook GPE’ privileges nineteenth-century understandings of political economy when discussing the pre-history of its own field. This helps explains GPE's treatment of feminist scholarship within the textbooks; feminism remains largely marginalized from textbook GPE, presented as something of a postscript to avoid accusations of it having been omitted altogether rather than being placed centre stage in the discussion. The chapter then looks at how the nineteenth-century overlay operates in textbook GPE. To do so, it makes sense to concentrate in the first instance on the issue that did most to divide nineteenth-century economists: namely, the free trade policies resulting from the general ascendancy of laissez-faire ideology. The most celebrated of the critics, Friedrich List, is treated much more as a dependable authority figure in GPE than he is in the history of economic thought. Indeed, in textbook GPE, the disputes between realist and liberal positions is very often presented initially through an account of List's work, despite the pre-history of liberalism being much the longer of the two.