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Chapter

Cover US Foreign Policy

5. The economic rise of a superpower: from Washington to Trump  

Michael Cox

This chapter focuses on the American political economy from the colonial period to Donald Trump. In particular, it examines how the United States emerged from being a predominantly agricultural country to the wealthiest economic power in the world. The chapter first considers America’s economic rise before independence before discussing the role played by economic factors in sparking war between Great Britain and American colonists. It then looks at America’s dramatic economic growth between formal independence and World War I, as well as through the post-war period. It also analyses the American political economy under Bill Clinton and how his economic policies — and those of his successor George W. Bush — contributed to the great economic crash of 2008. It also explores the major economic reasons that accounted for Trump’s victory in the 2016 presidential election and concludes with an overview of how the American economy has been impacted by globalization.

Chapter

Cover Democracies and Authoritarian Regimes

10. Economic Drivers of Democracy  

This chapter addresses the relationship between economic factors and democracy. It begins with a discussion of modernization theory and highlights the disagreement about whether wealth causes democracy or simply makes it more likely to endure. Despite this dispute, most scholars agree that development is good for democracy. The chapter then examines the pathways through which economic development affects democracy, including via education levels, the middle class, organized labour, and values and beliefs. In addition to levels of development, research also shows that changes in economic growth influence democracy. Economic crises can be destabilizing, especially for young democracies. Finally, the chapter considers research on economic inequality and democracy, which is inconclusive in its findings about whether a relationship between the two exists. It also studies how clientelism constitutes significant barriers to democratic consolidation.

Chapter

Cover Poverty and Development

9. Population, Poverty, and Development  

Valeria Cetorelli and Alan Thomas

This chapter explores the relationship between population growth and poverty. There are differing views as to whether rapid population growth hinders economic growth and poverty reduction and whether there is a limit to the number of people the Earth can sustain. The 'revisionist' view is that on the contrary 'development is the best contraceptive' and it is poverty that keeps fertility high, while economic growth is not necessarily inhibited by rapid population growth. In this view, family planning is not an overriding priority but forms part of a rights-based agenda for providing access to reproductive health. The new consensus amongst analysts accepts that access to reproductive health, together with women's education and general improvements in health and living standards, remains the best route to lower fertility.

Chapter

Cover Politics in the Developing World

16. Development  

Tony Addison

This chapter examines development policy objectives and their explicit focus on poverty reduction. It first considers different definitions of development policy objectives before discussing the roles that the market mechanism and the state should play in allocating society’s productive resources. In particular, it looks at the economic role of the state as one of the central issues dividing opinion on development strategy and explains how rising inequality led to a backlash against economic liberalization. The chapter proceeds by exploring the relationship between economic growth and poverty reduction, along with the political difficulties that arise from economic reform. It also analyses the importance of transforming the structure of economies and the new global development landscape, including changes in development finance.

Chapter

Cover Origins and Evolution of the European Union

7. Under the Shadow of Stagflation  

European Integration in the 1970s

Richard T. Griffiths

This chapter examines European integration during the 1970s. The 1970s is often portrayed as a dismal decade in the history of European integration, when the European Community (EC) experienced severe turbulence as it digested Britain's accession and was buffeted by the global economic downturn. Stagflation and Eurosclerosis — sluggish economic growth combined with institutional immobility — ensued. At the same time, however, the Community developed in important ways. The European Court of Justice generated an impressive body of case law, and the EC coped with the challenges of enlargement, the break-up of the international monetary system, and the consequences of slower economic growth. The chapter rejects the notion that the 1970s was a dismal decade in the history of European integration and describes it as a transitional period between the launch of the Community in the 1960s and the acceleration of European integration in the 1980s.

Chapter

Cover Politics in the European Union

20. Economic and Monetary Union  

This chapter examines the various attempts to create the economic and monetary union (EMU), which first became an official objective of the European Community (EC) in 1969 but was achieved only thirty years later. The chapter first provides a historical background on efforts to create the EMU, including long-standing debates between France and West Germany on its design, before discussing the launch of the single currency, the euro, and its subsequent progress up to and including the eurozone crisis in the late 2000s. On the eurozone crisis, it considers both the short-term efforts at crisis management and the long-term reforms that were implemented in an attempt to prevent further crises. Finally, it considers some of the explanations for and critiques of EMU, including critiques of the responses to the eurozone crisis that have been offered by various academic commentators.

Chapter

Cover Contemporary Security Studies

2. Realism  

Charles L. Glaser

This chapter describes the basic features of realist theory, including its emphasis on the implications of international anarchy and the importance of power. The chapter then explores major divisions within the realist family, and their implications for states’ security policies and war. The most fundamental division is between structural realism—which focuses on the impact of the international system on states’ decisions—and motivational realism—which focuses on the impact of variation in states’ motives. Also important is the ongoing debate within structural realism—between Kenneth Waltz’s structural realism, offensive realism, and defensive realism. The first two of these find that international structure generates a strong tendency towards competitive policies, while defensive realism finds that cooperation is, under some conditions, a state’s best strategy for achieving security. The chapter illustrates how these different arguments result in divergent predictions for how China’s continuing economic growth is likely to influence international security.

Chapter

Cover The Politics of the Earth

3. Growth Unlimited  

The Promethean Response

This chapter covers a response to the discourse of limits which stresses the unlimited capacity of ingenious humans to overcome ecological limits, especially when they are organized in capitalist markets. For Prometheans, long term trends show environmental improvement and declining resource scarcity, such that economic growth can therefore go on forever. This Promethean discourse has often been advanced by market economists, and has often been highly influential in government, especially in the United States. More recently a Promethean environmentalism looks forward to a ‘good Anthropocene’ in which government too plays a role in bringing natural systems under benign human control, so that technologies such as geoengineering can be used effectively against problems such as climate change. In the background of Promethean argument is an older cornucopian discourse that stresses natural abundance of resources and the capacity of ecosystems to absorb pollutants. Ecologists and Earth systems scientists are not convinced and remain critical of Promethean discourse.

Chapter

Cover Issues in Political Theory

6. Equality and social justice  

Jonathan Wolff

This chapter addresses equality and social justice. In the 1980s and 1990s, the goal of social justice was challenged both on political and philosophical grounds and was largely supplanted by an emphasis on economic growth and individual responsibility. Although still given little emphasis in the United States, considerations of social justice came back onto the political agenda in the United Kingdom following the election of the new Labour government in 1997. To rehabilitate social justice, it was necessary to decouple it from traditional socialist ideas of common ownership of the means of production. Key debates on social justice concern theories of equality, priority, and sufficiency, and how inequality should be defined and measured. Of particular concern has been the place of personal responsibility for disadvantages causing inequalities. The chapter then considers equality of opportunity and social relations.

Chapter

Cover Democracies and Authoritarian Regimes

5. The Consequences of Democracy and Authoritarian Regimes  

This chapter reviews the latest research showing how regime type affects a host of outcomes of interest. It explains why democratic decline matters, examining the effects of democracy on a state's conflict propensity, levels of terrorism, economic growth, human development, corruption, and human rights. The chapter then highlights two key takeaways from the research on the consequences of regime type. First, hybrid regimes, or those countries that sit in the middle of the autocracy–democracy spectrum, perform less well than either their fully democratic or fully authoritarian counterparts in a number of areas. Second, research suggests that democracies outperform dictatorship on almost every indicator examined. Ultimately, the academic record demonstrates that even after one sets democracy's intrinsic value aside, government is better when it is more democratic. Although democratic decision-making can be slower, this process is more likely to weigh risks, thereby avoiding volatile and ruinous policies.

Chapter

Cover Global Political Economy

14. The Political Economy of the Environment  

Peter Dauvergne

This chapter assesses the global political economy of the environment. The growth of the world economy is transforming the Earth's environment. Nothing is particularly controversial about this statement. Yet, sharp disagreements arise over the nature of this transformation. Is the globalization of capitalism a force of progress and environmental solutions? Or is it a cause of the current global environmental crisis? The chapter addresses these questions by examining the debates around some of the most contentious issues at the core of economic globalization and the environment: economic growth, production, and consumption; trade; and transnational investment. It begins with a glance at the general arguments about how the global political economy affects the global environment. The chapter then traces the history of global environmentalism — in particular, the emergence of international environmental institutions with the norm of sustainable development. It also evaluates the effectiveness of North–South environmental financing and international environmental regimes.

Chapter

Cover Politics in the Developing World

6. Inequality  

Jenny Pearce

This chapter examines the key conceptual debates on inequality that were common until the end of World War II and the birth of the field of ‘development’. Two inequality-related questions have dominated development debates for decades. Firstly, does growth inevitably lead to inequality? And if so, does it matter, as long as poverty declines? The debates around these questions began in the 1950s with Simon Kuznets’ introduction of the ‘inverted-U hypothesis’, which posited that relative inequality increases, but only temporarily, in the early stages of economic growth, improving once countries reach middle-income levels. The chapter considers the politics and economics of inequality in the developing world as well as inequalities in the age of globalization. It concludes with an assessment of the World Bank’s incorporation of the goal of ‘shared prosperity’ in its discourse alongside its ongoing concern to reduce poverty.

Chapter

Cover Global Environmental Politics

2. Ideas about environmental protection  

This chapter explores the ideas and debates which shape global environmental politics. At least three types of socially constructed ideas play a key role in international environmental governance: world views, causal beliefs, and social norms. However, ideas are not universally shared, which means that ideological clashes are a feature of global environmental governance. The chapter looks at five of the major ideological debates that have marked the evolution of global environmental governance. The first two debates present conflicting world views: the first concerns the scope of environmental values, while the second examines the intrinsic values of non-human organisms. The following two debates concern causal beliefs: one is about the relationship between human intervention and environmental protection, while the other concerns the relationship between economic growth and environmental degradation. The last debate considers different social norms related to environmental justice and the appropriate behaviours expected towards historically marginalized populations.