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.
5. The economic rise of a superpower: from Washington to Trump
This introductory chapter provides an overview of the ‘what, where, and who’ of Global Political Economy (GPE). GPE is a contemporary field of study which first took shape in the 1960s and 1970s under the label ‘International Political Economy’ (IPE). At its core, GPE is the study of the forms of power—economic, political, material, and social—which shape how the world operates. Despite their names, IPE and GPE have both been criticized for their lack of a ‘global’ viewpoint. This book aims to make a real contribution to the project of GPE as a genuinely ‘global’ field of study. GPE is—and needs to be—a genuinely interdisciplinary field, reflecting the best of the spirit of political economy. The chapter then highlights the value of diversity in the academic field of GPE. It explores how this book is organized and what it offers as a resource.
3. The US rise to world power, 1776–1945
This chapter examines how the United States evolved as a world power during the period 1776–1945. It first considers how Americans set out after the War of Independence to establish a continental empire. Thomas Jefferson called this an ‘empire for liberty’, but by the early nineteenth century the United States had become part of an empire containing human slavery. Abraham Lincoln determined to stop the territorial expansion of this slavery and thus helped bring about the Civil War. The reunification of the country after the Civil War, and the industrial revolution which followed, turned the United States into the world’s leading economic power by the early twentieth century. The chapter also discusses Woodrow Wilson’s empire of ideology and concludes with an analysis of U.S. economic depression and the onset of the Cold War.
15. State power and geopolitics
This chapter covers three dimensions in answering questions about the role of state power and geopolitics in the Global Political Economy (GPE). The first answer focuses on how changes in the global economy affect the nature and the effectiveness of the economic instruments available to governments as they pursue their foreign policy goals. The second cluster of answers focuses on the ways in which politics and economics are bound together in the construction and evolution of economic institutions and economic orders. The third cluster of answers accepts the need to think in terms of power operating within economic orders but this time with the causal arrow flowing from politics into the economy. Ultimately, the dynamics of the international political system are what drive the foreign economic policies of governments, shape the states and societies making up the global system, and help explain the character and operation of the global economy.
18. Chinese Grand Strategy
Oriana Skylar Mastro
This chapter considers how China’s grand strategy has evolved over time from strategies of survival under Mao Zedong and Deng Xiaoping to regaining its standing as a major power under Jiang Zemin, Hu Jintao, and now Xi Jinping. It looks at the way Xi’s China has been particularly proactive about building Chinese economic, military, and political power and the way he has leveraged this power to make China a global power and a dominant power in Asia. In addition to external threats and opportunities, it considers how domestic factors have also shaped the contours of Chinese grand strategy. The chapter then analyses how debates about Chinese intentions, in particular towards international institutions and military expansion, colour perspectives on the potential impact of Chinese grand strategy. The main focus is on the evolution of Chinese grand strategy, its drivers, and its implications.
11. The European Union and the Global Political Economy
This chapter examines the position of the European Union in the global political economy (GPE). It also considers key dimensions of change and development as well as the EU's impact on the operation of the contemporary GPE. To this end, the chapter discusses central ideas in international political economy and relates these to the growth of the EU. Furthermore, it analyses the EU's role in the GPE in three areas: European integration, the EU's engagement in the GPE, and the EU's claims to be a major economic power. It concludes with an assessment of global economic governance, focusing in particular on the EU's role in the financial, economic, and sovereign debt crises.
9. The European Union and the Global Political Economy
This chapter examines the position of the European Union (EU) in the global political economy (GPE). It also highlights key dimensions of change and development, and evaluates the EU’s impact on the operation of the contemporary GPE. It does this by examining key ideas in international political economy (IPE), by relating these to the growth of the EU, and by assessing the EU’s role in the GPE in three areas: European integration itself, the EU’s engagement in the GPE, and the EU’s claims to be a major economic power. The final part of the chapter brings these together with an analysis of global economic governance—in particular, the EU’s role in the financial, multilateral state system with its principles of global governance, and pays some attention to recent crises (such as the Covid-19 pandemic) and the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
9. European Integration and Gender
This chapter analyses theories of European integration through a gender lens. It points to the diversity of perspectives in gender scholarship on European integration, and draws on these different points of view to examine other theoretical approaches. It assumes that gender is a basic organising principle of the social world, and therefore is an integral aspect of European integration. The chapter discusses gender theory and its contribution to the study of European integration. It then goes on to interrogate other European integration theories - liberal intergovernmentalism, neofunctionalism, and social constructivism – examining the nature of gendered power that they emphasize and evaluating the extent to which they are open to incorporating a gender-informed perspective. The chapter then analyses the integrationist effect of the European economic crisis on gender equality. This discussion reveals the marginalization of gender equality, and gender mainstreaming, as the neo-liberal response to the economic crisis created new gender inequalities and perpetuated old patterns of gender hierarchy.
2. Politics and the State
This chapter discusses the importance of the state and sovereignty to the study of politics. It first provides an empirical typology of the state, from the minimalist night-watchman state to the totalitarian state, before considering various theories of the state such as Marxism, pluralism, elitism, and the New Right. Two key general points about these competing theories are examined. First, an organizing theme relates to what each of these theories say about the distribution of power. Second, the theories can be analysed in both empirical and normative terms. The chapter concludes with a discussion of the claim that the state has significantly declined in importance, mainly as a result of economic globalization.
10. Global Political Economy
This chapter offers an overview of the field of Global Political Economy (GPE)—also known as International Political Economy (IPE). It builds on themes introduced in previous chapters, including connections with theories of global politics. These are discussed from a historical perspective to enable a better appreciation of how ideas, practices, and institutions develop and interact over time. These theories arose substantially within a European context, although the extent to which these may be applied uncritically to issues of political economy in all parts of the globe must be questioned. Significant issues for GPE include trade, labour, the interaction of states and markets, the nexus between wealth and power, and the problems of development and underdevelopment in the global economy, taking particular account of the North–South gap. The chapter then discusses the twin phenomena of globalization and regionalization and the way in which these are shaping the global economy and challenging the traditional role of the state. An underlying theme of the chapter is the link between economic and political power.
21. The United Nations
Devon E. A. Curtis and Paul Taylor
This chapter examines the development of the United Nations and the changes and challenges that it has faced since it was founded in 1945. It opens with three framing questions: Does the UN succeed in reconciling traditions of great power politics and traditions of universalism? Why has the UN become more involved in matters within states and what are the limits to this involvement? What are the UN's biggest successes and challenges in its efforts to prevent and resolve conflict and to promote sustainable development? The chapter proceeds by providing a brief history of the UN and its principal organs. It also considers the UN's role in the maintenance of international peace and security, and how the UN addresses issues relating to economic and social development. Two case studies are presented: the first is about the role of the UN in dealing with conflict in Syria and the second is about UN peacekeeping in the Congo.
29. China and the Developing World
Deborah Bräutigam and Yunnan Chen
This chapter examines China’s South–South relations and how it has been shaped by the nature of the Chinese state: a highly capable, developmental state that uses an array of instruments to promote its interests. In particular, it considers how, by means of foreign aid, economic cooperation, soft power, and trade, China aspires to be seen as a responsible global power. The chapter first looks at the history behind China’s engagement with countries of the Global South and the instruments that it has employed in this regard such as foreign investment, commercial loans, and soft power tools. It shows that Chinese ties with the developing world are shaped by long-standing foreign policy principles, including non-interference in the internal affairs of others, equality, and mutual benefit, along with its embrace of globalization and the growth of its multinational corporations. The chapter concludes with an assessment of concerns regarding China’s international engagement.
21. The United Nations
Devon E. A. Curtis and Paul Taylor
This chapter examines the development of the United Nations and the changes and challenges that it has faced since it was founded in 1945. It opens with three framing questions: Does the UN succeed in reconciling traditions of great power politics and traditions of universalism? Why has the UN become more involved in matters within states and what are the limits to this involvement? What are the UN's biggest successes and challenges in its efforts to prevent and resolve conflict and to promote sustainable development? The chapter proceeds by providing a brief history of the UN and its principal organs. It also considers the UN's role in the maintenance of international peace and security, and how the UN addresses issues relating to economic and social development. Two case studies are presented: the first is about UN peacekeeping in the Congo and the second is about the 2003 intervention in Iraq.
25. Climate Change and the End of Development
Dina Abbott, Gordon Wilson, and Alan Thomas
This chapter studies how the debate on climate change has evolved and how development relates to climate change. Climate change relates to development in two main ways. First, economic development is likely to exacerbate future climate change. Second, climate change as it occurs impacts on development, often negatively. The different ways in which climate change relates to development lead to different types of intervention. Climate change mitigation policies are designed to limit future climate change or reduce its impact but may themselves curtail development options. Climate change adaptation policies attempt to work with climate change and achieve development in spite of its impacts. There are also policies to cope with 'loss and damage', i.e. extreme, often irreversible, impacts which are too severe for adaptation. Lived experiences of climate change and of the effects of mitigation and adaptation policies demonstrate how their impacts result from the interaction of physical effects with existing social and power relationships, including those of gender.
1. Globalization and global politics
This chapter examines the characteristics of contemporary globalization and how they are reshaping world politics. It explains why globalization challenges some of our traditional ways of thinking and theorizing about world politics. It asks whether there are limits to globalization or whether it is inevitable. It also considers the extent to which globalization is responsible for the emerging shift in the structure of world power, namely the ‘decline of the West’ and the ‘rise of the rest’. Two case studies are presented: one is about the iPhone and the iPad, and illustrates the implications of global production networks for national economic sovereignty; the other is about the global recycling system. There is also an Opposing Opinions box that tackles the question of whether globalization is eroding the power of the state.