This chapter addresses the intersection of international law and international politics as it relates to global trade. To study global economic governance is to study international law, international relations, and international political economy (IPE) all at once. The chapter begins with a brief introduction to IPE, a discipline which seeks to understand the workings of the global economy in its political context. It examines the relationship between economic globalization and state sovereignty, before turning to the construction of the postwar global economic order, with a focus on the Bretton Woods institutions. The postwar global economic order has often been described as ‘liberal’ by virtue of its underlying assumptions and the ideological convictions of its framers. Importantly, the postwar liberal order was built by, and for, the developed countries of the Global North-a fact that has informed critiques emanating from the developing countries of the Global South. The chapter then assesses global trade governance, analysing the structure, powers, and role of the World Trade Organization.
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.
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.