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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.

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Cover Global Political Economy

11. Globalization’s Impact on States  

Colin Hay

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.

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Cover Global Political Economy

7. Production and business  

Kate Macdonald

This chapter addresses global production, which has powerful effects on the incomes, working conditions, and development opportunities of populations around the world. It is not surprising that the organization and regulation of global production have become one of the most contentious subjects of debate within the field of Global Political Economy (GPE). The chapter confronts several difficult questions linked to these debates. Who does the work of global production, and how has its organization changed over time? Who exercises power within evolving systems of global production, and what winners and losers do such arrangements produce? How is global production governed, and with what consequences for labour rights and the environment? In exploring these questions, analytical lenses drawn from a range of political economy perspectives help us to make sense of the complex economic and political forces through which the organization and governance of contemporary global production is shaped and contested.

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Cover International Relations and the European Union

9. The European Union and the Global Political Economy  

Amy Verdun

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.

Chapter

Cover The Globalization of World Politics

16. Global political economy  

Nicola Phillips

This chapter introduces the field of international political economy (IPE), the themes and insights of which are reflected in the global political economy (GPE), and what it offers in the study of contemporary globalization. It begins with three framing questions: How should we think about power in the contemporary global political economy? How does IPE help us to understand what drives globalization? What does IPE tell us about who wins and who loses from globalization? The chapter proceeds by discussing various approaches to IPE and the consequences of globalization, focusing on IPE debates about inequality, labour exploitation, and global migration. Two case studies are presented, the first looking at global value chains (GVCs) and global development and the second dealing with globalization and child labour.

Chapter

Cover Global Political Economy

1. Introduction  

Nicola Phillips

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.

Chapter

Cover Global Political Economy

10. Inequality  

Eduardo Ortiz-Juarez and Andy Sumner

This chapter explores income inequality in the global political economy. Income inequality matters for intrinsic and instrumental reasons, and intersects with inequalities between social groups based on gender, race, and other factors. There are three ways to think about income inequality at a global level: ‘international inequality’, ‘world inequality’, and ‘global inequality’. One can say that international inequality and world inequality have unambiguously declined since 1980. However, the magnitude of the decline depends on whether the size of countries' populations is taken into account. Meanwhile, national inequality refers to differences in income between individuals within a country. The chapter then discusses poverty. Ultimately, explanations for patterns of inequality in the contemporary period can be traced to many of the dynamics associated with globalization, particularly the reorganization of the global economy around global value chains (GVCs) and the implications for countries pursuing ‘late development’.

Chapter

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22. Global Political Economy  

Stephanie Lawson

This chapter provides an overview of the field of Global Political Economy (GPE), also known as International Political Economy (IPE). It begins with a discussion of how GPE/IPE has developed as a major focus of study within the broader field of global politics over the last four decades. It then considers the rise of mercantilism as a theory of GPE, along with its relationship to nationalism and colonialism. It also examines the emergence of liberal political economy, Marxism and critical IPE, and the international economic order after World War II. In particular, it looks at the Bretton Woods system, which emerged after the war as a compromise between liberalism and nationalism. The chapter concludes with an analysis of international political, economic, and social problems associated with the North–South gap, globalization and regionalization in the post-Cold War period, and financial crises that rocked the global economic system.

Chapter

Cover Introduction to Politics

22. Global Political Economy  

Stephanie Lawson

This chapter provides an overview of the field of Global Political Economy (GPE), also known as International Political Economy (IPE). It begins with a discussion of how GPE/IPE has developed as a major focus of study within the broader field of global politics over the last four decades. It then considers the rise of mercantilism as a theory of GPE, along with its relationship to nationalism and colonialism. It also examines the emergence of liberal political economy, Marxism and critical IPE, and the international economic order after World War II. In particular, it looks at the Bretton Woods system, which emerged after the war as a compromise between liberalism and nationalism. The chapter concludes with an analysis of international political, economic, and social problems associated with the North–South gap, globalization and regionalization in the post-Cold War period, and financial crises that rocked the global economic system.

Chapter

Cover The Globalization of World Politics

16. Global political economy  

Nicola Phillips

This chapter introduces the field of International Political Economy (IPE), the themes and insights of which are reflected in the Global Political Economy (GPE), and what it offers in the study of contemporary globalization. It begins with three framing questions: How should we think about power in the contemporary global political economy? How does IPE help us to understand what drives globalization? What does IPE tell us about who wins and who loses from globalization? The chapter proceeds by discussing various approaches to IPE and the consequences of globalization, focusing on IPE debates about inequality, labour exploitation, and global migration. Two case studies are presented, one dealing with the BRICs and the rise of China, and the other with slavery and forced labour in global production. There is also an Opposing Opinions box that asks whether national states are irrelevant in an era of economic globalization.

Chapter

Cover Global Political Economy

13. The Political Economy of Development  

Nicola Phillips

This chapter examines the political economy of development. Despite the many accomplishments since the end of the Second World War, the problems of development in the contemporary global political economy are still of arresting proportions, and the various incarnations of a ‘global development agenda’ to deal with these problems have had a very mixed record. In fact, there is still little consensus on what development actually is, let alone how it might be achieved, in either academic debates or public discourse. One of the most disputed questions in this context relates to the relationship between globalization and development, and how people should understand the impact of globalization on development across the world. The chapter explores these debates. It starts by reviewing the different ways of thinking about development that have emerged since the end of the Second World War, and demonstrating how particular understandings of development have given rise to particular kinds of development strategies, at both the national and global levels. The chapter then considers the impacts and consequences of these strategies for development, and shows on this basis that many of the problems and failures of development have not only persisted but also worsened in the contemporary period.

Chapter

Cover Global Political Economy

15. State power and geopolitics  

Andrew Hurrell

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.

Chapter

Cover Politics

9. Political Economy: National and Global Perspectives  

This chapter examines the field of political economy from a historical, comparative, and international perspective, focusing on how ideas, practices, and institutions develop and interact over place and time. It first provides an overview of political economy as a field of study before discussing some important theories such as Marxism, liberalism, and economic nationalism. It then considers key issues such as the interaction of states and markets and the North–South divide, along with Karl Marx's critique of international political economy (IPE). It also explores the post-war international economic order and the twin phenomena of globalization and regionalization in the post-Cold War era before concluding with an analysis of the ‘boom and bust’ episodes in the global capitalist economy such as the global financial crisis of 2008.

Chapter

Cover Global Political Economy

4. Globalization and neoliberalism  

Jacqueline Best

This chapter evaluates the contested concepts of globalization and neoliberalism, and looks at their role in Global Political Economy (GPE). There are significant debates about the political salience of globalization, with hyperglobalists, sceptics, and transformationalists disagreeing on its implications for the power of the state. Scholars also disagree about when the era of globalization began. Meanwhile, neoliberalism is a set of economic ideas and policies built upon a belief in the ‘free market’ as an unquestionable value in political and economic life. Neoliberal globalization has increased living standards in many parts of the world while also intensifying inequality along the lines of class, race, and gender. At the heart of debates about neoliberalism and globalization are three core puzzles: whether they are primarily depoliticizing or repoliticizing strategies; whether they are best understood by looking at global-level processes or at changes in everyday life; and whether their power is primarily material or ideational.

Chapter

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3. Cooperation and Conflict in the Global Political Economy  

Vinod K. Aggarwal and Cédric Dupont

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.

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Cover The Globalization of World Politics

7. Marxist theories of international relations  

Stephen Hobden and Richard Wyn Jones

This chapter examines the contribution of Marxism to the study of international relations. It first considers whether globalization is a new phenomenon or a long-standing feature of capitalist development, and whether ‘crisis’ is an inevitable feature of capitalism, and if so, whether capitalism contains the seeds of its own destruction. The chapter proceeds by discussing a number of core features common to Marxist approaches as well as the internationalization of Karl Marx's ideas by Vladimir Lenin and subsequently by writers in the world-system framework. It also explains how Frankfurt School critical theory, and Antonio Gramsci and his various followers, introduced an analysis of culture into Marxist analysis as well as the more recent ‘return to Marx’. Two case studies are presented, one relating to the Naxalite movement in India and the other focusing on the recent experience of Greece. There is also an Opposing Opinions box that asks whether the global economy is the prime determinant of the character of world politics.

Chapter

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10. The Logics of Economic Globalization  

Anthony McGrew

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.

Chapter

Cover International Relations and the European Union

11. The European Union and the Global Political Economy  

Amy Verdun

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.

Chapter

Cover Global Political Economy

1. The Study of Global Political Economy  

John Ravenhill

This chapter provides an overview of the current state of the world economy. The contemporary international economic system is more closely integrated than in any previous era. The global financial crisis and its aftermath provide a clear illustration of the relationship between trade, finance, international institutions, and the difficulties that governments face in coping with the problems generated by complex interdependence. The chapter then traces how the world economy evolved to reach its present state. Before 1945, the spectacular increase in economic integration that had occurred over the previous century was not accompanied by institutionalized governmental collaboration on economic matters. The end of the Second World War marked a significant disjunction: global economic institutions were created, the transnational corporation emerged as a major actor in international economic relations, and patterns of international trade began to change markedly from the traditional North–South exchange of manufactures for raw materials. Since the emergence of global political economy (GPE) as a major subfield of the study of international relations in the early 1970s, GPE scholars have generated an enormous literature that has employed a wide variety of theories and methods. Most introductions to the study of GPE have divided the theoretical approaches to the subject into three categories: liberalism, nationalism, and Marxism.

Chapter

Cover Global Political Economy

2. How to study Global Political Economy  

Leonard Seabrooke and Kevin L. Young

This chapter discusses the question of how to study Global Political Economy (GPE), presenting three arguments. First, it makes the case for why the study of GPE is fundamentally exciting and wonderful. GPE is exciting because of its sheer scale and potential comprehensiveness in offering macrosocial explanations for the operation of the world. This fundamentally interdisciplinary orientation is very different from other areas of study, and it makes GPE a refreshing contrast to a lot of conventional thinking within the social sciences. The chapter also argues that the study of GPE is really hard. In order to navigate both the wonderfulness and the challenges of studying GPE, a particular conceptual device can be tremendously helpful. The chapter then identifies the different ‘modes’ of intellectual activity that operate within GPE scholarship: critique, advocacy, and discovery.