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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 The Globalization of World Politics

13. Social constructivism  

Michael Barnett

This chapter examines constructivist approaches to international relations theory. It explores whether there is a possibility of moral progress in world politics, whether some cultures and countries are more (or less) inherently violent, and whether states are motivated by power or by ideas. The chapter also discusses the rise of constructivism and some key concepts of constructivism, including the agent–structure problem, holism, idealism, individualism, materialism, and rational choice. It concludes with an analysis of constructivist assumptions about global change. Two case studies are presented, one relating to social construction of refugees and the 2015 European migration crisis, and the other considers what it means to be a ‘victim’.

Chapter

Cover The Globalization of World Politics

5. From the end of the cold war to a new world dis-order?  

Michael Cox

This chapter provides a broad overview of the international system between the end of the cold war—when many claimed that liberalism and the West had triumphed—through to the second decade of the twenty-first century, when the West itself and the liberal economic order it had hitherto promoted appeared to be coming under increased pressure from political forces at home and new challenges abroad. But before turning to the present, the chapter looks at some of the key developments since 1989—including the Clinton presidency, the George W. Bush administration's foreign policy following the attacks of 9/11, the 2008 financial crash, the crisis in Europe, the transitions taking place in the global South, the origins of the upheavals now reshaping the Middle East, the political shift from Barack Obama to Donald Trump, the emergence of Asia, and the rise of China. The chapter then concludes by examining two big questions: first, is power now shifting away from the West, and second, to what extent does the current wave of populism in the West threaten globalization and the liberal order?

Chapter

Cover The Globalization of World Politics

26. Poverty, hunger, and development  

Tony Evans and Caroline Thomas

This chapter examines the contested nature of three important concepts in world politics: poverty, hunger, and development. It explores whether the poor must always be with us, why so many children die of malnutrition, and whether development should be understood as an economic issue. It also considers orthodox and alternative approaches to development as solutions for poverty and hunger. Two case studies are presented: first, Haiti’s rice production crisis; second, multidimensional poverty alleviation in Himachal Pradesh. There is also an Opposing Opinions box that asks whether the neoliberal world order will ultimately deliver on its promise of development and the abolition of poverty and hunger worldwide. One argument in favour of neoliberalism is that it places human freedom at its centre, while one criticism is that declining state social and welfare provision have damaging effects.

Chapter

Cover The Globalization of World Politics

12. Social constructivism  

Michael Barnett

This chapter examines constructivist approaches to international relations theory. It explores whether there is a possibility of moral progress in world politics, whether some cultures and countries are more (or less) inherently violent, and whether states are motivated by power or by ideas. The chapter also discusses the rise of constructivism and some key concepts of constructivism, including the agent–structure problem, holism, idealism, individualism, materialism, and rational choice. It concludes with an analysis of constructivist assumptions about global change. Two case studies are presented, one relating to social construction of refugees and the 2015 European migration crisis, and the other to the ‘human rights revolution’ and torture. There is also an Opposing Opinions box that asks whether the laws of war have made war less horrific.

Chapter

Cover The Globalization of World Politics

4. From the end of the cold war to a new world dis-order?  

Michael Cox

This chapter provides a broad overview of the international system between the end of the cold war— when many claimed that liberalism and the West had triumphed— through to the second decade of the twenty-first century, when the West itself and the liberal economic order it had hitherto promoted appeared to be coming under increased pressure from political forces at home and new challenges abroad. But before we turn to the present, the chapter will look at some of the key developments since 1989—including the Clinton presidency, the George W. Bush administration’s foreign policy following the attacks of 9/11, the 2008 financial crash, the crisis in Europe, the transitions taking place in the global South, the origins of the upheavals now reshaping the Middle East, the political shift from Barack Obama to Donald Trump, the emergence of Asia, and the rise of China. The chapter then concludes by examining two big questions: first, is power now shifting away from the West, and second, to what extent does the current wave of populism in the West threaten globalization and the liberal order?