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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.

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Cover Global Political Economy

3. How to think about Global Political Economy  

Benjamin J. Cohen

This chapter examines the question of how we should think about Global Political Economy (GPE), and offers a multitude of theoretical approaches and perspectives. Perspectives can be distinguished from one another along five key dimensions: ontology, agenda, purpose, boundaries, and epistemology. At the most general level, the field is divided between two broad approaches, described as either orthodox or heterodox theoretical perspectives. Orthodox perspectives share a preference for a state-centric ontology, positivism, closed disciplinary boundaries, and rigorous methodology. They may be subdivided into three main variations: liberalism, realism, and constructivism. Heterodox perspectives are less state-centric, agendas are broader and more normative, boundaries are more open, and methodology is less formal. They include a variety of system-level theories, critical theory, and approaches that seek to extend the boundaries of the field in one direction or another. Fundamentally, our thinking about GPE should be ruled by two paramount principles: pragmatism and eclecticism.

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Cover Global Political Economy

5. Finance  

Lena Rethel

This chapter focuses on the Global Political Economy (GPE) of finance. It begins by exploring the key pillars of the GPE of finance, starting with money, currencies, and the international monetary system, before examining the dynamics of credit and debt. While money is ubiquitous, its usages are characterized by great variety and so are the practices—economic, political, and cultural—to which money gives rise. The chapter then looks at both public and private mechanisms which were established to govern global finance. Recurring financial crises are a key feature of the Global Political Economy. These crises can be triggered in different segments of the global financial system, including currency and debt markets, and can result from shocks outside the financial economy such as the Covid-19 pandemic. The chapter also considers different ideas that may shape the international organization of credit, such as Islamic finance.