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Cover I-PEEL: The International Political Economy of Everyday Life

2. Clothes  

This chapter discusses the topic of clothing in everyday international political economy (IPE). It begins by looking at how the garment industry and workers in that industry have been impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic, focusing in particular on the vulnerabilities faced by women workers in Leicester. This analysis introduces the concepts of fast fashion and commodity fetishism, and demonstrates how the globalization of garment production relates to the feminization of low-wage labour. The chapter then considers the broader politics of international trade that have shaped where in the world the production and disposal of clothing has been located. It also reviews efforts to reform the garment industry, including corporate social responsibility initiatives and the use of podcasting to highlight the under-researched topic of clothing disposal.

Chapter

Cover Global Political Economy

5. The Evolution of the Global Trade Regime  

Silke Trommer

This chapter details the history, politics, and recent trends and challenges of the multilateral trade system. The twentieth century witnessed a remarkable emergence of international institutions, and nowhere was their impact greater than in international trade. Following decades of depression and war, a global trading regime was initiated with the creation of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) in 1947, which expanded steadily in both scope and membership through the twentieth century and culminated in the establishment of the World Trade Organization (WTO) in 1995. Underpinned by the philosophy that open markets and non-discriminatory trade policies promote the prosperity of all countries, and issued with a powerful dispute settlement mechanism, the WTO has been hailed as the most prominent example of cooperation between countries. At the same time, however, the WTO has been subject to internal and external criticism and now faces a number of difficulties.

Chapter

Cover Global Political Economy

6. Regional Trade Agreements  

John Ravenhill

This chapter assesses regional trade agreements (RTAs). The number of RTAs has grown rapidly since the World Trade Organization (WTO) came into existence in 1995. Roughly one-half of world trade is now conducted within these preferential trade arrangements, the most significant exception to the WTO's principle of non-discrimination. Governments have entered regional economic agreements motivated by a variety of political and economic considerations. They may prefer trade liberalization on a regional rather than a global basis for several reasons. The chapter then reviews the political economy of regionalism: why RTAs are established; which actors are likely to support regional rather than global trade liberalization; the effects that regionalism has had on the trade and welfare of members and non-members; and the relationship between liberalization at the regional and global levels.

Chapter

Cover Global Political Economy

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 Global Political Economy

2. The Nineteenth-Century Roots of Theoretical Traditions in Global Political Economy  

Matthew Watson

This chapter focuses on the historical origins and the subsequent intellectual lineage of the three core theoretical positions within contemporary global political economy (GPE): realism, liberalism, and Marxism. ‘Textbook GPE’ privileges nineteenth-century understandings of political economy when discussing the pre-history of its own field. This helps explains GPE's treatment of feminist scholarship within the textbooks; feminism remains largely marginalized from textbook GPE, presented as something of a postscript to avoid accusations of it having been omitted altogether rather than being placed centre stage in the discussion. The chapter then looks at how the nineteenth-century overlay operates in textbook GPE. To do so, it makes sense to concentrate in the first instance on the issue that did most to divide nineteenth-century economists: namely, the free trade policies resulting from the general ascendancy of laissez-faire ideology. The most celebrated of the critics, Friedrich List, is treated much more as a dependable authority figure in GPE than he is in the history of economic thought. Indeed, in textbook GPE, the disputes between realist and liberal positions is very often presented initially through an account of List's work, despite the pre-history of liberalism being much the longer of the two.

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

14. The Political Economy of the Environment  

Peter Dauvergne

This chapter assesses the global political economy of the environment. The growth of the world economy is transforming the Earth's environment. Nothing is particularly controversial about this statement. Yet, sharp disagreements arise over the nature of this transformation. Is the globalization of capitalism a force of progress and environmental solutions? Or is it a cause of the current global environmental crisis? The chapter addresses these questions by examining the debates around some of the most contentious issues at the core of economic globalization and the environment: economic growth, production, and consumption; trade; and transnational investment. It begins with a glance at the general arguments about how the global political economy affects the global environment. The chapter then traces the history of global environmentalism — in particular, the emergence of international environmental institutions with the norm of sustainable development. It also evaluates the effectiveness of North–South environmental financing and international environmental regimes.