This introduction frames the papers in this volume with a brief critique of how and why the dominant approaches to understanding world affairs obscure our understanding of…
This introduction frames the papers in this volume with a brief critique of how and why the dominant approaches to understanding world affairs obscure our understanding of the chief developments that have marked our age, and a discussion of the resources geopolitical economy can draw on to address the resulting deficiencies of understanding. It then goes on to discuss how the papers that follow demonstrate the gains from putting the geopolitical economy framework to work. They interrogate and challenge conventional wisdom in three broad areas – the international monetary system, world trade and the requirements for successful combined development historically and today, when China’s own stunning combined development confronts other developing countries with new possibilities and constraints. The introduction closes with some necessarily brief reflections on the vast agenda for future research and discussion that remains to be tackled.
This paper analyses the stalling of the Doha Development Agenda (DDA) and its systemic and institutional consequences through a geopolitical economy approach that…
This paper analyses the stalling of the Doha Development Agenda (DDA) and its systemic and institutional consequences through a geopolitical economy approach that integrates the French school of international economic relations and Régulation Theory. These approaches put states and their economic roles at the fore, correcting dominant free trade approaches to world trade. The paper also avoids monocausal explanations for trade talk deadlocks and aims to provide a comprehensive approach on the co-evolution of world trade patterns and its institutions. In this approach, the DDA stalemate is traced to an institution-structure mismatch in how states articulate their accumulation strategies and institutions (competition, state regulation, adhesion to international regime) to the World Trade Organization (WTO) regime occasioned by the emergence of new trade powers. This has given rise to three distinct conflicts in how member states navigate between the main parameters of the multilateral trading system (non-discrimination, reciprocity and balance of power) and their national accumulation strategies: the erosion of non-discrimination and reciprocity; the failure to build an operational compromise between development and ‘globalization’, that is, between multilateral openness and new trade and power balances; and the difficulty in reaching a compromise between historical and emerging capitalisms. The outcome of these conflicts will determine the institutional configuration of the post-Doha WTO agenda.
This paper attempts to critically question present IPE approaches and analyses that aim at assessing China’s role within the international political economy. Thus, unlike…
This paper attempts to critically question present IPE approaches and analyses that aim at assessing China’s role within the international political economy. Thus, unlike common theorizations that see the country as being integrated within US hegemony (Panitch and Gindin) or those accounts that claim that we are already witnessing the “terminal crisis” of US hegemony accompanied by a hegemonic transition toward China (Arrighi), the paper will argue that China was able to gain “relative geopolitical autonomy” as a result of the revolutionary processes it went through and eventually assert itself as a contender state, now just in the process of challenging US hegemony. Dissatisfied with existent theorizations of hegemony, I will be drawing on the critical edition of Gramsci’s Quaderni and attempt to offer a new perspective regarding the conceptualization thereof. Thus applying the elaborated framework of analysis to the current situation, I argue that unlike the US’s ability to counter the challenge of its traditional imperial rivals Germany and Japan as they developed under the grip of US hegemony, the country is facing difficulties in countering China’s ascent. However, while maintaining that China does indeed represent a challenge to US hegemony, particularly in East Asia, I will argue that the idea of a “crisis of US hegemony” is premature as China remains distant from fully realizing hegemonic relations, even at the regional level.
This introduction to the essays that follow argues that the chief problem with the dominant understanding of world affairs in the disciplines of International Relations…
This introduction to the essays that follow argues that the chief problem with the dominant understanding of world affairs in the disciplines of International Relations and International Political Economy, including their Marxist versions, is an a historical, non-contradictory and economically cosmopolitan conception of capitalism. In their place, geopolitical economy is a new approach which returns to the conception of capitalism embodied in the culmination of classical political economy, Marxism. It was historical in two senses, distinguishing capitalism as a historically specific mode of social production involving by value production and understanding that its contradictions drive forward capitalism’s own history in a central way. This approach must further develop and specify uneven and combined development as the dominant pattern in the unfolding of capitalist international relations, one that is constitutive of its component states themselves. Secondly, it must understand the logic of the actions undertaken by capitalist states as emerging from the struggles involved in the formation of capitalist states and from the contradictions that are set in train once capitalism is established. Finally, it must see in the ways that class and national struggles and resulting state actions have modified the functioning of capitalism the possibilities of replacing the disorder, contestation and war that are the spontaneous result of capitalism for international relations the basis for a cooperative order in relations between states, an order which can also be the means for realising the permanent revolution and solidifying its gains on the international or world plane.
What is the historical, normative and institutional setting that helps leading Latin American and Eurasian countries to implement a post-hegemonic agenda and contribute to…
What is the historical, normative and institutional setting that helps leading Latin American and Eurasian countries to implement a post-hegemonic agenda and contribute to the multipolarization of global politics? Post-hegemony describes a situation in which the unipolar organization of the world political economy is challenged by a plurality of alternative projects, without however being entirely replaced by another system. Emblematic of post-hegemonic initiatives is the rise of the Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa countries who have taken the lead in creating alternative institutions that constrain US global hegemony, while however failing to spearhead a coherent, uniform and confrontational opposition movement. Regarding post-hegemonic regionalism, Latin American regionalism – as represented by Bolivarian Alliance for Our America (ALBA) – is characterized by a social justice-driven agenda that refutes US neoliberal hegemony, whereas the peculiarity of Eurasian regionalism – as represented by Shanghai Cooperation Organization – lies in its security-oriented focus that confronts US interventionism and international terrorism. An underlying commonality of both Latin American and Eurasian experiences is that they constitute a multi-front struggle centered on four main areas: culture, economy, financial cooperation, and regional defense. They both hinge on a strong normative framework and firm commitment in the regionalization of an endogenous culture, educational cooperation, and defense system. They all accord primary importance to social, financial, and infrastructural development. Overall, these experiences suffer from unresolved tensions between national sovereignty and supranationalism alongside the predominance of charismatic leaders inhibiting institutionalization. The limitations and contradictions of post-hegemonic transformations also include Latin America’s inability to resolve the question of extractivism, Eurasia’s neglect of the question of democratic participation, and both regionalism’s failure to offer a coherent alternative model of economic development to US hegemonism.
The purpose of this paper is to examine processes of Eurasian integration and the veritable ‘culture war’ between Russia and the West over it, while contributing to the…
The purpose of this paper is to examine processes of Eurasian integration and the veritable ‘culture war’ between Russia and the West over it, while contributing to the theoretical paradigm of geopolitical economy. This paradigm invites us to consider the multiple manifestations of an emerging multipolar world order while scrutinising the extent to which previously popular approaches to the study of international political economy were themselves enmeshed in projects, the architects of which aspired to global hegemony.
The paper employs critical historicism, an approach in which cultural difference is seen as the sedimentation of historically constituted material and ideational processes and which eschews cultural essentialism and orientalising tropes. It is through this lens that Russian state attempts at normalising Eurasian integration processes are examined.
I demonstrate that Russian state organs and officials, as well as ‘political technologists’ attempt to de-politicise processes of Eurasian integration by appealing to both the logic of cultural/civilisational compatibility of affected parties, as well as the logic of economic integration. Such portrayals invite scrutiny; however, it is important that we also consider how Eurasian integration initiatives are the product of a post-Soviet struggle over Eurasian space but represent something more than mere neo-Soviet revisionism.
The paper demonstrates its originality by situating ongoing processes of Eurasian integration within the longer post-Soviet conjuncture and amid processes of international contestation. Moreover, it situates Russian officials and political technologists as active contributors to international debates about the emerging multipolar world order.
This paper situates geopolitical economy in light of a broader rethinking of the history of capitalism and international power. It discusses why the ideas of British and…
This paper situates geopolitical economy in light of a broader rethinking of the history of capitalism and international power. It discusses why the ideas of British and American hegemony are problematic. Specifically, it argues that categorizing these powers as hegemonic leaves out a more complex history that theories of hegemony have excluded, and cannot include, else the concept of hegemony would collapse. Finally, I suggest geopolitical economy may be a starting point for writing a new history of capitalism and world order.
This paper reassesses the center-periphery relationship in light of recent developments in the international monetary system and the currency hierarchy in a geopolitical…
This paper reassesses the center-periphery relationship in light of recent developments in the international monetary system and the currency hierarchy in a geopolitical economy framework. The center-periphery relationship has historically been examined in relation to the international division of labor, the pace and diffusion of technical progress associated with it, and the pattern of consumption it embodies. As conceived by structuralists and dependentistas, it is not seen as the result of the uneven and combined development of capitalism: it does not take into account the struggle between the dominant States (center), which want to reproduce the current order and the contender States (periphery) which aim to accelerate capitalist development to reduce the unevenness, and even to undermine the imperial project of dominant states. In a geopolitical economy framework, a powerful obstacle peripheral countries face in their efforts at combined development is the international monetary system, something that the theorists of the center-periphery relationship have perhaps overlooked. Because of its subordinate position in the currency hierarchy, the periphery is subject to greater external vulnerability, greater instability of exchange and interest rates, and as a result, enjoys a more restricted policy space. In this sense, the chapter shows that, beyond macroeconomic policies, the currency hierarchy in a context of high capital mobility limits a range of developmental policies of peripheral countries, reinforcing the unevenness of world economy and constraining combined development.
This paper uses Leon Trotsky’s theory of Uneven and Combined Development (UCD) in order to transcend both globalising and methodologically nationalist theories of the…
This paper uses Leon Trotsky’s theory of Uneven and Combined Development (UCD) in order to transcend both globalising and methodologically nationalist theories of the global political economy. While uneven development theorists working in economic geography have demonstrated the logical corollary of capitalist development and the completion of the world market in the persistence of geographic unevenness, they fail to specify or problematise the role of states in this process. This leads to an ambiguity about why the states system has persisted under conditions of deep economic integration across states. State theorists, meanwhile, tend to exclude the world market and system of states as conditioning factors in state (trans)formation. For this reason, much state theory offers only a contingent account of the relationship between patterns of capital accumulation and states’ institutional forms. Geopolitical economy, with its focus on the competitive interrelations between states as constitutive of capitalist value relations, is well placed to transcend the pitfalls of these twin perspectives by closely engaging with the theory of UCD. UCD provides a nonreductionist means of integrating global processes of capital accumulation with their distinctive and peculiar national mediations. A research programme is developed to operationalise UCD for purposes of concrete research – something lacking from recent development in the field.
Received histories present national accounts as universal, purely economic measures based mostly on theoretical foundations. This paper argues that this is an…
Received histories present national accounts as universal, purely economic measures based mostly on theoretical foundations. This paper argues that this is an anachronistic approach to the long and uneven development of these estimates and builds on geopolitical economy to examine national income estimates as quantifications of state power. First, it reveals national income accounts to be historically and geographically contingent rather than universal, suggesting contestation instead of any hegemony or dominance of one central ideology. Second, the economic power and motivations of nation-states, rather than economic theory, are at the core of the design of national income estimates, which are used to promote states’ position in international competition as well as advocate for particular national economic policies. The history of national accounting closely tracks the rise of the nation-state, the unique phase of British hegemony, the two World Wars, the east-west competition of the Cold War, and the north-south competition of the recent two decades. To this day, revisions to national accounting systems reflect the shifting balance of power and incessant international competition.