International Political Economy: an Introduction
Talk of the global economy today often turns on questions of globalization and financialization. Twenty-first century capitalism is simultaneously highly concentrated and internationally far-flung. Production is organized across complex “Global Value Chains” in multiple geographies by large transnational corporations, all the while financed by a handful of major banks and funds. Advocates of globalization argue that “free market” policies and economic integration increase productivity and well-being. However, this hardly seems to be simply the case and is certainly not the whole story. How can we grasp a more complete picture of the global economy today?
In this course, we will attempt to address this question by examining the nature of international political economy from a host of ideological perspectives, including liberal, nationalist, and Marxist perspectives. We will then turn to neoliberal globalized production, debate the role of the multinational corporations and international production in the Global Value Chain, and explore the social implications of such production, in particular, on workers under racialized capitalist and gendered conditions. Next, we will examine international trade, looking at mainstream theories of commerce and its critics, focusing on the relationships between the global “center” and “periphery” states. Towards our more complete picture of the global economy, we will address questions like: what are the roles of markets and states? What are the global consequences of economic integration? What are the impacts of globalization on the sovereignty of states? What are the consequences regarding peoples’ self-determination? What are globalizations’ social impacts in a wide range of issues including questions in xenophobia, labor, gender inequality, and ecological crisis? Finally, we will turn our attention to the political economy of financialization aiming to understand the ongoing finance-led capitalism characteristic of the 21st century.
Our main readings will be drawn from works and papers by Robert Gilpin, Robert Guttmann, Lourdes Benería, Gu?nseli Berik, Maria S. Floro, François Chesnais, and the United Nations Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean.
Course ScheduleThursday, 6:30-9:30pm ET
March 04 — March 25, 2021