Unit Four: Historical Materialism & IPE
Dr. Russell Williams
 Required

Cohn, Ch. 5.
 Class


Reading:
Discussion Reading:
Robert W. Cox, “Civil Society at the Turn of the
Millennium:
Prospects for an Alternative World Order,” Review of International
Studies, 25 (1999), pp. 3-28.
Shaun Breslin, “Power and production: rethinking China’s global
economic role”, Review of International Studies, Vol. 31, No. 4 (October
2005), pp. 735-53.
 Outline:
1.
2.
3.
4.
5.
Introduction & Key Concepts
Marxist Economics
Historical Structuralism and IPE
Modern Approaches
Conclusions
1) Introduction & Key Concepts
a) Same origins as liberal approaches – focus
on economic relations under capitalism and
globalization

“Possibilities of cooperation” (liberalism)
replaced with “structural imperatives” of
capitalism

E.g. Class Conflict
b) Interested in issues “discursively excluded”
by Liberalism and Realism

E.g. Exploitation and Inequality
c) Key Concepts (derived from Marx):

“Mode of Production”: Basic system of
production  Impacts all other social
relations

“Relations of Production”: Society’s laws,
politics, culture and ideology

The “social superstructure”


Determined by mode of production (?)
Importance of history:

Specific historical & geographical settings have
different modes/relations of production

Class:


Each mode of production organizes individuals
into classes
A )Those who own and control the means of
production; and
b) Those who sell their labour
Class Struggle

Struggle between these classes “drives” history
2) Marxist Economics:
a) Labor the basis of all value . . .
 Total direct & indirect labor in production
determines “true price” of product
b) Profits based on “surplus value” . . .
 Capitalism always exploitative
c) Increases in profit only achieved by increasing
extraction of surplus value
d) Capitalism was dynamic – would spread
2) Marxist Economics cont. . . .
Key analytical claim - Capitalism based on
fundamental “tensions”:
1) Economic concentration: Competitive markets produced
“concentration”

E.g. monopolies
2) “Falling rate of profit”: As the ratio of indirect labour
(machinery) grew in relation to direct labour, there would
be a steady decline in the rate of profit.
3) Growing exploitation of workers:


Produced “crisis of under-consumption”
Recessions and unemployment
Bottom Line: Capitalism prone towards crises and
collapse (David Harvey on the Financial Crisis)
3) Historical Structuralism and IPE:
Problem: If capitalism should collapse, why does it
survive and flourish?
a) Theory of Monopoly Capitalism:
 When capitalism became “monopolistic”, corporations
could force the state to support their activities.
 Prevent collapse of system
 Required consideration of the role of the state . . .
Problem: If capitalism should collapse, why does it
survive and flourish?
b) State-Capital relations . . . . Two theories:

“Instrumental Marxism”: State run by, or run
in the direct interest of, capitalists.
 State

must be captured by proletariat
“Structural Marxism”: State serves interests
of capitalists over the long term. Has relative
autonomy in the short term.
Post war “class compromise”
 Overcame problem of under-consumption
 E.g.

Either way . . . State protects capitalism
Problem: If capitalism should collapse, why does it
survive and flourish?
c) “Lenin’s Theory of Imperialism”:

Argued:
Capitalism led to imperialism –
overcome domestic falling rate of profit . . . .
 Lead to “New Imperialism”, nationalism and WAR!
 Monopoly

Implications:
must be violently overthrown –
imperialism and conflict, inevitable, and good for
capitalism
 Impact on non-colonial societies . . . ?
 Capitalism
4) Modern Approaches:
a) “Dependency Theory”:



(Gunder-Frank and Cardosso and Faletto)
Popular in Latin America and Canada
Sources:
1) Marxists: Argued MNC’s from north prevented development in
south for “super-exploitation”
2) Latin American Structuralism (Prebisch): Argued free trade didn’t
work for South


Problem of “Declining Terms of Trade”
Claims:


Developing nations exploited by powerful capitalist states
Capitalism uneven: “core and periphery” = underdevelopment
 South dominated by “Comprador Classes”

“Dependency Theory” implications:

Radicals recommended socialist revolutions =
Breakout of global capitalism!

Moderates recommended “economic nationalism” –
autonomy



“Import Substitution Industrialization (ISI)”: Tariffs to
protect development of local industries
Situation could be changed . . .
Problems?



Unclear concepts - economic nationalism vs. Marxism
Importance of state power?
Empirical problems – Success of East Asian “NIC’s”
thought to disprove theory
 Dependencistas do not accept this!
4) Modern Approaches:
b) “World Systems Theory”: (Wallerstein)


Argues:




Derived from “Dependency Theory” but focuses on geographic
exploitation of capitalism
Single world capitalist system – power comes from position in
system
States organized hierarchically (Core, semi-periphery and
periphery)
Logic of Marxist exploitation applied to states
 E.g. Periphery are exploited for their surplus value
Problems:



Vague, not widely applied
Marxists criticize lack of class analysis
IR scholars criticize under-theorization of state power
4) Modern Approaches:
c) Regulation Theory: (Lipietz – “regulation school”)

Very “Structural Marxist” approach to IPE
Argues:

States create different “regimes of accumulation” to
adapt to changing “labour process”

After WWII = “Fordism” and “Taylorism”


Since 1980s= “Post-fordism”


Required Keynesianism
Profit squeeze requires Neo-liberalism
Political struggle not as important as needs of capitalism

However, problem of “economism”/“economic-determinism”
4) Modern Approaches:
d) “Gramscian” or “Neo-Gramscian” Theory:




(Gramsci, Cox, Gill and others . . .)
Global politics understood through a Neo-Marxist class
analysis
Rejects economism of Regulation Theory
Concepts:
a) Interrelationship of “material capabilities”, “institutions”
and “ideas” – all impact class struggle
b) “Hegemony”: Seen as class domination - economic
and ideological domination of elite class
c) “Organic Intellectuals”: Ideological organizers of class
politics – Pro business groups
4) Modern Approaches:
d) “Gramscian” or “Neo-Gramscian” Theory:

Leads to different views of how global relations will
evolve . . . .
=E.g. Cooperation driven by the interests of MNC’s and
their global networks of production
=E.g. Cooperation driven by the programmatic
replacement of the state

E.g. The “New Constitutionalism” (Gill)
Further Reading:

Dependency Theory:


World Systems Theory:


Christopher Chase-Dunn and Peter Grimes, “World-Systems
Analysis,” Annual Review of Sociology, 21 (1995), pp. 387-417.
Regulation Theory:


Joseph L. Love, "The Origins of Dependency Analysis," Journal
of Latin American Studies, 22 (February, 1990), pp. 143-68.
Michael Dunford, “Globalization and Theories of Regulation,” in
Ronen Palan, ed., Global Political Economy: Contemporary
Theories, (London: Routledge, 2000), pp. 143-167.
Gramscian Methods:

Robert W. Cox, “Gramsci, Hegemony and International
Relations: An Essay in Method,” Millennium, 12-2 (1983), pp.
162-175.
Conclusions:

Strengths?



Focus on concepts ignored by realism and liberalism
(Exploitation and inequality)
Central emphasis on capitalism and globalization
Weaknesses?



Lack of “prescription” – What is to be done? (E.g.
Regulation Theory)
Confusing concepts, not widely applied
Role of state power often obscured
 Is this a problem?
For Next Time:
Unit Five: Contemporary Approaches - Feminism and
Constructivism (October 8 & 10)
 Required Reading:

Cohn, Ch. 5.
Class Discussion Readings:


Penny Griffin, “Refashioning IPE: What and how gender analysis
teaches international (global) political economy,” Review of
International Political Economy, Oct2007, Vol. 14 Issue 4, pp.
719-736.
Rawi Abdelal, Mark Blyth, and Craig Parsons, “The Case for a
Constructivist International Political Economy,” in Constructivist
Political Economy (Unpublished manuscript:
http://ducis.jhfc.duke.edu/wpcontent/uploads/archive/documents/ABP.pdf)
Download

Historical Structuralism