Evaluation of the Most Interesting Concept in understanding international politics
International relations are based on sovereign states and can be traced back to 1968 during the time of Peace of Westphalia. Since then, it has been a stepping-stone in the development of new and modernized state systems. The modernization of the concept of globalization became more pronounced during the 19th century and resulted in the emergence of the industrial revolution. Industrialization resulted in the standardizing methods of producing household items. It applied the concept of economies of scales, meant to help in meeting the needs of the highly growing population that increased the demand for the produced commodities. For instance, in the 19th century, use of steamships dropped the costs of international transport significantly. Similarly, the development of railway roads assisted in making the cost incurred by the traders in inland transport to be cheaper and affordable (Ravenhill 75). Established supranational institutions like European Union, International Criminal Court and the World Trade Organization help in globalization. Thus, globalization plays the role of reducing the importance of nation states through the supranational institutions that enhance international relations(Steger 37).
The revolutions in the transport sectors because of globalization were effective from as early as the year 1950. The revolution motivated many nations to embrace international trade since they could easily transport their commodities from one state to the other with ease and also save time. During this period, that is, in the nineteenth century, globalization was in an indisputable degree and was shaped by imperialism. For instance, the imperialism found in Asia and African nations. Additionally, innovative works that brought about the creation of shipping containers played a major role in helping the advancement of globalizing the trading activities (Ravenhill 83)
After the World War II, politicians worked diligently to ensure that there were laid down policies and procedures that would assist in overseeing the success of the globalization. This would help in regulating the activities that were to be carried out in trade. For instance, politicians caused the formation of Bretton Woods Conference that ensured international agreements were put in place, in order to establish a framework for the international monetary policy. The framework for facilitating the manner of conducting business activities among the states and financing procedures were also put down. This was to ensure that the international relations were intact and to avoid any dispute that could result from commerce and finance. After the second World War, various international institutions were founded with the core objective of facilitating economic growth, simplifying the openings of multiple rounds of conducting business, and lowering the trade barriers among states. All these activities were meant to trigger rapid growth in the economy by carrying out business activities among the states and hence encourage nations to embrace globalization as a key aspect of economic growth (Steger 55).
There have been many arguments against the move to globalization by the economic liberals and neoliberals. They provide the argument that high degrees of political and economic freedom using the concept of free trade is only beneficial to the developed world. Moreover, they are of the idea that the concept globalization is more beneficial to the developed world because it increases their overall material wealth due to the rise of levels of production. Contrary, scholars have criticized the arguments of economic liberals and argued that globalization is of great importance in spreading capitalism and liberty among the states. Globalization has been reflected as the channel through which least developed countries can be lifted from poverty. This is in consideration of the emergence of a virtuous economic cycle that is associated with rapid growth among the economies (Steger 69).
The consecutive rounds of trade negotiations have caused a significant decline in the barriers to trade since the World War II. Globalization has been associated in most cases with the changes in the political importance of some states. For instance, the globalization of the US grand strategy has been linked to having probably resulted in the reduced importance of both nation states and the supranational institutions. The decline in the US power to globalization has been linked to a high trade deficit in the nation’s balance of trade, in the past decades (Acharya, 647). The effects have caused the shifting of global power to Asian states, for example, China that opened it markets, reporting increased and tremendous economic growth rates. Some countries in their response to globalization have also resulted to embracing isolationist policies. For example, the North Korean government has ensured that measures are put in place to monitor foreigners in the country and prevent them from entering the country freely and at ease (Ravenhill 97).
Originally, the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) caused the formation of many agreements that were meant to enhance the successful removal of trade restrictions. GATT led to the foundation of World Trade Organization (WTO) that offered a framework of negotiations and formations of trade agreements. Additionally, WTO assisted in forming a platform for ensuring there was an appropriate process of solving disputes (Ravenhill 112).
Which perspective of IPE (Mercantile/Radical/Liberal and their neo-incarnations) provides the best theoretical framework for understanding globalization in the 21st century?
The most contemporary perspective of IPE that provides the best theoretical understanding of globalization in the 21st century is the constructivism. Constructivism is only radical from the standpoint of America IPE. The constructivism perspective is increasingly being embraced by the scholars, whereby they have become unsatisfied with the quasi-functionalist. This is the traditionally offered argument concerning the materialist rationalist perspectives. The reason is that it is not possible to buy or even sell a lot of the economy that is considered as real and material (Ravenhill 124).
With the support of constructivism perspectives, the scholars have agreed that the increasing influential position, especially in international politics, is constructed on the social grounds, and it do not constitute an objective reality. The studies have indicated that there are two doctrines of the constructivism (Watson 55). The first tenet explains that to determine the human structure it is easier to consider the shared ideas rather than considering the material forces. The second tenet explains that the interests and identities of human beings are in most cases constructed. The identities and interest, therefore, are the products of the shared ideas and are hence not produced by nature. The ideas of constructivism undermine realism perspective, liberalism, Marxism, neoclassical economics and most of the political sciences (Acharya, 650).
The most significant idea found in the constructivism perspective is that of self-identity in its efforts of conducting an analysis of international relations. The idea refers to the way society defines itself, for instance, a society can be either an authoritarian, or a democratic society. When criticizing the other perspectives, for instance, the realism, constructivism argues that the realists neglected the essential part of the identity and focused particularly on the power considerations and material interests. Realists, in general, emphasize the interest while neglecting identity. However, the studies have indicated that many states-centric realists acknowledge the impact and essence of identity in a nation’s behavior, for instance, the nature of the domestic political system (Acharya, 650).
Which model of development (Modernization Theory or Dependency Theory) best describes the causes of current LDC (less developed countries)?
The dependency theory explains that the current LDC economic conditions are because other countries are developed. The international economic systems according to the dependency theory are the key factors to consider when understanding the persistent global deficiency. According to the dependency theory, the economic growths that are experienced in the developed world are the cause of poverty that is persistent in the Third World countries. The theory explains that most of the LDCs are not poor when compared with the developed and industrialized world. The reasons for the deficiency experienced in LDC is because Western Europe and North America transformed the economies of Africa, Asia, and Latin America by colonizing them, forming imperialism and through the use of extractive terms of trade (Chador 109).
The dependency theory argues that the capitalism changed the social structures of the LDCs. The facts were through the ceaseless searching for profits by the developed nations, production of agricultural products in plantations and the Western Europe ability to drive unequal bargaining. According to the theory, the exploitations of LDCs by the developed nations for their raw materials and labor made them poor and hence dependent on the West. Some arguments support that the West have depended on the LDCs for them to prosper economically enhancing their rate of growth. For instance, slaves were traded from Africa to work in plantations of slave owners without payments. Slaves were used in producing profitable commodities for the landowners like cotton and sugar improving the welfare of the landowners at the expense of slaves from LDCs (Watson 69).
The majority of the poor nations produce goods that were consumed by the developed nations and benefited minimally from their produce. For instance, Haiti is one of the poorest nations in the Northern Hemisphere but produces almost half of the sugar, coffee, indigo and cotton that are consumed in America and Europe. The LDCs that mine natural resources currently also produced tin, iron, bauxite, metals and other minerals that were used in industries of the West. All these examples indicate that dependency theory bests explain the current LDC’s economy conditions that are at the cost of developments in the developed nations (Stiglitz 103).
Modernization Theory best assesses the nature of North-South economic relationships
The relationship is in that the North economy, which is by far developed tries to attract the southern to embrace the models of capitalism, innovation, and technology to be at the same level of development and economic prosperity. Formation of a trade agreement between North-South is an indication of the southern region intentions and ideas to grow at the same level economic wise to that of the Northern region. The theory supports competition through opening up markets, pursuing profits as a result of saving on costs and hence resulting in increments of revenues. The revenues generated are then reinvested to generate more profits and consequently, the continuous accumulations results in increased economic growth (Burchill 35).
Acharya, Amitav. “Global International Relations (IR) And Regional Worlds.” International Studies Quarterly 58.4 (2014): 647-659.
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Chodor, Tom. Neoliberal Hegemony and the Pink Tide in Latin America: Breaking Up with TINA?. Palgrave Macmillan, 2014.
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