The Global Political Economy
The course provides an investigation into the contemporary problems and ways of understanding the global political economy. You will examine different ways of understanding important issues such as the 2009 global financial crisis, sustainable development, and the rise of China.
An understanding of the workings of the global political economy is vital for understanding the world today: from the relationships between leading states such as the United States and China, through contemporary crises such as COVID-19, to the current politics of the environment, the global political economy is a fundamental touchpoint.
The course examines the politics of the global economy, so is not narrowly about economics or politics, but the interconnections between these two fields of study. You will obtain an understanding of the structures and evolution of the contemporary global political economy, drawing on a variety of perspectives from the social sciences.
The course begins with an introduction to theories and the historical development of the present global political economy. You will examine the important dynamics of the global political economy, such as trade, finance, labour and production. The course also places much emphasis on development and the environment. You will also focus on how the global political economy impacts peoples’ everyday life in terms of issues such as poverty and exclusion.
At the centre of the course is an investigation of how the global political economy is undergoing vast changes in relation to globalisation. You will investigate the ways in which such changes affect different actors in the global political economy, such as states, international institutions, transnational corporations and non-governmental organisations. A core issue surrounds the possibility of a change in the leadership of the global political economy, with the central role of the United States challenged by a variety of other states and regional arrangements.
You will investigate the various interests of these actors in relation to urgent global problems such as poverty, debt and global inequalities, both in terms of understanding the problems themselves and ways in which such problems might be managed and alleviated.
You will engage with the course through interactive lectures, student-led seminars and workshops. The course is examined through the development of a long final essay, on a topic of your choosing. The development of the final examination is done through the production of smaller papers on different aspects of the problem that are then developed in seminars through peer and instructor feedback.