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International Political Economy - Essay Example

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Ttreault and Abel (1998: p. 3) identify two important realities in modern international political economy namely material and ideological realities. These realities are both absolutely real and occupy the same space at the same time and none of them is destined to predominate the other…
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International Political Economy
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International Political Economy

(Ttreault and Abel, 1998: p. 3).
With reference to the material reality individual actors are expected to be pursuing their self-interest through bargaining and the interplay of the market. (Ttreault and Abel, 1998: p. 3). Similarly considering the ideological reality one would expect to see a multi-faceted order and its potential for improving overall production and wealth skewed in various ways to provide different sorts of short-term advantages for those who can manipulate the system to conform to specific goals. (Ttreault and Abel, 1998: p. 3). For instance the flow of resources, the availability of money as well as the cost of doing business can be manipulated, even by weak countries if they seize the right moment. While the material reality may be evolving toward a complex interactive system, such an outcome serves to justify and describe one way or another to rig the system to a particular advantage rather than to structure a mutually beneficial international economic order likely to raise overall global wealth but unlikely to generate individual distinction or preeminence for particular countries. (Ttreault and Abel, 1998: p. 3).
Dependency theory refer to a set of theories, which maintained that third world countries fail to attain adequate and sustainable levels of development as a result of their dependence on the advanced capitalist economies. (Scott and Marshall, 2005). Built upon Lenin's theories of imperialism, the theory focused upon the economic penetration of the third world particularly Latin America by the large capitalist economies. (Lievesley, 2003). Dependency theory was developed in 1960 and called into question the structural developmentalism associated with Raul Presbish as well as the United Nations Economic Commission for Latin America (ECLA), which emerged in 1948 in Santiago, Chile. (Lievesley, 2003).
According to the ECLA, the world was regarded as divided into center (the developed, industrialized North) and the periphery (the underdeveloped agricultural South) and the relationship between them was determined by the structure of the world economy. (Lievesley, 2003). The economy of Latin America concentrated on the production of primary inputs for export to the developed industrialized North. Presbish later discovered that instead of a mutually advantageous relationship between North and South, there was an unequal exchange with Latin American economies facing a long-term secular decline in their terms of trade thereby resulting in a chronic balance of payment deficits with the periphery having to export more and more in order to maintain the same levels of manufactured imports. (Lievesley, 2003). The figure in the following page represents the relationship between the developed industrialized North and the underdeveloped agricultural south.
Figure 1.
Dependency Theory

Core/Metropolitan Centre





Under development


Dependency Theory
Source: Lecture Notes.

Frank, a German Economist of development was the major contributor to dependency theory who in his book Capitalism and Underdevelopment in Latin America (1967), concentrated upon the external mechanisms of control exerted by the centre (or metropole) upon the periphery (or satellite). (Lievesley, 2003; Scott and Marshal, 2005). The centre maintained the periphery in a state of underdevelopment for ... Read More
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