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The international political economy of 'actually existing capitalism': Rethinking globalisation and the retreat of the state.

Bircham, Emma (2005) The international political economy of 'actually existing capitalism': Rethinking globalisation and the retreat of the state. PhD thesis, London School of Economics and Political Science (United Kingdom).

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Abstract

This thesis presents an alternative tradition of classical Marxism capable of understanding what appears to be a shift in power from states to markets over the last two decades. It provides a theory of international political economy which explains both state ownership and control of the economy and its relinquishment, as aspects of 'actually existing capitalism' on a global scale. It is argued that this approach is superior to both Weberian-influenced International Political Economy (IPE), and the current tradition of classical Marxism in International Relations (IR), in that it has the potential to provide a deeper understanding of the apparent 'retreat of the state' as an aspect of so-called 'globalization'. The core contribution of the thesis is a critique of the current classical Marxist approach in International Relations and the proposal of an alternative which differs in its analysis of the space, time and motion of capitalism. It is argued, through a rereading of Capital volumes 1 to 3, that this alternative is truer to Marx's intentions. It is further argued that this more nuanced understanding of capitalism is well-represented through the writings of Hilferding, Bukharin, and Lenin, and is identifiable, though underdeveloped, in the work of contemporary Marxists influenced by these theorists. This alternative tradition of classical Marxism provides an understanding of capitalism in phases of both 'nationalization' and 'privatization', deepening our understanding of capitalism as it 'actually exists'. The thesis has two main tasks. The first is to show that both Weberian-influenced IPE and classical Marxism in IR have an inadequate model of capitalism, a theoretical limitation that has become evident in the globalization debate over 'the retreat of the state'. The second is to suggest an alternative theory of capitalism based on a rereading of Capital volumes 1-3. This theory of 'actually existing capitalism' is better able to capture the complexity of changing state market-relations including what is superficially described as the 'retreat of the state'.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Uncontrolled Keywords: Political Science, International Relations, Economics, General
Sets: Collections > ProQuest Etheses
URI: http://etheses.lse.ac.uk/id/eprint/2908

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