Marxism and Structuralism Assignment

Marxism and Structuralism Assignment Words: 1876

Marxism and Structuralism: ???Marx ? concerned with causes of conflict in society and believed that it was the result of struggle between different socio-economic classes. ???saying capitalism as a bondage from which people strive to be liberated. ???Theory of history based on historical materialism, where the system of economic production determined structures of society. All history was the history of class struggle between a ruling group, from which [came] a new economic, political and social system. Before capitalism, ownership of land formed the basis of political power – feudalism, followed by Capitalism which also contained the seeds of its own destruction. ???Capitalism built on principles of private ownership and the pursuit of profit. Conflict between Bourgeois and Proletarian classes ??? between those who owed the means of production and those who worked in return for a wage. The difference between what proletariat produced and wages known as ? surplus value / or profit ??? and capitalism driven by the accumulation of this surplus value or profit. surplus value achieved through search for new markets, constantly driving down wages to extract more surplus value from their workers, or by replacing labour with new technologies – eg machines ???Capitalism would collapse as workers became too poor to afford the goods that they themselves produced and as new markets were exhausted ? leading to revolutionary change. ???Capitalism ? manipulative with in-built tensions and contradictions which would cause it to collapse. ???Human societies made up of various institutions which changed over time with economics as the main driving force.

Collapse of Capitalism would lead to a socialist order with extensive government control over production and distribution until the last elements of capitalism were removed from society. Finally the state would wither away with the establishment of a communist system. ???Link later: “Human history for Marx is a laborious struggle to satisfy basic material needs, to understand and tame natural forces, to gain control over alienating and exploitative social systems and to overcome estrangement from the members of other societies”. ???Relevance of the work of Marx and Engels is to international level as well as to domestic level.

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As Jackson and Sorenson state: “Because classes cut across State borders conflict is not confined to States; instead it expands around the world in the wake of capitalism”. ???Viotti and Kauppi see four key characteristics of what they call globalism: ???the significance of the global environment ???the historical perspective ???the quest to understand the distribution of power and wealth ???and the focus on economics ??? especially in terms of North-South relations Structural theories’ aims were to give an account of the political and economic subordination of the South to the North ??? eg: ?

Dependency Theory: ? Centre-Periphery/Core-Periphery analysis: ? World Systems analysis and Sometimes referred to as ? Scientific Marxism, Structural Marxism, neo-Marxism. All share notion that the North and South are in a Structural Relationship with one another ie both areas are part of a structure that determines the pattern of relationships that emerges. Structuralism is a general theory of IR but also a Southern theory in two senses: (a) it actually originated in the South, and (b) its subject area is explicitly geared towards the problems and interests of the South ? alls for justice ???Hazel Smith: “Neomarxist explanations of international politics provide a broad framework of analysis which considers class as a major factor in international relations [and] economic relationships as the key dynamics and international justice and equality as the most important normative concerns”. Hobson and Lenin provided further insights: Hobson: “Imperialism assumes an international, hiearchical division of labour between rich and poor regions of the world, but the relation in not one of mutually benefical comparative advantage … [but] it is one of exploitation”.

Hobson argued that Capitalist societies produced far more than they were able to consume and so investment opportunities in other develoiped countries remained limited. The solution was to invest in what became know as” the Third World and the result was imperialism. For Hobson, imperialism did not benefit the country as a whole but only a selected group of industrialists and financiers. Lenin’s regarded Imperialism as the highest stage of Capitalism ??? was interested to explain “the necessity for capitalist exploitation of lesser developed countries and the causes of war among advanced capitalist states”.

Also accepted that underconcumption and overproduction caused capitalists to look for markets in the less developed states and to engage in Imperialism. Lenin also believed that imperialist policies reflected the existence of monopoly and finance capital. “capitalism had developed such that oligopolies and monopolies controlled the key sectors of the economy”, pushing out the smaller and bleeding the domestic markets dry and so this led to the need to look elsewhere for investment opportunities.

Marx believed that the growth of proletarian consciousness would result in revolution within capitalist countries. But for Lenin, imperialism explained why Marx’s revolution had failed to come about. The tensions within capitalism still existed but Imperialism provided the capitalists with a breathing space. Dependency Theory: Prominence in the 1960s ??? coincided with decolonization process. Cold War competition meant that West was keen to ensure that former colonial states did not fall into the hands of communist regimes and encouraged these newly independent states to develop capitalist economies.

Dependencia School emerged from the efforts of Latin American intellectuals to show that their societies could not catch up to the levels of development that the rich Western states of North America and Western Europe ? even though they had followed the advice of the rich West. World System Theory: Immanuel Wallerstein argued that the world system could not be understood in isolation and that a generally or holistic approach was compulsory. The mini-systems (eg hunter, farmer, career etc) have been consumed up by larger systems of social, economic and political organization ? he latest of which according to Wallerstein is the World System which comes in 2 types World Empire and World – Economy. At first the gap between the core and periphery were small, but gradually this widened as more and more of the core countries concentrated on manufactured goods and the periphery increased its reliance on primary production. This has led to uneven development across the world, and the existence of a First and Third World was not the result of historical evolution of societies but rather the direct result of the capitalist world system.

Steans and Pettiford summaries Structuralism: 1. the nature of international relations is profoundly shaped by the structure of the capitalist world economy, or capitalist world system 2. International politics is shaped or even determined by economic factors 3. The main actors are states, multinational and transnational corporations and transnational social classes 4. The state reflects the interests of the dominant classes rather than there existing a genuine national interest 5. Capitalism is a fundamentally unjust social and economic order which generates conflict and disharmony 6.

Capitalism is characterized by internal contradiction and is subject to periodic crises. Marxist and neo-Marxist theories ? mixed lucks in IR. Structuralism resembles realism for the following reasons: a) both highlights conflict as a central process in international relations, b) Both structuralism and neo-realism share the view that conflict is structural because of the framework in which inter-state relations take place, c) Structuralism also shares ground with Liberalism because they both place great emphasis on the interdependence between states and the importance of non-state actors.

But, differences also: a) realism ? conflict is due to anarchic structure ???and in structuralism conflict is outstanding to conflict in the global economy and the way in which relations are structure. b) This also explains structuralism’s differences from Liberalist emphasis on interdependence and co-operation. c) Greater emphasis on connections between economic and politics than in realism. Structuralism: Whose interests does the STATE represent?

Structuralisms argue that analysis would be better focused on social classes and the nature of transnational alliances among elites pretty than analyzing the States themselves. In a superficial sense they resemble the realists in recognising the importance of the state in IR. However, rather than seeing the state as a sovereign power representing its own interests in international relations str. claim that the state in some ways represents the interests of the dominant social classes. There is, however, disagreement among str thinkers s to whether the state is dominated by social elites or whether it exercises a degree of autonomy. Even if we accept that the state has a degree of autonomy, the state is nevertheless, compelled to deal with the political and economic contradictions inherent in capitalism and so is never able to completely escape the constraints imposed by the global capitalist system. There is also the question of the overarching global economy as a constraining or determining factor in State behavior.

Structuralists like Immanuel Wallerstein make a distinction between core and periphery states arguing that in the core, the state is relatively strong, but functions to advance the interests of the bourgeoisie by preventing other states erecting political barriers to the profitability of their activities. Core states, then, shape the world market in ways that advance the interests of some entrepreneurs. Core states co-operate with each other, therefore, to extend and deepen the world capitalist system.

The most powerful ones, for example, work through certain international institutions to ensure the survival of an international capitalist economy which benefits elite classes across the globe. So though states are important – the study of international relations must also extend to a range of other actors like the World Bank, the IMF and MNCs as well. Criticisms of Marxist Theories ???general assumption in International Relations that Marxist theories have had little to offer the analyst. Realists criticise Marxism for being predominantly concerned with modes of production and class structure and conflict rather than national loyalties, state power and geopolitical competition. Linklater: “A failure to understand these phenomena meant that Marxists were wrong to think that capitalist globalisation would be the prelude to a more cosmopolitan world”. ???Realists point to the way in which the Soviet system adopted the traditional realist methods of state-craft to promote national security and survival – namely diplomacy, power maximisation and so on.

However, having said this, more recently students of international relations have become increasingly concerned with the points raised by Marxists. World Systems theory, Dependency Theory have forced IR to analyse the questions of global inequality which result from the capitalist world economy and urged a new moral dimension in IR thought. ???Furthermore we need to question what actually leads to dependency ???Realists would argue that structuralists have an over-reliance on economics: and they would argue that it is the security system that determined the economic system and not vice versa. Structuralists cannot account for successful countries like Brazil, Singapore or Japan. ???Critics also question the value preferences of the structuralists and complain that they are too normative and ultimately offer little by way of solutions. ???Furthermore, there is a concern amongst the critics of structuralism that much of their literature tends to increase 3rd world nationalism against the West rather than addressing the real issues of under-development. ???Alien to US academia ? largely due to the Cold War ???Concentrating on class ignores other issues such as gender, race and nationalism.

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