Structuralism I. Analytical Focus of Structuralism



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Structuralism

I. Analytical Focus of Structuralism

II. The Evolution of Structuralism

III. Contemporary Arguments in Favor of Neostructural Policies

IV. Contemporary Arguments Against Neostructural Policies

V. Examples of Successes & Failures

I. Analytical Focus of Structuralism

  1. A. Groups (or classes in Marxist sense) the key actors in IPE

  2. B. Class self-preservation, enrichment, and freedom are central goals

  3. C. Economic equality is a crucial government goal:

  4. in its own right

  5. as a means to improved circumstances within the international sphere

  6. as a potential means toward human freedom

  7. D. States that ignore the above do so at their own peril:

  8. Government leaders that fail to resolve inequalities face potential revolutionary threats

II. The Evolution of Structuralism

  1. A. Classical Marxism

  2. emerged in the mid-1800s as a critique of liberalism (Karl Marx, Friedrich Engels, &, later, Vladimir Lenin)

  3. saw market-oriented economic exchange as a positive-sum game in which productivity would expand while its abundance would go toward ownership (the bourgeoisie) and not towards workers (the proletariat)

  4. For Marx, this class conflict would eventually produce a workers’ revolution in the advanced capitalist economies

  5. For Lenin, imperialist competition among industrial powers would spark potential revolutionary situations in poorer countries

  6. recommended policy goals:

  7. maximization of workers’ position in short run via labor unions

  8. creation of a stateless, classless society in the long run in which private property would be abolished & the state would vanish

  9. major policies

  10. trade unionism & consciousness-raising (K.Marx):

  11. unions could increase bargaining power & push politically for a reduction of working week and in use of child labor
  12. vanguard revolutionary party (V.Lenin):

  13. a secretive movement that could take over government & use the power of the state to create socialism and, later, communism

II. (cont.)

  1. B. Marxian Structuralism

  2. emerged over 1945-1975 as a critique of market capitalism’s effect on late-industrializing countries of the “Third World”

  3. Andre Gunder Frank

  4. saw the industrialized “center” (or “core”) of wealthy countries exploiting the less industrialized “periphery” via colonialism and, later, neocolonial practices

  5. in this sense, it updates Lenin’s imperialism theory

  6. recommended policy goals:

  7. attainment of human freedom via the pursuit of economic equality among individuals and among states

  8. major policies:

  9. the creation of Marxist-inspired revolution at home

  10. the abolition of private property and the end to market relations could create more economic equality
  11. the pursuit of international cooperation among socialist states

  12. deemed necessary to escape exploitation and to create a trading bloc outside the market-oriented realm of the global economy
  1. C. Contemporary Neostructuralism

  2. emerged over 1945-1975 as a critique of market capitalism’s effect on late-industrializing countries of the “Third World”

  3. Raul Prebisch, Osvaldo Sunkel, Peter Evans

  4. saw the industrialized “center/core” of wealthy countries gaining unequally from trade with the less industrialized “periphery”

  5. the Prebisch-Singer thesis in economics asserts that the “terms of trade” between industrial goods and primary commodities are unequal over time (more on this in section III.)

  6. recommended policy goals:

  7. the creation of an industrial base to escape negative terms of trade

  8. the pursuit of structural reforms to promote advancement of individual equality of opportunity and outcome within states

  9. willing to accept the possibility of inflationary risk

  10. major policies:

  11. protectionist trade policies

  12. promotion of alliances among government, domestic business, and foreign business

III. Contemporary Arguments in Favor of Neostructural Policies

  1. A. The Terms of Trade Thesis

  2. the purchasing power of primary commodities loses ground to industrial goods over time

  3. Does it?
    It depends on which time period we examine and which commodity prices and manufacturing prices we choose to track. It does in several situations.

  4. B. Commodity Dependence & Volatility

  5. countries largely dependent on 1 or 2 commodity exports find that their earnings are extremely volatile

  6. this volatility disrupts the entire economy and makes both medium-run private investment and medium-run public planning difficult – even amid a market-oriented framework




IV. Contemporary Arguments Against Neostructural Policies

  1. A. The Neoliberal Critique

  2. Communism should be pronounced dead because

  3. communist-led governments pursued inefficient policies

  4. communist-led governments reduced human freedom

  5. Less radical neostructuralism should be rejected because it calls for essentially neomercantilist policies

  6. protectionism hurts consumers & can lead to an inefficient allocation of resources

  7. B. The World Government Critique

  8. Communism failed & successful economic nationalism is difficult because of core’s opposition

  9. the progressive alternative involves not autarky or protection but rather a substantial reform in major international IGOs

V. Examples of Successes & Failures

  1. What are some examples of successful & failed structuralist or neostructuralist policies?



table on Starting Late: a Brazilian example





1950

1975

Annual Growth per Capita

U.S.

$8,000

$13,100

2.0%

Brazil

$750

$1,860

3.7%


NOTE: figures are for GNP per capita in real US dollars


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