1 (a). Ideological Perspectives in the National Political Economy
Barry Clark talks about four perspectives in the book "Political Economy" talks about four perspectives in the field of political economy. The four perspectives are; classical liberal, radical, conservative and modern liberal perspectives (Clark, 1998). The radical and conservative perspectives are particularly interesting.
The radical perspective emerged in the industrial era in Western Europe. There are six main people who are attributed to the formulation and advance of radicalism. The first is Jean Jacques Rousseau who stated that the engagement of people in the society was crucial to the progress of the society. Karl Marx stated that the economy of a community highly influenced all other sectors of the society. Edward Bernstein rejected capitalism stating that it was immoral, he advocated for socialism. Thorstein Veblen supported emerging technologies but noted that capitalism was limiting the effect of new technologies (Clark, 1998). Vladimir Lenin supported socialism and advocated for a revolution in Russia to support his idea of socialism. Jurgen Habermas stated that people have three main desires which are; the need to control the environment, the need to communicate better and the need to improve social conditions that are not favorable to them.
Principles of radicalism include human nature. Human nature goes beyond the individual, it is affected by the environment that the individual is in. Society consists of the relations that exist among the people in the society. The government, in radicalism, is a means for people to achieve objectives collectively. Actions that negatively affect other people are considered to be immoral. Freedom is achieved in a suitable and respectful environment. Democracy, in the radical perspective, is the only viable way to establish authority in the society. Taxation and the control of properties are some of the ways of achieving equality. Justice and efficiency are ways of achieving development in the community. Barry Clark explored radicalism in the evolved world where he broke it down to institutional economics, the post-Marxian theory and social economics (Clark, 1998).
The conservative perspective is the view where the person resorts to tradition and set rules when faced with a new change. At the end of the 19th century, conservatives were against industrialization and any other factors that upset the normal order of things. Conservative view has changed over the decades due to a change in the type of problems that exist. During the emergence of socialism in Russia, most conservatives ended up supporting capitalism because it was the lesser of two evils. Notable people in the development of conservative view include Edmund Burke who advocated for the formation of institutions to govern the actions of people (Clark, 1998). Thomas Carlyle stated that commercial endeavors were a threat to the whole idea of civilization since it encouraged competition among people. Vilfredo Pareto argued that power cannot be shared and that it belonged to the elites in the ruling class of the society. Joseph Schumpeter advocated for the retention of the power of government over economic and entrepreneurial processes without the influence of other forces such as democracy. Leo Strauss who at first was against the concept of democracy later accepted the inevitability of democracy but advocated for leaders to be autonomous in the performance of duties (Clark, 1998). Michael Oakeshott was of the idea that economic activities should be separated from government activities.
According to the conservative approach, humans need authority to live in a community. Hierarchy is important in the formation of a society. Conservatives believe that the government should be respected. Conservatives emphasize on the preservation of power relations as they are, any changes are likely to be opposed by conservatives.
1 (b). Practical Strengths and Limitations of the Conservative Perspective
Promotion of ethics is one strength of Conservatism. The conservative perspective promotes aspects of maintenance of high ethical standards in the society (Mingst & Arreguin-Toft, 2013). In the conservative perspective, the acquisition of wealth should be though legitimate means. The maintenance of ethics ensures that there is fairness in the acquisition and distribution of resources. People get what they work for. The promotion of ethics enables the prevention of aspects such as exploitation. In the past, during the industrialization era and with the spread of capitalism, there was too much focus on the acquisition of wealth to the point of ignoring the needs of the people at the bottom. In America, during the late 19th century and early 20th century, there was exploitation of workers in factories. A reduction of the viability of agriculture came as a result of increased industrialization. People moved from rural areas to urban areas only to suffer from poor working and living conditions.
Maintenance of natural cultures is also a strength of conservatism. Conservatism advocates for the use of already existing systems (Mingst & Arreguin-Toft, 2013). The perspective encourages the use of the government and other traditional systems to push forward the society. The use of these systems is cheaper because no expenditure goes to the creation of new systems. Another advantage of this is efficiency, governments have already been in existence for a long time, so there is experience on how to deal with any issues that come up. The governments are therefore more effective and take less time.
Another strength is that conservatives highly value morality (Mingst & Arreguin-Toft, 2013). Morality is a strength since it leads to the push for a better society. The emphasis on morality ensures that people do things out of their consideration of other people. Unlike in other perspectives, the promotion of morality in this perspective leads to a more just society. The idea of capitalism is based on taking advantage of other people for the benefit of the individuals at the top. The promotion of morality ensures that everyone in the community is catered for. The promotion of morality leads to increased participation in the society since everyone feels like they are part of the society.
Conservatism has two major limitations. The first is that conservatism ignores the principles of equality and individualism. Conservatives believe that there are humans that are meant to be in leadership while everyone else is being led (Mingst & Arreguin-Toft, 2013). The principle of equality is crucial in the modern world. The promotion of a perspective that is based on the discrimination of people is, therefore, a huge limitation. Conservatism, therefore, is resented due to its promotion of inequality. The other principle that conservatism ignores is the principle of individualism. Conservatism is based on the utilization of systems of leadership where people follow set rules without deviation. Conservatism further promotes the idea of people acting together in groups. Coordination is important in the realization of conservative aims. In current times, however, more societies have taken up the principle of individualism. People want to act on their own without having to do as other people do. The promotion of individualism has led to the decrease in the people who adopt the principle of conservatism.
Another limitation is the inability to have cultural renewals (Mingst & Arreguin-Toft, 2013). Cultures in the past ha aspects of divisions among people based on the location, nationality and skin color. In recent times, there has been a reduction in the barriers that exist among people. The modern society is based on values of unity and breaking of barriers. Conservatives have therefore been considered to be racist for practicing cultures that are not relevant anymore. The association of conservatism with negative acts of division in the society has led to opposition against the perspective.
2 (a). Theories of International Political Economy
Two of the main theories of the international political economy is the theory of realism and the theory of liberalism. The theory of realism views people as selfish beings. This theory states that countries are always in pursuit of selfish interests even if this might be at the expense of other countries. The theory takes on a "we" vs. "them" approach where foreigners are seen as a threat to the prosperity of the country. According to this theory, all countries are looking for power to achieve dominance in the world (Guzzini, 2013). The achievement of this power is achieved through economic domination. Economic and political dominance can be attained through the use of force or legislation such as apartheid in South Africa. Three main constructs illustrate the theory of realism. These constructs are colonialism, mercantilism, and neo-colonialism.
Colonialism is the process of gaining power over underdeveloped countries. Colonialism was carried out by developed European countries. Colonialism entailed the forcing of European ideas upon natives of the colonized countries. European countries used force to exploit the resources and labor that were available in the third world countries. The resources and labor were used to increase the military capacities of the developed countries and further the selfish efforts of the countries such as accumulation of resources in European countries and prevent the development of the dominated countries (Guzzini, 2013).
Mercantilism focuses on the domination of certain industries by protecting them from competition (Guzzini, 2013). Mercantilism opposes efforts of free markets. Free markets are seen as a threat to political power and dominance of the country. States will pursue economic activities that are in their interest and often at the expense of the other party.
Neocolonialism is the acquisition of power through other organizations apart from the government. International organizations use their political and economic power to drive the achievement of selfish objectives. The organizations influence the implementation of policies that might not be in the best interest of the citizens of the affected country (Guzzini, 2013).
The theory of liberalism takes an approach that is different from that of realism. This theory advocates for the promotion of world peace. According to this theory, politics and economics are dependent on each other, and therefore they need to work together in the achievement of international integration (Guzzini, 2013). Liberals look forward to the achievement of a more ideal and safer world. The achievement of integration is mainly through economic coordination of countries. Integration, according to this theory is achieved through Non-Governmental organizations and Multi-National Corporations. These organizations lead to interdependence among the countries.
The operations of multinational corporations across different countries lead to the acquisition of similar commercial objectives. Companies such as apple that have production lines that span different countries will lead to integration since the affiliated countries will not engage in hostilities since they benefit from the same system. Liberalism reduces the role of the government and instead focuses more on independent international organizations (Guzzini, 2013).
Critiques of liberalism have noted that Multinational corporations might be used in the advancement of mercantilism. The international organizations may exploit the resources of the less developed countries to achieve more profits which benefit the home country (Guzzini, 2013). Non-Governmental organizations may also use their political power to influence legislation in less developed countries.
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