Free Research Paper On Envisioning A New World Order With Economic Structuralism

Type of paper: Research Paper

Topic: World, Economics, Countries, Politics, Realism, Art, Wellness, United States

Pages: 5

Words: 1375

Published: 2020/10/11

Envisioning a New World Order with Economic Structuralism

It is a fact that the on-going world order advances the interests of the rich while the poor majority are plunged into further poverty. The world’s civil society is clamouring for a new system in economy, politics, and culture. The Global South as a term for the developing countries is demanding the stoppage of the unipolar world order where the United States of America is a reigning power. Regional and international landscape of economy alone is deemed exploitative in the context of globalization. In the midst of the said situation is a spectrum of ideologies offering different lenses in viewing and addressing the situation. These ideologies are either promoting or rejecting the status-quo. Some of these ideologies are realism, liberalism, economic structuralism, and rationalism. Let us try to scrutinize every ideology before deciding which side are we on based on the principles of each theory and their applications in the real world.


Rourke, J. in his book entitled, “International Politics on the World Stage,” realism is a pessimist line where realist view the world as it is. They believe that global politics is driven by the interest to grab power and resources. In this mind-set, it is a reality that states and countries in power have to strengthen their military and economic state while competing against other countries. Rourke also mentioned that in the state’s struggle for power, it is always a phenomenon that there are countries that will fall victims of exploitation. Realists according to Rourke see humanity as a relative concept which differs per context with consideration to religion and culture.
There are two types of realism namely the Classic Realism and the Neorealism. Classic Realism as explained by Rourke is a pessimist mind-set as they believe that human beings have innate dark side. Rourke wrote:
“political struggle among human’s is probably inevitable because people have an inherent dark sideInternational politics has always been ruthless and dangerous business and it is likely to remain this way” (21).
Neorealism on the other hand believes that the problem in the international landscape is the anarchic system with no overarching mechanism to regulate the structures in at the international level. At this point, neo-realists promote a unipolar world order where one state dictates its regulatory mechanism over other countries and regions.
With that as a basis, realists have lost their hope in the good nature of human beings. Realism does capture the situation of the global system as it is true that powerful countries want to dominate the world. The continuous fervour of the United States of America to push for its hegemony through reinforcing its military power in countries where they can extract more resources is a concrete example. However, realists are stuck with all the negative judgement of human nature that they cannot offer anything to change the realistic landscape of the global economy, politics, and culture.


Liberalism is exactly the opposite of realism as it offers alternatives for the world order. Compared to realists, liberals are optimistic and they have hope for achieving the harmony between states through cooperation on the grounds of mutual gains. According to Harvard Law Review (1989), the international landscape is naturally harmonious and peaceful. The wars between political powers it added are just an accident. States around the world perseveres for peaceful coexistence. “Misperception” however could lead to war. Moreover, in achieving peace and development, liberals believe that states should institutionalize cooperation. Therefore, international conventions, treaties, and other bodies are meant for collaboration rather than division. World Images on the other hand explained that liberals promote a pluralistic approach with World Affairs. Liberalism unlike realism it added push for an inclusive view of global politics. Harvard Law Review (1989) moreover stated that liberals favor a hegemonic world order in achieving peace. It added that:

“In this liberal view, the chief instrument of peace would be the United Nations” (642).

Liberal organizations at the regional and international arena conduct civil society consultations on the pressing world issues like the end of the Millennium Development Goals. They consult their national networks on the situations of the countries of the Global South after the expiration of the development goals agreed twenty years ago. After the consultations, they make their own reports and submit it to the inter-governmental process of the Post-2015 development agenda. Liberals always pinpoint the inequalities of the Global North and the Global South in terms of the access to land, resources, and opportunities. The liberal feminists view the inequalities in a gendered perspective. They press on the rising inequality between men and women in the context of globalization.
World Images added that the United Nations and other international organizations matter in a way that it should not only address the interests of the states. These organizations should provide avenues for the most neglected race, sectors, and countries to demand political change. Moreover, realism advances a global civil society that does not exclude. The term civil society for them means a mixture of independent organizations from the spectrum of ideologies that include feminists, human rights activists, environmental activists, and organizations from the business sector.

Economic Structuralism

Economic Structuralism is inspired by theorists like Karl Marx who view the world in the lens of class and power. This theory looks at the distribution of wealth with the rich capitalists as forces that always try to amass as much profit as they can. It sees governments as controlled by powerful class that runs it according to their interests. It views the world order in a manner that the capital-rich countries compete with one another and exploit those with least capital. World Images added that Marxists and non-Marxists who believe in economic structuralism unite with the view of the world with the existence of exploitation of capitalists against workers and peasants; of rich against poor; and of the Global North against the Global South.
D’Anieri, P. in his book entitled “International Politics: Power and Purpose in Global Affairs” mentioned that Economic Structuralism rejects the idea of liberalism of collaboration. Whether or not collaboration will lead to common good, economic structuralism disagrees with the idea. D’Anieri mentioned:
“They view most international cooperation between rich states as collaboration at the expense of the poor. When the rich cooperate with the poor the gains from cooperation are divided disproportionately in favour of the rich” (111).
In the context of globalization, World Image explained that economic structuralism view believe that the rich countries or the countries of the Global North are making maximizing their profits from the poor countries of the Global South through extraction of natural resources, unfair trade policies, and cheap labor. One example of this relation is Wal-Mart of the U.S. outsourced labor in countries like Bangladesh. Recently, the world was hit by disheartening news of a garment factory in Bangladesh eaten by fire killing more than 100 people. Most of them were women garment workers. French, J. & Martin, M. (2013) in their journal article entitled “The Roof is on Fire: The Ethical Minefield of the Textile Industry in Bangladesh” cited Wal-Mart’s representative saying:

“That’s why we outsourced the production of textiles to BangladeshWe can produce textiles at a third of the price” (76).

The journal also added that a textile worker in Bangladesh is earning about US$55 to US$60 a month which is only 30% of the minimum wage of Bangladesh workers. The country has around 4,500 garment factory workers to which most of them are young women.
This situation explains the character of the rich capitalists being greedy of profit as explained the theory. Thus, for economic structuralism, structural change should be radical and it should not come from cooperation. It believes that change will only happen when the economic power lies in the hands of the exploited classes. For the Marxists, they believe that a communist society where there is no class will solve the systemic inequality.


Rationalism was derived from the ideas of realism and liberalism but in the context of the global society. It conceives the world as naturally anarchical that without a central governing body, it will stay anarchic. However, it does not encourage a unipolar system but an international village governed with the core principles of morality and ethics.

Towards a New World Order

The global situation according to the economic structuralism is indeed ruled by the rich classes not only in the domestic arena but also in the global arena. There are already countries that have defied the current order of economy, politics, and culture. These countries include Cuba and North Korea. The prosperity of Cuba in terms of social services cannot be discounted. Recently, its number one enemy which is the U.S. entered partnership with them because of their need to treat the victims of Ebola Virus. They did not reach the said status without difficulty. The people and its government strived hard to survive when they are still in the beginning of transition. That example alone will give the world a message that a radical change is possible. A new world order that favors the most exploited classes of the world.
In the journal article of Reuveny, R. and Thompson, W. (2008), it tackled the on-going economic gap between the Global North and the Global South. They cited the argument on “Northern Vampirism” which emphasizes that the wealth of the North is possible because of its hundreds of years of exploitation against the resources of the Global South. They added that the North cannot give up the long-running set-up thus, it lies in the hands of the countries of the Global South the break their dependence on the north.


D’Anieri, Paul, “International Politics: Power and Purpose in Global Affairs,” Second Edition,Wadsworth Cengage Learning, 2012:
French, Joseph & Martin, Micheal. “The Roof is on Fire: The Ethical Minefield of the Textile Industry in Bangladesh.” Journal for the International Academy for Case Studies 19, no. 7 (2013). 75-87.
Harvard Law Review Association. “Realism, Liberalism, and the War Powers Review.” Harvard Law Review 102, no. 3 (1989). 637-657.
Newmann, Bill. “Theories of International Political Economy.”
Reuveny, Rafael & Thompson, William R. “Uneven Economic Growth and the World Economy’s North-South Stratification.” International Studies Quarterly, 52 (2008). 579-605.
Rourke, John T., “International Politics on the World Stage.” Twelfth Edition,,%20Liberalism,%20Constructivism.pdf
“IR Paradigms, Approaches and Theories, O-Z.” USC Libraries website. Last Modified 13 Mar. 2013.

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