You are on page 1of 16

Marxist Theory

Of International Relations
The Great Experiment had failed.
Bolshevik Revolution = Creation of USSR
Cold War = End of USSR
Marxist Theory = Dustbin of History
World = Liberal Democracy and Capitalist
But Marxist Thought refuses to go away
Two reasons for renaissance
Failure of USSR embarrassment to Marxist
USSR = Didnt truly follow Marx
Marxist now can promote communism without having
to defend USSR Behavior
Marxist Theory becoming more relevant in the
world of Globalization
All events take place in and are a consequence of the
Global Capital System
Many of Marx predictions of GCS are coming true
Elements of Marxism
Karl Marx
Communist Manifesto
Outlined and provided critical critique of Capitalism
Prophesized rise of working class socialist societies
Never discussed international relations
Schools of Thought emerged inspired by Marx
Four Major Strands have Developed that share Key
Marxist Ideology
Social World (Sciences) Should be viewed as a Totality
Non can be understood without the knowledge of
Materialist Conception of History
Historical change reflection of the economic
development of society
Means of Production conflict with Relations of
Production and forms Economic Base which will
determine the Superstructure of Society
Means of Production
The elements that combine in the production
process (Labor, tools, technology, etc)
Relations of Production
Link and organize the Means of Production
Technical and institutional relationships that allow
production process
Structure that govern process and control end
Economic Base
Economic system of a society = power and control
When one changes (MoP or RoP) then EB will be
forced to change
Political, legal, cultural, etc norms and
institutions grow out of and reflect and reinforce
the power and control of the economy
Four Marxist Theories
World-System Theory
Developed in response to
Monopoly Capitalism = capital becoming
consolidated in the hands of wealthy nations
Harmony of Interests = pacifying the working class
in the core with economic gain from the Periphery
Declining Terms of Trade
Price of Manufactured goods increased more
rapidly than that of raw materials
Periphery become poorer relative to the core
Takes more coffee grown to buy a refrigerator
Critical Theory
Challenges the prevailing order by seeking
out, analyzing, and where possible,
assisting social processes that can
potentially lead to emancipatory change
Born from Frankfurt School
Left-Wing German Jews
Nazism forced into exile, worked in the US
Focuses almost entirely on Superstructural
aspects of society
Cultural, bureaucracy, politics, family structure, etc
Argue working class has been absorbed by
the system and no longer is a treat to it
Results from rise of Mass Media and mass culture
New Marxism
Return to the fundamental tenets of Marxist
Critical of stands that distort or neglect original
Focuses on International Relations where Marx was
Justin Rosenberg main contemporary
International System changes with each new period
of time and Relations of Production
Relations of Production impact state society
State society interacts globally
Relations of Production impact global society
Change in Relation of Production in state will
impact international society
Benno Teschke Other Main Contemporary
Social Property Relations
Examines the way in which class relations,
forms of exploitation, and control of the
means of production have changed in
different historical epochs
Two major transformations in IR
Feudal System -> Early Modern (Monarchies)
Early Modern -> Modern (Capitalist States)
Globalization and Marxism
Marxism v. Globalization
Marxist dont deny the relevance and
importance of Globalization
Do deny that it is new or novel
Just latest phase of Capitalist expansion and
exploitation of non-capitalist or semi-capitalist
The Globe is dominate by capitalism, all
people and institutions are by capitalism
through globalization, as integration and
interdependence increase the trend will
continue to grow
Boarders may become obsolete, but
capitalism is still king