You are required to write two essays over the course of the module, both of which should be of around 2,000 words in length. The two assignments are given below, and you are encouraged to bear both of them in mind right from the start of the module; throughout the course, you will need to consider the relevance to these assignments of each week�s teaching and recommended reading.
The assignments are designed so that the second one will build upon the first. This first assignment requires that you analyse one of the three major theoretical perspectives on international political economy (IPE), and one of the four �structures� of IPE. The second assignment requires that you apply the insights you have gained from the module thus far to one of the four most pressing global issues that confront decision makers today.
The essay submission deadlines fall a considerable time after the relevant material is delivered. However, these dates were chosen to coincide with the period when your coursework load is relatively light, and to give you adequate time to reflect on the material covered in both lectures and seminars. You are advised to begin work well in advance of these deadlines, particularly since the Programme Director rarely grants extensions.
The First Assignment
The first assignment, due on 24 January 2014, requires you to write an essay of around 2,000 words. The essay should consist of two separate parts (YOU HAVE TO COMPLETE BOTH PARTS), in response to the following:
Which of the three major theoretical perspectives on International Political Economy (IPE) � i.e. liberalism, mercantilism, and structuralism � best explains the emergence, development and consequences of the major IPE issues in the world today, and why?
Choose one of Susan Strange�s four �structures� that support the International Political Economy, and explain its origins. Outline the main features, and identify its most important political, economic and social actors. Finally, discuss the benefits the structure provided to those who founded it, and to those who manage it today.
In Part 1 you should provide a brief description and critical assessment of the three major theoretical perspectives on IPE that have been discussed in class: �liberalism� (related to �neoliberalism� and �Keynesianism�), �mercantilism� and �structuralism� (also known as a �Marxist� perspective). How do they differ from or complement each other? Which perspective is most convincing in explaining the recent developments in IPE, such as the global financial crisis, the problems of the European monetary union, the Syrian crisis, and the rise of emerging powers in world politics, and for what reasons? It is recommended that you read Part One of Balaam and Dillman (2011), as well as other academic sources, before attempting this part of the essay.
In Part 2 you should examine one of the four relationships or �structures� proposed by Susan Strange, a leading IPE thinker, that tie together nation-states and other actors, and link national and global markets. These structures are:
� The Production and Trade structure
� The International Monetary and Finance structure
� The Global Security structure, and
� The Knowledge and Technology structure
Which actors, and what sources of power, did they use to create the structure, and how has it been managed ever since? View your selected IPE structure as a network of arrangements, agreements, institutions and other relationships, and discuss how they connect the people of the world and shape the behaviour of states and markets. Provide answers to the simple question posed by Strange: �Who benefits?� This second part of the essay should be informed by the point of view you adopted in the first part. For this part of the essay, you should read Part Two of Balaam and Dillman (2011), as well as other academic sources.