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Lecture 5

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University of Toronto Scarborough
Political Science
Sheldon Ungar

th POLB80- Lecture 5- October 9 2012.  Midterm only on this lecture and before that and reading from last week and before that.  It’s a big umbrella concept : Marxism  Did Marxism die after Soviet Union died? Why are we still talking about this? Marxism is still around in every country because there is in some way still Marxism. The ideology is still there. Socialism is a response to Marxism. We still have Marxism parties and still existing from historical times.  It’s very different. It exists in multiple assets through Marxism as a government philosophy – of Cuba, China, and North Korea. It’s a way to govern a country. There are still Marxism parties around.  Second, Marxism exists as a philosophy of history – As history unfolds, (Teleological meaning an inevitable end) it’s all about economic systems to a socialist utopian.  Third, is Model of politics of IR. Even though it’s on the wane as a philosophy, it’s still relevant today. It gives us a number of aspects on IR that is different from realist, liberalism and other IR theories.  Marxism begins with the writings of Marx.  Classical Marxism (old school Marxism) is historical theory. Marxism takes time and history to account. Liberalism and realism is older but Marxism is a historical theory. History plays a fundamental role in Marxism. History unfolds patterns for Marxism.  In realism and liberalism their stories happen over and over again, and the history is a series of events. It’s entirely a historical.  The answer for constructivism is always independence. How the process between context and actors depends on its historical aspect. It’s in between a historical and history.  Evolution of the means of production as a means of unfolding history for Marxism. (ex. Industrial revolution, capitalism) The core of it is how we make things and create wealth. They see the means of production unfold over time and who owns the evolution of production that shapes world politics.  Old school Marxism – is the march of history through an evolution of productions events over time. Capitalism triumphed over socialism. It’s an inevitable march of history. The second part really fallen out.  Contrast to Marxism - Agrarian countries forgot one step of industrialism to communism. Marxism says countries go through industrialism to be communism. China’s economic system is capitalism and not communism. Do we really have an actual communist country?  Scandinavia is a Social democratic country- not a pure Marxism. There’s social democracy.  4 big questions on Marxism:  Important actors are economic classes or classes, MNCs, capitalist elites. States are not the most important key in Marxism. The elite classes in countries have more in common with the same economic class in any other countries. States are not autonomous actors. They’re really a tool to transnational classes. States do whatever the higher transnational classes want them too. MNCs use the states too.  Economic interest and the state – When does the state lose autonomy? When is the state not an independent actor? Marxism states that states are not an independent actor. States are not an autonomous actor but in liberalism states are autonomous actors. Economic interest drives the states to act to make laws etc.  What came first the state behaviour or the economic interest? Are states really autonomous?  Marxism tells the story of the conflict between economic classes.  Second question: What’s the nature of this actor? Economic interest is their nature. What class you’re in identifies your interests and behaviour. The dominant economic interest determines your interests and behaviour.  What’s the context? No anarchy but a hierarchy. There are clear lines of authority and oppression. There’s inequality within states. This results to uneven development. The rich get richer and the poor get poorer. Its supports the dominants of particular states.  Key context in realism and liberalism is anarchy  Marxist look at power at a different way. The distribution of power is a stratified global system – a system that is has core states, semi-periphery, and periphery. Capitalism causes this stratified global system. They set up the global financial system. When countries develop they don’t get to see the fruits of their development. They don’t improve the people in their country instead they improve transnational corporations or MNCs.  What interaction does Marxism expect? They see lots of conflict because of the dynamics of capitalism. Conflicts between haves and have-nots, and within the haves. Second conflict is imperialism. Corporations need to expand in order to keep generating wealth or the whole thing falls apart. Developed countries need cheap labour to keep wages low in their own country. This is what makes the 18thand 19th century to lead to colonialism. Globalization is just a next phase to imperialism.  Marxism has trouble explaining the rise of some of the middle powers of South Korea, Mexico... etc. These countries came out of stratification.  Marxism big points:  It’s the economy – economics drive
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