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Global Political Economy: Understanding the International Economic Order Paperback – 12 Mar 2001


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Product details

  • Paperback: 440 pages
  • Publisher: Princeton University Press (12 Mar. 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 069108677X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0691086774
  • Product Dimensions: 23.3 x 15.5 x 2.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 149,308 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Review

"An extremely well written, lucid, and persuasive analysis of international economic developments and their political implications and results, solidly grounded in history."--Arthur I Cyr, Orbis

"[A] scholarly, theoretical framework for examining how markets and the policies of nation-states determine the way the world economy functions."--Booklist

"Global Political Economy promises to be another classic and a much-consulted addition to academic library bookshelves."--Choice

"Robert Gilpin has written an important book. . . . Although he eschews polemics and writes in a low-key, analytical style, his forceful points serve as a needed antidote to Thomas Friedman's The Lexus and the Olive Tree and other facile works about the subject."--Christopher Layne, The Atlantic Monthly

"In this magisterial study Gilpin. . . shows he is second to none in his capacity to integrate political with economic analysis, and illuminate our understanding of the world political economy with historical and theoretical insights, devoid of the jargon that characterizes much contemporary IPE literature. . . . Gilpin's is an authoritative, but modest voice of common sense."--Martin Rhodes, International Journal of Financial Economics

"Global Political Economy is an excellent book. It represents a major and successful updating of The Political Economy of International Relations. Any person interested in international political economy can profit from reading it."--Jeffrey Hart, Journal of Politics

From the Inside Flap

"Robert Gilpin, the dean of American students of international political economy, has provided us with a masterful guide to the state of the world economy and how it can be explained. Current developments are placed in historical and theoretical perspective. In a book that is deeply thought as well as deeply researched and carefully argued, Gilpin has produced a landmark study."--Robert Jervis, Columbia University

"Global Political Economy undertakes a comprehensive survey of major aspects of the world political economy from the perspective of a leading 'realist' political scientist. Robert Gilpin emphasizes the continuing importance of the state and the great impact of variations in state structure and policy around the world. His book is an impressive attempt to synthesize economic and political analysis to understand the forces affecting globalization, state policy, and the results of their interaction for economic development and international trade, investment, and finance."--Robert O. Keohane, Duke University

--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By William Podmore on 17 Aug. 2009
Format: Paperback
Robert Gilpin is Professor of Public and International Affairs Emeritus at Princeton University. In this standard work, he presents theories of economics and politics, regional integration, multinational corporations, financial instability, economic development, international trade, the financial and monetary systems, investment, the nation-state, and the governance of the global economy.

As he writes, "This is still a world where national politics and domestic economics are the principal determinants of economic affairs." He notes, "the extent and significance of economic globalisation have been greatly exaggerated. ... international finance is the one area to which the term `globalisation' is most appropriately applied."

He cites monetarist Milton Friedman's belief that it does not matter that mainstream economics' key assumption - perfectly rational individuals with perfect information operating in perfectly working markets - doesn't reflect the real world. Gilpin acknowledges `the conservative bias pervading the discipline'.

But he does not stay realistic for long. He espouses neoclassical economics, part of the US ruling class world-view. He avows a `commitment ... to economic liberalism': he is for free trade, for free (flexible) labour markets and against what he calls `overly generous welfare programs'.

He notes the World Bank's absurd `convergence theory', which claims that investment in poor countries is more profitable, so investment will flow there, so they will grow quicker and catch up with the rich countries. Worked well, hasn't it?

He also claims that mainstream economic policies work well, writing, "What better example than the Federal Reserve's very successful management of the American economy in the mid-to-late 1990s!
Read more ›
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12 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Mr. Sw Radford on 18 Jun. 2003
Format: Paperback
Gilpin has written a book that is not full of technical jargon, but is detailed and unpatronising, one that covers every base, but is not overexpansive, and a book that can rightfully take its place on any student's or educated layman's bookshelf. In a world where people demontsrate against the WTO despite knowing little about it, or loudly write the state's obituary but know little about its role in the world economy, or celebrate unconditionally the 'anglo-saxon' market system without ever having glanced at how the Japanese and German system work to good effect, this book is priceless.
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By Sivi on 3 Dec. 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
i found the information i was looking for; it met all my expectations
good book, and the amazon sevice was amazing.
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By rob crawford TOP 1000 REVIEWER on 14 May 2011
Format: Paperback
and that is its strength and weakness.
On the one hand, the Gilpins put thinking about the global ec in perspective: there are the economists who are more interested in the mathematics of their models, ignoring unquantifiable things that won't fit within them. The author is very very hard on them, while respecting what they contribute. Then there are the political economists, who believe that history and the functioning of institutions need to be taken into account for a full and accurate picture.

This really put things in perspective for me in a clearer way than I knew, and I have been writing about economics for years. The Gilpins demonstrate why economists need to transcend the basic algebra and esoteric game theory models that obsess them.

On the other hand, being a survey means that there is not great depth in the book. Just when things are getting interesting, the author abruptly moves on to another subject, leaving me frustrated and wanting more, much more in the case of the issues I am currently researching. Moreover, the coverage of the footnotes is uneven, leaving me wondering what sources the author used. Gilpin's view, if I read it correctly, is that of a moderate conservative believing in free trade while attempting to take into account the complexity of the issues, such as the failure of the LDCs to develop.

Moreover, the Gilpins prove once again that American academics are rarely good writers. The prose bristles with repetitions and leaden, if clear, writing style. It made the book a chore to read at times, however useful the content.

Nonetheless, this is a useful book, written at the high undergraduate level. Recommended.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 11 reviews
34 of 36 people found the following review helpful
Robert Gilpin's Global Political Economy 23 Aug. 2002
By Jeffrey Hart - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is an outstanding update of the author's earlier book, The Political Economy of International Relations (1987). It is meant to complement Gilpin's more recent work, The Challenge of Global Capitalism (2000). In Global Political Economy, Gilpin discusses a wide range of theories in the field combining careful textual analysis with advocacy of his own views. The author's own theoretical stance is one of "state-centric realism." He identifies with authors like Thucydides, Machiavelli, and Hans Morgenthau, but not with what he calls the "systemic realism" of authors like Kenneth Waltz. While he admires and uses the work of contemporary economists, he also carefully differentiates his approach from theirs (in Chapter 3). Except for a brief acknowledgement of the difficulty of explaining European integration in state-centric realist terms (in Chapter 13) and a bit of defensiveness on the continued value of theories of hegemonial stability (in Chapter 4), Gilpin does a good job of defending his views.
The author does an excellent job of surveying recent work in economics without resorting to jargon. There are outstanding treatments of topics like the continued relevance of Heckscher-Ohlin trade theory, strategic trade, endogenous growth theory, and the new economic geography. The discussion of the globalization of international finance in Chapter 10 emphasizes the need to take into account the "increased interdependence of trade, monetary, and other aspects of the international economy" that results from "[m]ovement toward a single, globally integrated market for corporation ownership" (277). Chapter 11 provides a state-of-the-art discussion of the role of multinational corporations in the world economy. Chapter 12 does a fine job of discussing the likely future of theories of the developmental state in light of the Asian Crises of the late 1990s. The final chapter lays out three major scenarios for governance of the world economy, informed as always by the author's realist views.
This book is long and dense. There are few wasted or unnecessary words. It is not easy to read. However, it could be used for graduate seminars or upper-division undergraduate courses in international political economy in conjunction with texts that are more empirical or descriptive in their treatment of international political economy.
Global Political Economy is an excellent book. It represents a major and successful updating of The Political Economy of International Relations. Any person interested in international political economy can profit from reading it.
16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
A Valuable Introduction to International Political Economy 20 Nov. 2004
By -_Tim_- - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Robert Gilpin's Global Political Economy: Understanding the International Economic Order delivers what it promises by giving readers an understanding of economic relations among nations. Essentially, it is an introduction to the discipline of political economy, a survey of economic developments since World War II, and an analysis of the theories that compete to explain these developments. As an introduction to the field, it is both accessible and comprehensive, but extensive footnotes and a select bibliography provide resources for advanced students.

Gilpin begins with a rather pessimistic assessment of his colleagues: economists, he says, have a suite of highly developed analytical methods and theoretical models that are seldom applicable. Political scientists, on the other hand, rely essentially on intuition that is seldom informed by theory. Political economy, of course, is an attempt to move past these limitations. Political economists tend to study powerful economic actors who can influence prices. Realists, like Gilpin, focus especially on state actors while recognizing the increasing influence of global investors, multinational corporations, and NGOs. Political economists would take particular note that economies are embedded in social and political systems where the purposes of economic activity are decided. One society may use its wealth to build a fairly egalitarian welfare state; another might use it to develop military might, and a third might concentrate wealth in the hands of a small elite.

One of the striking features of the international economy is that "free trade has historically been the exception and protection the rule," even though the benefits of free trade have persuasive theoretical and empirical support. Trade liberalization increases domestic competition, thus increasing efficiency and consumer choice. It increases both domestic and global wealth through the gains from specialization, and it encourages the diffusion of new technology throughout the world. Gilpin cites several reasons why, in the light of these benefits, protectionist ideologies usually hold sway. First, while the principle of comparative advantage tells us that both parties to an exchange will benefit, one party may benefit more than the other, and nations can and do worry about relative benefits. Second, economists support the use of protection for infant industries that can later become competitive. Unfortunately, there is no way other than trial and error to identify these future winners, and temporary protection often becomes permanent. Third, trade benefits do not accrue to all members of a society equally. Fourth, trade creates interdependencies between nations, while nations try to preserve their autonomy and freedom of action.

Gilpin examines the problem of uneven development and, in particular, asks what role the state might play in accelerating development. After an extended discussion of the debate over the "development state," Gilpin concludes that states have an important role to play. Development requires a transformation of society, and states can facilitate that transformation by investing in the health and education of their citizens, socializing them, and providing public goods like physical infrastructure and economic institutions. There is also evidence that government investment in research and development has positive effects for domestic industry.

Gilpin also describes the "machinery" of the international monetary and finance system in detail. All but the most expert of readers will find some new information here.

I have to say that I enjoyed this book tremendously. Gilpin has an exciting story to tell, and he writes clearly, with a degree of elegance of expression and restraint.
20 of 24 people found the following review helpful
Gilpin's new testament on globalisation and governance 16 Oct. 2001
By Olli Rehn, EU Commission & Univ. of Helsinki - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
Robert Gilpin, Professor Emeritus Robert Gilpin of Princeton University, has done it again. Gilpin's Global Political Economy is a completely rewritten version of his classic The Political Economy of International Relations, which appeared back in 1987.
The latter has been standard reading in the courses on international politics and political science - and should have been for the students of economics and business administration as well. The new volume can be expected to meet with the same success.
Gilpin's new testament has been prompted by the changes in the world economy that have come about since 1987. The end of the Cold War removed the Soviet threat that had unified the United States, Europe and Japan. The globalisation of the economy has intensified. The breakthrough of information technology, and especially of the Internet, has boosted the importance of the knowledge-based economy. Together these factors have thoroughly shaken the foundations of governance of the world economy.
Gilpin does not subscribe to the pure free-market vision of economics. Neither does he accept such populism that puts all blame on globalisation:
"The idea that globalisation is responsible for most of the world's economic, political, and other problems is either patently false or greatly exaggerated. In fact, other factors such as technological developments and imprudent national policies are much more important than globalisation as causes of many, if not most, of the problems for which globalisation is held responsible."
Gilpin does not set the nation state free from its power and responsibility. On the contrary, he stresses the state's capability to influence economic development and job creation, even in a context of increasing globalisation.
Especially now that the dust has settled after the terrorist attacks in New York and Washington, the focus of world politics has turned to the effect these terrible events have on U.S. foreign policy. Thus far, we have witnessed a return to a multilateral approach from nascent unilateralism.
The tension between isolation and cooperation has not been born in an instant, but has marked U.S. foreign policy at least since the First World War. In the academic community this discussion has a long history.
In Gilpin's view the United States should commit itself to multilateral co-operation. Although at this particular time this commitment means in the first instance building an anti-terrorist alliance, it is clear that it cannot fail to be reflected also in international economic relations - and vice versa.
Take the World Trade Organisation, for instance. A failure to launch a new round of negotiations would send the wrong signal about the ability of the EU and the United States to cooperate, and erode belief in an international order based on common rules - just when that is most needed.
Although rather by default than by design, China's membership in the WTO could not have come at a better time for the building of the alliance. Russia's rapprochement with NATO and even its WTO membership may be boosted if the U.S. and the EU rely on its support in rooting out terrorism.
Even if most of Gilpin's interpretations evoke a sympathetic response, on certain points one is of necessity inclined to contradict. This is the case when he considers "regionalism" - i.e. free-trade and economic areas such as the European Union or the North American Free Trade Agreement - to be contrary to multilateral free trade. Yet the two are mutually complimentary rather than conflicting arrangements.
The cornerstone of Gilpin's work is the method, the conceptual framework. Globalisation does not stem from economic forces merely, but is a result of an interaction of political and economic forces. Even if one knows that, reading Gilpin does not decrease one's chances for understanding the world.
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
complex but more depth wold be desirable 16 April 2003
By Andrej Valach - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
Gilpin'book is a quite complex survey on the functioning of the global economy. However, taking such a broad issue in the limitid scope of the book allows him not to analyze the topic in the broader detail. What I find interesting is that the author asserts the world economy is dominated by the United States and they are maintaining their dominance by certain privileges: dominance of US dollar in the international monetary system, creating the international financial architecture with controling its institutions and making the rules of the international trading system. He employs for this setting the international regime, whose main attribute is the presence of the hegemon in the background of the system. He realistically analyzes the position of nation-state in contemporary world economy. He originally finds the new roles for the nation-state as growth promoter of high-tech industries, constructer of the international trade and financial regime. He puts evidence of the continuing differences between three models of capitaism: that of Germany, USA and Japan. In the analysis of the relationship between MNCs and the nation-states he asserts the depence of the former on latter and not conversely as frequently claimed. In every chapter he provides the range of opinions on each particular segment of GPE and combines it with his own view, trying to pick up the best from each of the political economy branches. However, in the chapters about international trading, financial and monatary system I miss a more deep and sophisticated perspective about future development.
16 of 21 people found the following review helpful
The standard work on the subject - smug & conventional 17 Aug. 2009
By William Podmore - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
Robert Gilpin is Professor of Public and International Affairs Emeritus at Princeton University. In this standard work, he presents theories of economics and politics, regional integration, multinational corporations, financial instability, economic development, international trade, the financial and monetary systems, investment, the nation-state, and the governance of the global economy.

As he writes, "This is still a world where national politics and domestic economics are the principal determinants of economic affairs." He notes, "the extent and significance of economic globalisation have been greatly exaggerated. ... international finance is the one area to which the term `globalisation' is most appropriately applied."

He cites monetarist Milton Friedman's belief that it does not matter that mainstream economics' key assumption - perfectly rational individuals with perfect information operating in perfectly working markets - doesn't reflect the real world. Gilpin acknowledges `the conservative bias pervading the discipline'.

But he does not stay realistic for long. He espouses neoclassical economics, part of the US ruling class world-view. He avows a `commitment ... to economic liberalism': he is for free trade, for free (flexible) labour markets and against what he calls `overly generous welfare programs'.

He notes the World Bank's absurd `convergence theory', which claims that investment in poor countries is more profitable, so investment will flow there, so they will grow quicker and catch up with the rich countries. Worked well, hasn't it?

He also claims that mainstream economic policies work well, writing, "What better example than the Federal Reserve's very successful management of the American economy in the mid-to-late 1990s!" This looks rather silly now.

Gilpin's book is the summit of what he rightly calls `the American discipline of international political economy', which reflects the views and serves the interests America's US ruling class. It does not reflect reality.
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