Global political economy track of the GPC programme

The ambitious aim of the GPE-track of the Master's Programme in Global Politics and Communication (GPC) is to teach how pluralism about economic theories and international political economy (IPE) approaches is fully compatible with the principles of rational enquiry. However, pluralism alone is hardly enough. While constructive pluralism with integrative tendencies would be a sign of a healthy field, the absence of sustained dialogue and learning between theories and approaches is not. Our aim is to bridge gaps between the disciplines and within them. The student will not only learn all the key IPE perspectives and main macro and institutional approaches to heterodox economic theory, but also how to integrate aspects of them in a critical way.

    Study units

    The five study units take the students through the history of economic theories and political economy to some of the main contemporary debates about inequality and macroeconomic policy to the study of the institutions governing the world economy as a whole.

    1.  Historical development of economic theories in changing world-economic contexts
    2.  Explaining the scope for differences in global political economy
    3.  From modern money theory to revival of classical political economy
    4.  Inequalities, growth and capital in the 21st century
    5.  Governance of the world economy and its future

    The student will learn how economic theorists have tackled problematics and developed their fundamental conceptions in the changing contexts of the world economy; and how economic theories have taken part in constituting policies, practices and institutions (1). She will become familiar with the “varieties of capitalism” research tradition, premised on the idea that the way national economic institutions are organized matters. The recipes of relative success, however, may be many and changing, and a lot depends on the historical dynamics of the wider context. Moreover, market economy can assume different institutional and legal forms, but those forms are also constrained / enabled by worldwide power-relations and institutional arrangements. (2)

    The student will also learn that while post-Keynesian economic theory has been probably the best known strand of heterodoxy during the last few decades, recent theoretical discussions have also encouraged a return to classical political economy. The regulation approach, in turn, looks at capitalist economies as a function of social and institutional systems organized, in large part, regionally and globally. IR-based Global Political Economy theories focus on understanding and explaining these systems in terms of hegemony and power-relations and their political economy underpinnings. The student will develop a capacity to contrast claims drawn from different theoretical, pragmatic and political traditions and to resolve subsequent aporias. (3)

    Moreover, the student will develop an understanding about how inequalities have evolved since the Industrial Revolution; and how inequalities are related to economic growth. She will acquire an up-to-date understanding of theories of inequalities of incomes, wealth and power; and is well-versed in controversies over various well-known empirical, historical and normative studies. She will have the basic conceptual and methodological skills for developing autonomous arguments and making rational judgements about this central problematic in global political economy. (4)

    Last but not least, the student will form a general understanding about the consequences of deep worldwide interconnectedness and about possible, likely and desirable ethical and political responses to it. This involves a comprehension of the ways in which the world economy can disintegrate, possibly paving the way for future military conflicts. On the other hand, the student will have a capacity to contribute to designing new worldwide institutions to tackle the contradictions and paradoxes of global politico-economic developments. The methodology of institutional design requires also an understanding of the legitimacy of common institutions. (5)

    In addition, the track is associated with an advanced methodology and theory course that gives students:

    • a deepened understanding of the promises and failures of past research programmes and of the current methodological and theoretical debates.
    • the ability to apply – in a critical and autonomous way – key theoretical and analytical concepts in doing concrete research in the relevant fields of social sciences, such as agency, structure, systems, causation, facts and values
    • a solid understanding of studying world politics and global political economy not only in causal-explanatory but also in systematically future-oriented terms.

    Further information