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乱涂几笔

 
 
 

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The realist selfish or the structuralist cynical?  

2012-12-02 14:53:33|  分类: BLABLABLA |  标签: |举报 |字号 订阅

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给一学期我的stupid comments留个纪念,看完一学期才发现我已经从Realist转移去Structuralist了。

Structuralist Theories

Dependency theory and the Modern World System Theory stress the unfairness of the global system. They both divide the world system in different ways. Dependency Theory sees the dependence of the less developed countries on countries from the North as the key of unfairness of the global system. But compared to the focus on nation-states in Dependency Theory, MWS goes beyond boundary of nation-state and includes more international entities. Although both theories suggest some solutions of making changes to the dependence and imbalance, the solutions, even the radical ones, seem to be quite weak and it seems there would be no way out for the less developed countries.

 

Emerging significance of the developing countries

In the reading, it is mentioned that the 2008 financial crisis in the US started from the real estate-mortgage problem. And after that, the crisis spreaded in the global financial crisis since the US is the centre of the world's financial functioning. The crisis proved the US power an untrustworthy one while some developing countries remianed relatively stable in their financial status. Countries like China and Saudi Arabia are identified as the developing countries which have their emerging economies comparatively unshaken in the crisis. And their investments in real estate and home mortgages in the US and other developed countries are viewed as rescuing economy the financial status in the developed countries, and making the developed countries more dependent on the developing countries. The crisis has given significance to some developing countreis. Is it possible the developing countries take another lead of the global financial system? Or can we say there is another era for the developing countreis to gain some initiatives in the global economy?

 

The exploitative nature of international trade?

Structuralism thinks that in the international trade system, the developed countries play a more dominant role in shaping rules and regulations, which often make the outcomes of international trade favor the developed countries themselves. And in the game of international trade, due to the rules and regulations, the developing countries are usually exploited by the developed countries. One approach suggested by some scholar for the developing countries to shift the dependency is to delink from international trade system and develop independently. But I think for some less developed countries, the lack of wealth, power, labour and resources is likely to be an obstacle. Also, in the reading, it is said that developing countries have increasing influence in multilateral negotiations and their importance to the devloped states has been shown as the markets and sources of labor for TNCs. This might lead to some developing countries reluctant to detach from the international trade system. But not all developing countries will gain from their increasing importance in the international trade. It is yet slightly possible for them to take more dominant positions in shaping rules and regulations of the international trade system. So what's the way out for the developing countries? Will they end up in dead lock or are there any other options?

 

Regionalism without US influence?

The European regionalism started as the World War aftermath. According to Beeson, regionalism is a economic and political process, informed by the integrating global capital and various strategic factors. The regionalism in the Europe is influenced by their economic interests and the political needs after war trauma. But the political and strategic influence not only came from the needs inside Europe, but also under strong influence of the US. With the economic/political development plan by the US, such as the Marshall Plan, the European regionalism is strongly motivated and pushed. And the economic motives and political advantages assisted by the US actually played a very important role in the integration of the Europe, both in the past and nowadays.

But the influence of the US in regionalism is not also positively presented. The Cold War separated the East Asian countries into the two camps. Even after the USSR was dssolved, the US influence still played a centrifugal role in the regional cooperation and integration. Japan and Korea are the countries heavily assisted and influenced by the US, and due to the US influence, the two countries have different perceptions for regional integration as well. The immaturity of East Asian regionalism cannot be seen solely because of the US intervention. The internal regional power relations are also key factors contributing to current situation. But it is without doubt that if it's not the US influence, the regionalism in East Asia might be better developed.

Compared the European regionalism with the East Asian one, the US influence is very obvious in both processes of regional integration. But I wonder if there is possibility for some regional integration without US influence or interests involved? Even the rise of different developed and developing countries has challenged the US dominance. But the presentation of US power can be found in every region. Regional cooperation and integration can hardly be seen without the context of the US as the dominant power in the world development. Therefore, I think that it is not possible for a model of regionalism to develop without the US influence.

 

A second tier of core-periphery system?

Dependency theory sees the world as a core-periphery system. The West is seen as the core while the developing countries are the periphery and exploited by the developed ones. In the World without the West, there is a deepening interconnectivity between developing countries and autonomous from influence of the West. In the alternative system, developing countries can have exchange of goods, resources and knowledge between them and can develop a model without the pressure of the great powers. But similar to the original world structure, in the world without the West, it is unlikely that every country can have relatively equal gains and even benefit from exchanges among developing countries. The recent rise of the BRICS has shown that some developing countries can benefit more than others. It is possible there will be a second tier of core-periphery system in the world without the West. Countries like the BRICS are the winners in the exchange of goods and resources with other developing countries and some weak developing countries can still gain very little independence for themselves to develop without being exploited. Also, the BRICS still have connections with the West. The strong ties provide them with more attractive opportunities to gain from the trades and economic cooperation with the West. But in terms of the weak developing countries, their poor development and potentials might lead to less initiatives in the two tiers of core-periphery system.

 

Challenges imposed on states by TNCs

The powers of TNCs are presented not only by how a single TNC could influence the global economy and trade, but also through the increasing cooperation and coordination among different TNCs. Specifically, different TNCs have become more interconnected, linking together multiple partners and suppliers to collaborate and share in sectors such as finance and production of new products. With the increasing connections, TNCs gain more bargaining powers when negotiating with states and it becomes more possible for TNCs to alter state policies and investment barriers in their favor. To say that relations between states and TNCs are the ones between apples and oranges seems inappropriate since TNCs sometimes have more capabilities to challenge state policies and state’s national interests. The advantages for TNCs come from the increasing interconnection among TNCs themselves, the huge collective abilities to generate large economic benefits and the political accessibilities created by the economic leverages. Therefore, with the rise of interconnected TNCs, states have to face pressures from both other states and TNCs. In the age of emerging TNCs, states become relatively vulnerable. States unifying with each other seems too idealistic and current global financial crisis proves that when troubles came, states tend to blame each other. But power of single state cannot counter interconnected TNC regime either. So what exactly is a efficient way out for states in this situation?

 

Struggle for the LDCs in terms of food security

Currently market alone cannot solve problems created by food shortages and food security. Due to geographical nature, some regions are rich in food resource while some have really limited resources. If it is allowed to merely have market forces influencing food distribution, regional or national demands can not be sufficiently equal the food supply in the same region/state. Also, since some developed countries have more advanced technologies to yield more food production, they are more likely to satisfy national demands of food than developing countries which lack technological supports. Due to the asymmetry of food supply and demand, in the age of globalization, food is usually utilized as political tools. For instance, food aid, to subsidize the food shortage in some LDCs, has been used by developed countries to gain political leverages or influence domestic politics in the LDCs. By creating LDCs’ dependence on developed countries, food aids can actually be seen as an exploitative relations between developed and developing countries. But without this kind of politicized relations, LDCs might not be able to be self-sufficient in terms of food. And food aids from developed countries to some extent is the only way for LDCs to ease the tension of food shortages. Therefore, for the LDCs, it is more like a struggle between being an exploited party in a politicized relations and desperate need to solve food shortages.

 

Profit-driven states or irresponsible MNCs?

Some blame MNCs for setting branches overseas and gaining profits from local societies while leaving environmental consequences without taking any responsibility. But in some cases profit-driven states, trying to maximize overall gains while ignoring environmental consequences, could push environmental issues or disasters to happen. In the case of Bhopal disaster in India in 1984, the gas leak incident was caused by Union Carbide India Limited, which was the Indian subsidiary of Union Carbide Corporation and controlled by the Indian government. Because the government was too much profit-oriented and trying to maximize the efficiency of the corporation, factors such as the environment, working conditions were neglected. The disaster led to long-term damage to the local environment and the UCC itself refused to take responsibility for causing the disaster. In this case, it is difficult to say if the state or the MNC should be blamed. States, on one hand, are interest-oriented and tend to make their national conditions more attractive to MNCs, which include deregulation and prioritizing foreign investment. With subsidies and privileges given by states, MNCs are more likely to fear no harmful consequences to the local societies. The “joint efforts” of a desperately profit-driven state and a deregulated MNC could result in disastrous consequence that no one wants to shoulder the aftermath rehabilitation. Therefore, actually when we talk about global cooperation over environmental issues, states are not the only actor considered-MNCs should be given the equal ratio over negotiations to the environmental issues. But the involvement of MNCs could make things more complicated since the global cooperation or global regulation should make sure states, as well as MNCs, won’t cross the line. Sometimes, even if states abide by agreements like Kyoto Protocol (which seems to be less effective), MNCs, with privileges given by states, can trample local environment more cruelly. Therefore, for future agreements or negotiations over environmental issues, a double-binding one aiming at both states and MNCs should be proposed.

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