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3.8: Theories of World Politics - Marxists and Feminists

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    Marx, Hobson, Lenin, Dependency theorists and world system theorists like Wallerstein provide a critique of the international order, basically that it is based on the rich countries exploiting the poor countries. Marxists document economic exploitation of workers on the domestic and international level, and show how capitalists seeking resources, new markets and investment opportunities go overseas. In their view, the rich industrialized countries exploit the poor countries in a modern form of imperialism and mercantilism, by buying their cheap raw materials and using their cheap labor, while selling them expensive manufactured goods and services. Interestingly, mainstream capitalist economists agree with the basic facts of the process, while justifying low wages, low commodity prices and poor working conditions as an efficient division of labor that provides jobs and economic development in the poor countries.

    Feminist critiques focus on several issues. The broadest issue is the inequality and economic and sexual exploitation of women all over the world. Women get lower wages and less education, work longer hours and have fewer rights. Women are subjected to forced and child marriages, sexual violence, domestic abuse, bride burnings, honor killings and Feminine Genital Mutilation. Besides fairness, it turns out that improving the status of women is one of the most effective ways to grow the economy. Educating women also lowers birth rates, and empowering women to start small businesses is enormously effective. Educating women, empowering women, enacting equal workplace and other rights and making birth control available mobilizes a huge, previously untapped source of productivity that advances societies at all levels of development. This is an important reason for the prosperity of Europe and the United States today and conversely, the slow development of Arab countries and others that keep women back.

    Schools and Sub-schools

    All of these schools have various sub-schools that we have not covered.


    1. Define sovereignty, nation and state. Give an example of a mismatch.

    2. Outline the Idealist, Realist, and neoconservative theories of foreign policy and give an example of


    3. Briefly explain the Prisoners’ Dilemma and the Security Dilemma.

    4. Outline the feminist and Marxist critiques and give an example of each.

    This page titled 3.8: Theories of World Politics - Marxists and Feminists is shared under a CC BY-NC-ND 4.0 license and was authored, remixed, and/or curated by Lawrence Meacham.

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