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‘The importance of the North-South divide in the post-Cold War World makes Marxism more relevant than of all time for the analysis of International Relations. ‘ Discuss.


The purpose of this essay is to analyze the relevancy of Marxism in the analysis of International Relations, specifically in relation to the North South divide and the impact that this Social, Economic and Social spread has on International Relations and planetary development. In the last hundred old ages the spread between the developed North and the developing South has continued to increase, and with increasing globalization and inequality the spread looks set to widen even further. Can Marxist readings of International Relations, antecedently derided by realists, be used to explicate the grounds for the North-South divide and supply us with possible agencies to cut down the turning degrees of inequality and poorness in the South?

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In our first Chapter we shall try to specify the significance of the North-South divide, both in geographic footings and the differentiations between the developed North and the Developing South. We shall try to present grounds demonstrating that the divide is a world, that it a comparatively modern phenomenon and that it is many ways the consequence of increased globalization. Can Marxism supply a relevant analysis of the divide utilizing such station Marxist theories as World Systems theory? In Chapter Two we will briefly examine Marxist International Relations idea, the footing for World Systems theory, looking at the chief characteristics of the assorted schools. We shall besides try to utilize Marxism to supply an analysis of the North-South divide. Finally we hope to reason by saying the importance and relevancy of Marxism on International Relations theory, showing that the importance of the North South divide and Global inequality has made Marxist theory highly relevant to the modern International Relations pupil and may even assist to supply future solutions to a job that affects the stableness, security and prosperity of the Globe.

Chapter One

The North South divide is a geographical division which, in theory, separates the rich North from the hapless South. [ 1 ] It is non an exact limit nevertheless, as there are several rich Countries in the South and some poorer states in the North. By South we mean all of Africa, South and Central America. It besides includes Asia, except for Japan, Australia, South Korea, New Zealand and some smaller “Asian Dragons” , and the Middle East with the exclusions of the UAE, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia and Qatar. In the future many Southern states will go on to fall in the North as their economic systems develop and grow. [ 2 ] By North we are mentioning to Europe, North America and many of the Eastern European States once members of the Soviet Union.

There is significant grounds from a broad scope of beginnings to bespeak that this divide has quickly widened over the last hundred old ages and that it is go oning to increase. “In 1880 the mean income of a European was twice that of an Indian or Chinese: In 1995 it was 70[ 3 ]:1.”Although many in Asia have been lifted out of poorness parts such as Sub Saharan Africa have really become poorer due to inordinate debt refunds to the Industrialized North. Between 1981 and 2001 poorness in Sub Saharan Africa rose from 41 to 46 per centum. [ 4 ] The affect of globalization and 3rd universe debt have worsened the divide, many hapless states that have opened up their markets after following the instructions of the World Bank and IMF have seen their local industries suffer, whilst Europe, the USA and Japan continue with protectionist agricultural and industrial policies. [ 5 ] This persistent and widening spread has terrible world-wide deductions. [ 6 ] The last 20 old ages has seen immense migrations of people from the undeveloped South to the rich Northern Countries, seting force per unit area on resources and taking to a encephalon drain in many hapless states. Issues such as the AIDS epidemic, planetary terrorist act, instability and civil wars in the South all have their beginnings in the immensely unequal nature of the North-South relationship. In the following two chapters we shall analyze ways in which Marxist International Relations thought can explicate the being and continuation of this Divide.

Chapter Two

In the original Hagiographas on International Relations by Marx and Engels, there was a focal point on world-wide capitalist economy and economic sciences. Rich developed states interact with less developed 1s in order to work their resources, capture their markets and further their category involvements. Lenin was subsequently to province that Imperialism was the highest signifier of Capitalism. [ 7 ] For Marx and Engels, set uping cosmopolitan signifiers of co-operation which would guarantee freedom and prosperity for all the Worlds citizens was the highest purpose of International Relations. [ 8 ] Later Marxist Scholars, such as Gramsci, Cox and Wallerstein have developed Marxist International Relations theory, which has ever been criticised for its failure to recognize the power and divisiveness of patriotism, cultural struggle, an overestimate of International labor Solidarity and an compulsion with the agencies of production as an index of political power. [ 9 ] Since the 1970s and 1980s Marxist reviews and signifiers of analysis of International Relations, such as World Systems theory, have proved progressively popular, particularly as pupils of International Relations have begun to put increasing importance on the being and impact of planetary inequality. [ 10 ] World Systems Theory is a method of understanding and explicating International Social alteration over a long period of clip. Its chief characteristics are that all Societies are constrained by the International system and that our present World system operates a core/periphery system. The rich, developed North is the nucleus which economically dominates controls and exploits the fringe, the developing Southern states.

Chapter Three

Harmonizing to World Systems theory, the Southern States poorness and weak place is a contemplation of their topographic point in the fringe. Dominant States in the nucleus penetrate their markets and Societies and work their resources. This development is aided by International establishments, such as the IMF and World Bank, who progress policies which benefit the developed North and stunt the economic growing of the South. [ 11 ] Since the terminal of the Cold War, the USA has enjoyed alone planetary laterality, militarily, economically, politically it has no equals, and as a consequence its pro capitalist, free market, pro Globalisation policies have continued to distribute throughout the universe. This has in many cases increased inequality in the South whilst intentionally beef uping the power of the industrialized North. Modern twenty-four hours World systems theoreticians have besides demonstrated that in the modern, quickly altering globalising universe, hapless Southern states crippled by debt, hampered by unjust trading policies are besides ill placed to take advantage of the engineering revolution. [ 12 ]

Using Wallerstein’s World System theory in the poorest part on Earth, Sub Saharan Africa, so the relevancy of Marxist thought becomes clear. The rich industrialized Northern states, the nucleus, are to a great extent involved in pull outing natural mineral resources from Africa, the fringe. There is small foreign investing in sustainable concerns nevertheless, nor in substructure. Often the scramble for resources means foreign Governments and concerns will provide weaponries and fundss to insurgent groups which can vouch entree to the resources but create war, instability and poorness, farther weakening the African States and driving down the monetary value of the resources. In footings of mineral wealth, the Democratic Republic of Congo should be one of the richest Countries in the universe, nevertheless due to the fact that it is a peripheral state it continues to stay one of the most impoverished on Earth. [ 13 ]

With the continued broadening of the North South divide and the recent focal point of pupils and bookmans on the harmful effects of planetary inequality and development, Marxist International Relations theory has proved progressively relevant. They have provided a changeless counter claim to dominant realist claims that International Relations is at bosom about the battle for military power and security between States, irrespective of political orientation. By disputing the cogency of realist truths, Marxist theory exposes the mode in which the Northern industrial States, aided by International administrations such as the IMF, maintain their laterality, maintaining the Southern States weak and guaranting the graduated tables are tipped steadfastly in their favor. Marxist theoreticians can indicate out that much of recent International Relations theory sing the North South divide has its roots in Marxist theory, which has ever put forwards theories and grounds sing planetary capitalist economy and the effects it has on perpetuating international inequality. [ 14 ]


How of import so is Marxist theory in International Relations? The continuity of the North South divide and the turning realization that the divide is fuelling instability and struggle, making security, political, economic and societal jobs in both the North and South, have greatly increased the credibleness of Marxist idea. Combined with other methods of critical theory and a wider, less narrow attack to International Relations, such as World Systems theory, Marxist idea has evolved and learned from relentless realist unfavorable judgment that it had nil constructive to state in the field of International Relations. The most unfortunate facet of this is that it has taken this long for issues of planetary inequality between the North and South to have in International Relations theory. The laterality of realist International Relations theory, particularly in the US, has managed to efficaciously stamp down other signifiers of International Relations idea and mask the true nature and importance of issues of poorness, inequality and the broadening of the North South divide. The challenge for Marxist theories of International Relations today is to travel beyond mere reviews of the International system and to seek and assist explicate solutions to one of the biggest challenges to future planetary stableness and security, the go oning addition in the North South divide.


Adams, Nassau A ‘Worlds Apart: The North South Divide and the International System’- London, Zed Books, 1997

Boucher, David ‘Political Theories of International Relations: From Thucydides to the Present’ – Oxford, Oxford University Press,1998

Brown, Seyom ‘International Relations in a Changing Global System: Toward a Theory of the World Polity – Boulder, Westview Press 1992

CIA World Fact Book – ‘The Democratic Republic of Congo’ Accessed 21/05/2008 hypertext transfer protocol: //www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/geos/cg.html

Kardulias, P Nick ‘World Systems Theory in Practice: Leadership, Production and Exchange – New York, Rowman and Littlefield Publishers, 1999

Linklater, Richard ‘Marxism’ in ‘Theories of International Relaions’ edited by Burchill, Scott and Devetak, Richard – London, Palgrave, 2001

Raffer, Kunibert ‘ The Economic North South Divide: Six decennaries of Unequal Development – Chetenham, Edward Elgar, 2001

Therien. J.P, ( 1999 ) Beyond the North-South Divide: the two narratives of universe poorness.Third WorldQuarterly. Vol 20. No. 4. pp723-3742

Tiscali Reference – ‘North South Divide’ – Accessed 21/05/2008 – hypertext transfer protocol: //www.tiscali.co.uk/reference/encyclopaedia/hutchinson/m0030871.html

World Bank – South Centre studies, Accessed 21/05/2008 hypertext transfer protocol: //www.southcentre.org/

World Bank website – Global Development Goals – Accessed 22/05/2008

hypertext transfer protocol: //web.worldbank.org/WBSITE/EXTERNAL/TOPICS/EXTPOVERTY/0, ,contentMDK:20153855~menuPK:373757~pagePK:148956~piPK:216618~theSitePK:336992,00.html


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