Marxism and Structuralism

Topics: Capitalism, Marxism, Immanuel Wallerstein Pages: 6 (1870 words) Published: October 7, 2010
Marxism and Structuralism:

Marx  concerned with causes of conflict in society and believed that it was the result of struggle between different socio-economic classes. •saying capitalism as a bondage from which people strive to be liberated. •Theory of history based on historical materialism, where the system of economic production determined structures of society. All history was the history of class struggle between a ruling group, from which [came] a new economic, political and social system. •Before capitalism, ownership of land formed the basis of political power - feudalism, followed by Capitalism which also contained the seeds of its own destruction. •Capitalism built on principles of private ownership and the pursuit of profit. Conflict between Bourgeois and Proletarian classes – between those who owed the means of production and those who worked in return for a wage. The difference between what proletariat produced and wages known as  surplus value / or profit – and capitalism driven by the accumulation of this surplus value or profit. •surplus value achieved through search for new markets, constantly driving down wages to extract more surplus value from their workers, or by replacing labour with new technologies - eg machines •Capitalism would collapse as workers became too poor to afford the goods that they themselves produced and as new markets were exhausted  leading to revolutionary change. •Capitalism  manipulative with in-built tensions and contradictions which would cause it to collapse. •Human societies made up of various institutions which changed over time with economics as the main driving force. Collapse of Capitalism would lead to a socialist order with extensive government control over production and distribution until the last elements of capitalism were removed from society. Finally the state would wither away with the establishment of a communist system.

Link later: “Human history for Marx is a laborious struggle to satisfy basic material needs, to understand and tame natural forces, to gain control over alienating and exploitative social systems and to overcome estrangement from the members of other societies”. •Relevance of the work of Marx and Engels is to international level as well as to domestic level. As Jackson and Sorenson state: “Because classes cut across State borders conflict is not confined to States; instead it expands around the world in the wake of capitalism”. •Viotti and Kauppi see four key characteristics of what they call globalism: •the significance of the global environment

the historical perspective
the quest to understand the distribution of power and wealth •and the focus on economics – especially in terms of North-South relations

Structural theories’ aims were to give an account of the political and economic subordination of the South to the North – eg:  Dependency Theory:  Centre-Periphery/Core-Periphery analysis:  World Systems analysis and Sometimes referred to as  Scientific Marxism, Structural Marxism, neo-Marxism. All share notion that the North and South are in a Structural Relationship with one another ie both areas are part of a structure that determines the pattern of relationships that emerges. Structuralism is a general theory of IR but also a Southern theory in two senses: (a) it actually originated in the South, and (b) its subject area is explicitly geared towards the problems and interests of the South  calls for justice •Hazel Smith: “Neomarxist explanations of international politics provide a broad framework of analysis which considers class as a major factor in international relations [and] economic relationships as the key dynamics and international justice and equality as the most important normative concerns”.

Hobson and Lenin provided further insights: Hobson: “Imperialism assumes an international, hiearchical division of labour between rich and poor regions of the world, but the relation in not one...
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