The Rise of Populism and its Impact.

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‘The Rise of the Populists’ (The Economist, 2015)

Anti-globalisation has been increasing evermore in recent times. Not only have we witnessed the election of anti-establishment, Nationalist Donald Trump as the new President of the United States – a vote for American values, American citizens and a strength against politically correct, and unwanted involvement with other states, but this set a precedent for other countries, particularly in Europe. Trump’s protectionist promises to force Apple to manufacture on American soil, as opposed to China (Michael Moore, 2017), and his promises that they will cut down on immigration, blocking 7 nations any access to the US and drawing up a wall to keep Mexican’s out – Trumps vote was one against non-populism and for patriotic reforms in favour of their own people, a shift away from international economic integration and globalisation.

A win by Marine Le Pen would have added to the success of this anti-globalisation movement, however, whilst France did not vote for the far right, Italy – a nation which witnesses a lot of migration as one of the gateways of Europe – are set for a likely coalition between the Eurosceptic populist Five Star Movement and the anti-immigrant League, showing the resistance towards internationalism and towards nationalism (Henley and Voce, 2018). These rises can be attributed to the shift into de-globalisation seen since the UK’s exit from the EU last year. Reluctance to contribute to shared obligations, particularly concerning matters of immigration, and resentment aimed at foreign workers, spiked this political shift towards sovereignty and independence. Whether this will impact the UK and its trade partners is yet to be seen, however, difficulties in securing trade deals during the negotiations regarding the UK and its new relationship with the free market demonstrate that the ease of trade and developing of one’s economy is significantly easier through the process of globalisation, and interconnectedness between states.

The backlash against the refugee crisis spurred nationalism across many states. Originating in the East, concerned by terror attacks in France, nations such as Poland, Hungary, and the Czech Republic formed a political alliance called Visegrad, which collectively rejected their responsibility to accommodate third-world refugees claiming “the mainly-Muslim refugees have no place in their predominantly Christian societies” (Kirby, 2017). Populist parties in the West also gained ground by criticising and openly opposing the idea of accepting so many refugees, Germany with the AfD and France with the National Front – both saw a rise of the more extreme right-wing parties (Joffe, 2017). This demonstrates that countries are losing patience to pick up the costs for the people affected in the aftermath of international wars, with the EU alone spending €17.7 billion from their budget towards migrants between 2015-2017 (, 2017).

The EU had threatened action against states unwilling to cooperate with the EU obligations, and were using financial leverage by threatening to freeze funds to ensure the adherence by all states to honour their commitments. Worryingly this division in the EU led Brussels to sue Poland and its supporters (Kirby, 2017), and the EU could potentially impose sanctions on other states, leading to a nationalist vs pro-EU trade war. This could impact upon states’ individual economies, and thus instability could eventually bring about the demise of international organisations such as the EU, if enough members follow in the rise of the far right.

What does this mean for the international political economy?

Populism increases economic nationalism which goes against the concept of globalisation and the free market. This would impact upon the ability to trade and can lead to trade wars, such as between the USA and China, which is currently taking place. Protectionist measures culminated in massive increases in taxation by the US on steel and aluminium imports by China, in order to increase their own steel production, meaning that prices have increased, and trade has suffered as a result (Walker, 2018), with the World Trade Organisation head stating that this would have “a severe impact on the global economy(BBC News, 2018), with China’s trade with the US “the heart of global trade” (Pei, 2018). Statist and protectionist positions, as witnessed in the US’ actions recently, are increased when anti-globalisation becomes more of a hostility or rejection of global links and institutions (Held, McGrew, 2007: 198). These can also be justified when driven by the opposition of threats to national identities or religious traditions (Held, McGrew, 2007: 198), which can be argued for Trump’s ‘Muslim ban’ and forcing of production to be held within national borders. If this process escalated further, into full trade wars with other products, it would “harm [the] economy…kill jobs…slow innovation, and strain ties with nations around the world” (Delaney, 2018), and this would eventually impact the entire global economy as global supply chains are rerouted, which would cost billions to match the labour and production networks that were in place previously. Further, if this trend spreads, it could eventually lead to the “unravelling of the World Trade Organisation” (Pei, 2018).

These incidences all lead to the same result. The exit of the UK from the EU, the election of Trump as President – the people are showing through these votes how tired they have become from the state constantly sacrificing their own needs for ‘foreigners’ for ‘terrorists’ and for ‘immigrants’ (Ravenhill, 2017: 81). The costs that terrorism and migration has on the economy are undisputable, but the rise of far-right populism is a non-effective way of combatting these issues. Anti-globalisation in the long run could prove harmful if the world continues to shift away from interconnectedness and proceeds to follow a statist path, which would further macroeconomic inequality, as some states rely on exports to make up their economy, and could impact upon all other areas of the global political economy.

 Leila Lerari – M00559185



BBC News. (2018). US-China trade war impact ‘severe’. [online] Available at: [Accessed 19 Apr. 2018].

Delaney, R. (2018). US media mogul Bloomberg vows to stop Trump’s China trade war. [online] South China Morning Post. Available at: [Accessed 20 Apr. 2018]. (2016). Big, bad Visegrad. [online] Available at: [Accessed Dec. 2017].

HELD, D., & MCGREW, A. G. (2007). Globalization/anti-globalization: beyond the great divide. Cambridge, Polity.

Henley, J. and Voce, A. (2018). Italian elections 2018 – full results. [online] the Guardian. Available at: [Accessed 9 Apr. 2018].

Kirby, W. (2017). EU INFIGHTING: Brussels to SUE three member states for refusing to host asylum seekers. [online] Available at: [Accessed Dec. 2017].

Joffe, J. (2017). The right is rising and social democracy is dying across Europe – but why? | Josef Joffe. [online] the Guardian. Available at: [Accessed Dec. 2017].

MICHAEL MOORE. (2017). 5 Reasons Why Trump Will Win. [online] Available at: [Accessed 13 Apr. 2018].

Pei, M. (2018). Trump’s China trade war threatens world economy. [online] Nikkei Asian Review. Available at: [Accessed 15 Apr. 2018]. (2017). The EU and the migration crisis. [online] Available at: [Accessed Dec. 2017].

Ravenhill, J. (2017). Global political economy. 5th ed. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Reuters. (2016). German government plans to spend 93.6 billion euros on refugees by end. [online] Available at: [Accessed Dec. 2017].

Schuman, M. (2011). What the U.S. debt deal means for the global economy | [online] Available at: [Accessed 16 Apr. 2018].

The Economist. (2015). Donald Trump’s rise seen through The Economist’s covers. 12th December. [online] Available at: [Accessed 23 Apr. 2018].

VICE News. (2014). Deaths and Damages Due to Terrorism Have Never Been Higher | VICE News. [online] Available at: [Accessed Dec. 2017].

Walker, A. (2018). Reality Check: Are we on the brink of a trade war?. [online] BBC News. Available at: [Accessed 18 Apr. 2018].



US Hegemony – beneficial or detrimental to the global economy?

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‘US Hegemony’ (, 2018)

US dominance, economically, politically and militaristically, has increased over the years, particularly since the end of World War Two and the decline of the British empire, the end of colonialism and in conjunction with a new wave of neo-colonialism. There are two identifiable ways in which the US has been detrimental to the world, but what stands out the most in regards to this American hegemony is their military interventions – not only a costly affair for the attacking nation, but for all the nations that have been targeted as a result of the US’ continuation of exceptionalism. It is argued that the US as a hegemonic power today, need to ensure they protect their economic and political position, thus they should go to war at any cost in order to maintain their hegemonic position (Yazid, N. 2015). However, the quest for imposing western-style democracy and retaining the dollar as the world’s reserve currency across the world, has witnessed lengthy, costly wars in Iraq, Afghanistan and interventions in Syria and Libya for example, that affect the entire global economy.

How does war impact on the global political economy? Not only does the US dedicate roughly $850 billion per year (The Balance, 2017) to their military spend, countries that feel the effects of war or interventions in their home nation naturally suffer much more. Yemen, Syria, Iraq, Libya and Afghanistan have been destroyed, with pure humanitarian disasters in these nations with “about 13.5 million people [who] need humanitarian aid in Syria; in Yemen, 21.1 million; in Libya, 2.4 million; and in Iraq, 8.2 million” (World Bank, 2016), along with heavy decreases in their respective GDPs. Worryingly the interventions across the Middle East, which are massively detrimental to the economies of those involved, could worsen further and we could see an escalation in war between the great powers, or at the very least a new cold war era, an arms race, which could cost trillions in a battle for who can produce the best guns and weaponry for the sake of idle threat. In Syria especially, devastation has seen near complete damage to businesses, infrastructure, housing and healthcare facilities, with the GDP of Syria declining and damages “estimated at $226 billion, about four times the Syrian GDP in 2010” (World Bank, 2017). The effects of these wars, which the US have a direct or indirect involvement with, have spread across the MENA region reducing neighbouring countries Lebanon, Jordan, Turkey and Egypt’s individual GDP Per Capita by roughly 1.5% (World Bank, 2016), further aided in poverty and, as a consequence, mass migration, which has a separate detrimental affect across the world economy, and with the latter costing Germany, for example, $20billion in 2016 alone (World Bank, 2017). Is it fair to say that the global economy is hindered and (at times) helped sporadically by the actions and efficacy of the US? As a world superpower the scope of their influence, in both political and economic affairs must be acknowledged.

Another major impact of the American superiority is the power of the economic actions to sabotage the entire global economy. Whilst Bush was the incumbent President during the US financial housing crisis, which witnessed an entire global recession, as nations were halted in their progression and inflation rose, at the detriment to the poor, Obama soon preceded, actually increasing national US debt by 68% in eight years – the addition of $7.917 trillion (The Balance, 2017). Massive debt leads to inflation, it can lead to mistrust and withdrawal of investments, and shifts to cheaper labour or manufacturing forces, which subsequently creates unemployment, personal debt, and inability to contribute to the GDP through consumerism, which halters the American dream of capitalism and profit. The US, as a global hegemonic power, have an underlying control over the economic (in) stability of the rest of the world as seen in The Great Depression in 1929 (Lombra, 2018). Globalisation and interconnectedness, along with international trade between nations means that “one nation’s economy can have a dramatic effect on that of others” (Lombra, 2018). This is particularly exacerbated when considering the size and dominance of the US in the global political economy. Growth declines on US exports and imports, lead to budget cuts that, due to interdependence between many nations across the world, are witnessed across the global economy, and lead to periods of economic malaise and employment cuts which create soaring unemployment or cheap, illegal labour prevailing to make up the lost costs required to continue the profiting of the elite or through Transnational Corporations (TNCSs) which increase inequality between the rich and poor. Socio-economic issues increased as a result of the US financial crisis, however, whilst those at the top seemed to slip through feeling the effects of such a monumental crisis, “the first synchronised world recession since 1974” (Gokay, 2009) led to increases in inequality and poverty, not only in the US but in both developed and developing nations around the world, with it estimated that “an estimated 55 to 90 million more people will be living in extreme poverty than anticipated before the crisis” (Evans, 2009).

All matters that detriment the global political economy can be identified as having witnessed increases due to the actions of the US. This is why hegemony by one nation gives them too much authority and control over the rest of the world. ‘Hegemonic stability theory’ originated by Krasner, argued that one hegemonic power is needed for the maintenance of an international liberal economic system (O’brien and Williams, 2016: 82) and that this hegemony is what keeps stability in the global economy (Yazid, N. 2015). However, not only have the US proven detrimental to its fellow states in the global political landscape, the decline of a hegemonic power would bring about instability that could recreate another global recession as evidenced through the UK’s hegemonic decline during the Great Depression (O’brien and Williams, 2016: 82). Paul Kennedy in his ‘Overstretch Thesis’ (The Economist, 2002), could be correct in assuming that the decline of the US is inevitable and imminent; whilst this could be beneficial for economic equality between nations, due to the influence that the US seemingly exhibit in world affairs, we must also worry that this could create havoc in the global political economy.

Leila Lerari – M00559185


Bartlett, M. (2015). Nobel panel saw Obama peace prize as ‘mistake,’ new book claims. [online] The Washington Times. Available at: [Accessed Dec. 2017].

Blum, W. (2013). America’s Deadliest Export: Democracy – The Truth About US Foreign Policy and Everything Else. Zed Books.

Evans, R. (2009). Recession adds 6 percent to ranks of global poor: U.N.. [online] Reuters. Available at: [Accessed 17 Apr. 2018].

Gokay, B. (2009) ‘The 2008 World Economic Crisis: Global Shifts and Faultlines’, Global Research, 15 Feb. Available at: (Accessed: 10th April 2018) (2018). The Megalomania of Modern America | IT. [online] Available at: [Accessed 10 Apr. 2018].

Lombra, R. (2018). The U.S. Financial Crisis: Global Repercussions. [online] Pennsylvania: JA Worldwide. Available at: [Accessed 6 Apr. 2018].

O’Brien, R. and Williams, M. (2016). Global political economy. 5th ed. Palgrave Macmillan, p.82

The Balance. (2017). How Much Did Obama Add to the Nation’s Debt?. [online] Available at: [Accessed Dec. 2017].

The Balance. (2017). Which President Added Most to the U.S. Debt?. [online] Available at: [Accessed Dec. 2017].

The Economist. (2002). Imperial overstretch?. [online] Available at: [Accessed 8 Apr. 2018].

World Bank. (2016). By the Numbers: The Cost of War & Peace in the Middle East. [online] Available at: [Accessed 18 Apr. 2018].

World Bank. (2017). The Toll of War: The Economic and Social Consequences of the Conflict in Syria. [online] Available at: [Accessed Dec. 2017]

Yazid, N. (2015) The Theory of Hegemonic Stability, Hegemonic Power and International Political Economic Stability. Global Journal of Political Science and Administration Vol.3, No.6, pp.67-79, (December 2015). Published by European Centre for Research Training and Development UK (


Women’s (subordinate) role in the global political economy.

Picture11(Stop Sex Trafficking, 2017)

The end of Communism witnessed the ever-growing necessity for capital and finances, to keep up with globalisation and soaring rates for produce and housing. This precedented an advance in employment roles which were either exclusive of women, subjugating of women or which forced women into unhealthy working environments. “Globalization is tied to momentous political changes of the present era such as the rise of identity politics” (Butale, 2015). Representing nearly 50% of the population, women’s identity is one of the most crucial to understanding and improving our current political and economic landscape. The disparity between men and women detriments not only women themselves, but the economy, society and general global prosperity. Furthermore, not only is poverty “both a cause and a consequence of inequality” (McBain, 2014), it is also reported that “gender inequality is costing the global economy trillions of dollars per year” (McBain, 2014).

Inequality for women affects both developed and non-developed countries, and “there is no country in the world where women have equal economic and political power to men” (McBain, 2014). Since the Fourth World Conference on Women in Beijing in 1995, women’s rights have had more focus as has their necessity in the global economy. Whereas women were once not regarded at all, today women are given more influence yet under the guise of “equal” rights. In more advanced societies, whilst both men and women contribute to the job industry, the dominance of males in the workplace is evident with unequal wages between genders and the disparity henceforth remains.

Worryingly, the exploitation of women in numerous job industries – which often aids a country’s economy – remains a deadly factor. Globally, the increase in vulnerable women has multiplied astronomically. There is a direct link between the rise of capitalism and globalism and the way in which women are subject to its pitfalls, corroborated by “Marxist feminists [who] make a causal connection between capitalism and the subordination of women. They contend that women are an exploited class in the capitalist mode of production” (Butale, 2015). Whilst women suffer both in developed and developing nations, the frequency in which women migrating to other countries is a great matter for concern and “migrant women from developing countries are increasingly victims of trafficking, for the purpose of sexual exploitation” (Butale, 2015).

Beijing intended a monumental implementation of factors to accomplish female inclusion and equality, yet since, the sex trafficking industry has alone seen a massive influx in workers where women simply are forced into finding any way to keep up with the demanding expenses that have pressured them since the progression of globalisation. A report for a Workshop organized by the Division for the Advancement of Women, on behalf of the United Nations, further explains that women are much more likely to end up “in intolerable forms of employment” and that “globalization to date has done too little to minimize gender inequalities” (Lim, 1999). Women have been forced to find “alternative circuits of survival” to earn a living, including “prostitution, labor migration [and] illegal trafficking” (Roberts, 2008).

This current era was coined by Pettman as the “international political economy of sex” (O’Brien and Williams, 2016: 212), where women’s bodies are “tradable commodities” (O’Brien and Williams, 2016: 212). This is referred to as the “feminization of survival” as these means of creating income “are dependent on women” and are a necessary, and often only, choice for some women (Roberts, 2008). These not only contribute to the woman’s livelihood, but also government revenue, demonstrating that governments are profiting from gender inequality, and in effect profiting from the vulnerable and dangerous situations women find themselves in, due to the disparity between genders in the modern global economy (Roberts, 2008). The sex industry “is estimated to be worth billions of dollars per annum” (O’Brien and Williams, 2016: 212). Whilst governments may profit from certain industries that inhibit women and force them into dangerous situations, “it is calculated that women could increase their income globally by up to 76 per cent if the employment participation gap and the wage gap between women and men were closed. This is calculated to have a global value of USD 17 trillion” (UN Women, 2017).

The UN Women organisation states “when more women work, economies grow” (UN Women, 2017). The question remains as to why there is still a dichotomy between genders, particularly when regarding the benefits that would be reaped to truly create equality, and as a consequence an increase in each nation’s, and the global, economy.

Leila Lerari – M00559185



Butale, C. (2015). Globalization and its impact on women in developing countries | International Association for Political Science Students. [online] International Association for Political Science Students. Available at: [Accessed Dec. 2017].

Ferant, G. and Kolev, A. (2016). The economic cost of gender-based discrimination in social institutions. [ebook] OECD Development Centre. Available at: [Accessed Dec. 2017].

Lim, L. (1999). Women and the Global Economy. [online] Beirut, Lebanon: Gender Promotion Programme International Labour Office, Department for Economic and Social Affairs (DESA) United Nations. Available at: [Accessed Dec. 2017].

McBain, S. (2014). Gender inequality is costing the global economy trillions of dollars a year. [online] Available at: [Accessed Dec. 2017].

O’Brien, R. and Williams, M. (2016). Global political economy. 5th ed. Palgrave Macmillan, p.205. & p.212.

Revenga, A. and Shetty, S. (2012). Empowering Women Is Smart Economics. FINANCE & DEVELOPMENT, March 2012, Vol. 49, No. 1. [online] International Monetary Fund – IMF. Available at: [Accessed Dec. 2017].

Roberts, A. (2008). Review: Women and Work in the New Global Political Economy. International Studies Review, [online] 10(3), pp.622-625. Available at: [Accessed Dec. 2017].

Stop Sex Trafficking. (2017). [image] Available at: [Accessed Dec. 2017].

UN Women. (2017). Facts and Figures: Economic Empowerment. [online] Available at: [Accessed Dec. 2017].

UN Women | The Beijing Platform for Action Turns 20. (2015). The Beijing Platform for Action: inspiration then and now. [online] Available at: [Accessed Dec. 2017].



Africa – the forgotten continent?

Picture1.png(Migrant captured at gunpoint by Libyan slave traders, 2017)


Africa is a continent that has suffered – since the beginning of slavery, through colonialism and imperialism; since the destruction of its lands, the mistreatment of its people, and now left in a state of extreme poverty, no access to fresh water and limited opportunities for survival and developing of one’s livelihoods, Sub-Saharan Africa today accounts for almost three-quarters of the Least Developed Countries (LDC’s) globally (Oxfam, 2001: 7).

Development assistance in LDC’s has fallen by approximately 30% since 1990 (Oxfam, 2001: 15) and Africa’s “marginalisation in world trade” (Oxfam, 2001: 11) has led to Africa being unable to prosper. Inequality between people, and inequality amongst states, have created a breeding ground for criminal activity to strengthen and progress. Extreme poverty which affects around 48% of African people’s lives (The Borgen Project, 2015), provides little or no hope to the people living there. More than 20% of children die before the age of 5 in countries such as Malawi, Mozambique and Zambia (Oxfam, 2001: 7)  with many familiies’ only hope is that of migrating to a better land where they may be able to improve their lives, in favour of being sucked into the vast and dangerous criminal circuit that is prevalent across the African continent. Not only an issue of humanity, but issues of poverty and issues of immense inequality, Africa has become the world’s forgotten land.

“The existence of glaring disparities between rich and poor nations will continue to fuel a trade in  people-smuggling and illegal migration” (O’brien and Williams, 2016: 312). Today, this is evidenced across Libya, where Libyan’s are profiting from the hopes and dreams of the 150,000 sub-Saharan Africans looking to migrate into Italy each year (, 2017), exploiting their desperation and selling the men and women, as slaves to the highest bidder. But in this continent where Africans have been pitted against each other for centuries, can we be surprised at those maximising off of the weaknesses of others, knowing that they too probably have limited options themselves too to live? The migration crisis that is often the only choice for some Africans has natural costs that detriment the entire global economy, with the cost of migration for the European Union in 2016 alone was estimated to be £20billion (Little, 2016), not inclusive of 2017 in wake of the further Libyan migration crisis, however, these financial costs are relatively nothing in comparison to the cost of loss and suffering of human lives.

Africa’s inability to recover from history that has led to monumental issues of poverty, and inequality, have been amplified in world wide affairs. “Trade policies in industrialised countries are carefully designed to prevent LDCs from taking advantage of export opportunities” (Oxfam, 2001: 9), therefore, being unable to trade and build upon their GDPs is restricting Africa’s chances of progression. Furthermore, the debt system has placed many African nations in such a cycle that up to 20% of their funds, including through aid, are being spent on debt servicing and repayments, (Oxfam, 2001: 16) because they are simply not creating enough disposable revenue. Debt programmes through the IMF and World Bank have jeopardised the already fragile nature of African economies, meaning that they are stuck in a state of extreme poverty.

Additionally, in an article titled “Africa is not poor, we are stealing its wealth”, the author argues that the rest of the world is actually further preventing Africa from development and growth, and that “sub-Saharan Africa is a net creditor to the rest of the world to the tune of more than $41bn”, with $213bn leaving the continent, ‘stolen’ by multinational corporations along with ‘illicit financial flows’ (Dearden, 2017). Considering Africa’s numerous political and economic issues, those involved need “to stop perpetuating the harm they are doing” (Dearden, 2017), in order for Africa to capitalise on the maximum amount of opportunities possible to develop the continent and as a result, their people’s lives. For now, however, it appears that the world wants Africa to suffer. Underdevelopment of the country and its people, is meaning that inequality is worsening, due to a system of elitism and corruption that does nothing to benefit the poor. Despite forms of aid, “poverty has not declined in the LDCs in sub-Saharan Africa and the incidence of poverty has risen to more than 60% in countries such as Zambia, Mali and Niger” (Oxfam, 2001: 7).

Only 5 countries have met the 0.2% of GNP promised to be dedicated towards aid for LDCs at the UNLDC 11 Programme of Action (Oxfam, 2001: 15). This shows that it has become less of a concern to help a land that some argue is irreparable. However, duty free and quota free access for exports could help these nations build a bigger trade network that, if distributed appropriately, could build upon their economies and aid in self-assistance to such global economical threats such as extreme poverty and inequality, and bring about a change that includes prosperity and longevity for its inhabitants.

Leila Lerari – M00559185
 (2017). IOM: African migrants traded in Libya’s ‘slave markets’. [online] Available at: [Accessed Dec. 2017].

Dearden, N. (2017). Africa is not poor, we are stealing its wealth. [online] Available at: [Accessed 18 Apr. 2018].

Little, A. (2016). Migrant crisis will cost £20bn: Experts reveal shock price the EU has to pay. [online] Available at: [Accessed Dec. 2017].

Migrant captured at gunpoint by Libyan slave traders. (2017). [image] Available at: [Accessed Dec. 2017].

O’Brien, R. and Williams, M. (2016). Global political economy. 5th ed. Palgrave Macmillan.

Oxfam, 2001. ‘Rigged Trade and Not Much Aid: How Rich Countries Help to Keep the Least Developed Countries Poor’ Oxfam International. May 2001. Available at: [Accessed 10th April 2018]

The Borgen Project. (2015). 10 Shocking Facts about Poverty in Africa | The Borgen Project. [online] Available at: [Accessed 13 Apr. 2018].