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Module 6: The Political Economy of Sustainable Development

This module will endeavour to scrutinise the politics and institutional framework of sustainable development. It will combine theoretical approaches to international political economy, incorporating what Robert Gilpin (1987: 25) referred to as ‘the three ideologies of international political economy (IPE)’, namely realism, liberalism and Marxism, with practical experience of development encompassing the impact of economic globalization along with the emergence of civil society and gendered development as important actors in the process of sustainable development.

 The impact of various theoretical models on sustainable development and the relative failure of each of these models to ascribe a successful path to development will also be assessed. The influence of international organisations such as the World Trade Organization, the International Monetary Fund and World Bank on facets of sustainable development such as economic growth, trade protectionism and/or liberalisation, debt restructuring, regulation of foreign investment and finance, intellectual property rights, governance, climate change and human rights, and the theoretical underpinnings of such international institutions will also be critically appraised. By the end of the module students should be able to assess the strengths and weaknesses inherent in the tripartite pedagogical framework of IPE and to demonstrate a comprehensive understanding of competing theories of IPE and how these can be applied to practical experience in the context of sustainable development.

 

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