Theory Description


Marxism - Exploitation

  • Capitalism is exploitative social system with two classes - capitalists and workers. It is a system based on ownership of means of production - which the capitalists own and workers do not. There is an unequal cooperative relationship between the two where the capitalists essentially exploit the working class. Capitalist wealth derived from surplus value.
  • Primitive accumulation - workers are thrown off their land and left with nothing to sell but their labour. Capitalists sieze control of the means of production and employ the workers - essentially owning their labour. Through owning their labour they can force the workers to work for much longer hours than needed to achieve the workers subsistence wage. This unpaid labour produces surplus value which the capitalists are legally entitled to.
  • Capitalists in order to create more wealth, will invest in machinery which increases the rate of production. By doing so they lay off workers - putting them into the reserve pool of labour. Thus they exploit the workers by keeping them on standby until they are needed.
  • By maintaining a subsistence wage capitalists ensure that they are not paying the worker anymore than they need to - and by maintaining a subsistance wage, they can exploit the worker - make them work the max unpaid hours - as much as possible to gain max surplus value. (Also ensure continuation of reserve pool)
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Depoliticisation - Aims, Characteristics etc.

Definition - A form of statecraft involving the political act of placing / the political character of decision making at one remove from the elected government. (Burnham).

Aims of depoliticisation - The aims/aspects of depoliticisation include allowing the govt to retain arms length control over decision making; insulate the government from electorally damaging consequences; offload responsibility for unpopular policies and change market expectations while maintaining policy credibility. 

Characteristics of depoliticisation - There is a relaxing of direct control, decentralised policy making, highly rules based, more independence given to central banks.

Thus is practice, depoliticisation is characterised by the use of rule-based systems, transferring of responsibilty to other instituitons, shifting of the management of public tasks and creation of discursive claims to construct certain narratives.

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The Developmental State - Definition and Character

Definition - The phenomenon of the state-led macroeconomic planning in East Asia in the latter half of the 20th century that resulted for a time in highly increased growth and productivity.


  • characterised primarily by its heavy state intervention and extensive regulation and planning (and some -  heavy investment into human capital e.g. education and savings)
  • a strong focus on industrialisation facilitation as opposed to maximising profit;
  • market actor rationality being constrained by state officials pursing the goal of industrialisation;
  • the presence of a strong, autonomous state guided by government bureaucracy and not by business interests.
  • The market is also guided by long-term national development goals in which finance is channelled to meet these goals.
  • There is an ideal mix of market orientation and the state.

The developmental state also a single-minded focus on economic growth, goals being formulated in terms of growth.  Also limited thought given to social welfare.

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Globalisation - The theories

Definition - Globalisation is the process by which the world is becoming increasingly interconnected as a result of massively increased trade and cultural exchange. 

  • Hyperglobalist Theory - World is now becoming borderless due to the heightened flow of goods, capital, labour and information technology that flow effortlessly.  Developments in areas such as IT make it easier to transfer things like money quickly. Movement of goods and capital etc undermine the role of national governments.
  • Sceptical Theory'borderless' flow of trade, capital etc is in fact concentrated in three main regions. Significant cost associated with moving locations - so flow of capital is in fact not effortless. Decisions still made at a national level - and state still consumes most GDP.
  • Complex Theory - Globalisation is a process - the regional blocs appearing are part of a wider process. There is uneven economic development - some areas becoming globalised much faster. More emphasis and prioritisation on economic competitiveness (national level).
  • New Institutionalist - Works in favour of the nation-state.Continuing divergance between market liberal and social democratic regimes and forces. Punishes incoherency etc.
  • Ideational Thesis - Looked in a discursive context - seen as a self-fulfilling prophecy. Concept MP's can use to put certain policies. Can also be understood as a consequence.
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Capitalism and Crisis - Definition and Reason

Definition of crisis - Complex moments of indetermincy within the economic system. It can either be seen as exogenous (originating outside the system) or endogenous (originating within the system) 

  • Orthodox - Crisis is exogenous - due to external shocks. It is also a unique event each time, which can be rectified by bailing out affected institutions, implementing austerity cuts etc.
  • Keynes - Crisis is endogenous - it happens during the slump stage of the business cycle. Due to the fact that key consumption and investment decisions are placed in the hands of private individuals - overproduction/underconsumption - workers cant afford to buy due to static wages.
  • Post-Keynes - Crisis is endogenous - occuring in the boom stage too. In the boom stage, profits + credit are high and seem limitless. Banks increasingly give away loans to those who can't repay assuming that rising asset prices will give bigger returns. Loss of confidence mean ppl can't pay back their loans. Bank acquired assets at a loss.
  • Marx - Capitalists exploit workers for profit. Tendency for rate of profit to fall - capitalists keep producing while worker wages static. Also overaccumulation of capital is not profitable - contributes to excessive speculation and lending of credit leading to crisis.
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