World Statehood

The Future of World Politics

Published 07/2023

Developing a processual understanding of world statehood, this book combines history, political philosophy, explanatory social science, and critical-reflexive futures studies. While doing so, it poses essential questions about world political integration, especially (i) whether and to what degree elements of world statehood exist today, (ii) whether the development of further elements of world statehood in some stronger sense can be seen as a tendential direction of history, and (iii) whether, and under what conditions, a world state could be viable?

The book is organised into three parts. The first part, ”Cosmopolitical processes“, explores whether world history as a whole is directed towards planetary integration, focusing on the emergence of cosmopolitanism, the world economy, and the peace problematic. The second part of the book, ”Reflexive futures and agency“, focuses on the contemporary 21st-century processes of world history in terms of how non-fixed pasts, changing contexts, and anticipations of the future interact. The author explains how certain rational directionality is compatible with the possibility of deglobalisation, disintegrative tendencies, and ”gridlock“ in global governance in the key areas of the economy, security, and environment. In the final part of the book, ”World statehood and beyond“, the author develops further the processual and open-ended account of the formation of interconnected elements of world statehood by discussing the cases of a global greenhouse gas tax and world parliament. He also analyses the feasibility of different paths towards global-scale integration and the potential for conflicts, divisions, and disintegration.

This book is a must-read for students and scholars of political science, international relations, history, sociology, political philosophy, and futures studies interested in a better understanding of world statehood, world political integration, as well as the future of world politics.

Debating the War in Ukraine

Counterfactual Histories and Future Possibilities

Published 12/2022

Debating the War in Ukraine discusses whether the war could have been avoided, and, if so, how? In this dialogical book, the authors discuss nodal points of history in terms of counterfactuals and contrastive explanations, concluding by considering future possibilities.

They start in the 1990s where several causal elements of the war originate involving Russia’s economic developments and Europe’s security arrangements. Moving on to the next decade, they focus on the Iraq war, colour revolutions, and NATO’s 2008 announcement that Ukraine and Georgia will become members. Finally, they explore the past decade including the Ukrainian crisis of 2013–2014, the annexation of Crimea, and the consecutive war in east Ukraine. The current war can also be seen as a continuum of that war. The authors agree that NATO’s 2008 announcement on Ukraine’s and Georgia’s NATO membership was an unnecessary provocation, and that the implementation of the Minsk agreement could have prevented the current war, but otherwise their analysis of counterfactual possibilities differs, especially when it comes to the action-possibilities of the West (including diverse actors). These differences are not just dependent on different readings of relevant evidence but, importantly, stem from dissimilar contrast spaces and divergent theoretical understandings of the nature of states and mechanisms of international relations and political economy.

This short, highly accessible book will be of great interest to all those studying and working in international relations and its various subfields such as peace and conflict studies and security studies, as well as all those wishing to understand more about the backdrop of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February 2022.

The Three Fields of Global Political Economy

Published 02/2022

The Three Fields of Global Political Economy provides a systematic and future-oriented account of global political economy dynamics since the industrial revolution and argues that major changes and conflicting processes can be understood through the concept of these three fields.

The first field is constituted by the circuit of capital and is characterised by a tendency towards economic liberalism. The second field is brought about by reactions to, and learning from, cycles and crises and various negative experiences. The third field is the field of reason of state. It is evoked by struggles within and among states and has its own inner generative structures. This book analyses the generic dynamics of these three fields of global political economy and explores their most significant causal effects, such as growth, employment, distribution of income and wealth, wars, and ecological effects. Together, the prevailing three fields, as well as the ideas and causal forces which generate them, constitute the ‘holomovement’ of the global political economy.

This book will appeal to advanced students and scholars of global studies, international relations, international political economy, economic theory, and governance, as well as those working in social theory and sociology, and to a broader audience interested in socioeconomics.

Brexit and the Political Economy of Fragmentation

Published 11/2017, edited with J. Morgan

Brexit means Brexit and other meaningless mantras have simply confirmed that confusion and uncertainty have dominated the early stages of this era defining event. Though there has been a lack of coherent and substantive policy goals from the UK government, this does not prevent analysis of the various causes of Brexit and the likely constraints on and consequences of the various forms Brexit might take. Is Brexit a last gasp of neoliberalism in decline? Is it a signal of the demise of the EU? Is it possible that the UK electorate will get what they thought they voted for (and what was that)? Will a populist agenda run foul of economic and political reality? What chance for the UK of a brave new world of bespoke trade treaties straddling a post-geography world? Is the UK set to become a Singapore-lite tax haven? What is the difference between a UK-centric and a UK-centred point of view on Brexit? Will Brexit augment disintegrative tendencies in the European and world economy? These are some of the questions explored in this timely set of essays penned by some of the best known names in political economy and international political economy. The chapters in this book originally published as a special issue in Globalizations.

Disintegrative Tendencies in Global Political Economy

Published 10/2017

Whether we talk about human learning and unlearning, securitization, or political economy, the forces and mechanisms generating both globalization and disintegration are causally efficacious across the world. Thus, the processes that led to the victory of the ‘Leave’ campaign in the June 2016 referendum on UK European Union membership are not simply confined to the United Kingdom, or even Europe. Similarly, conflict in Ukraine and the presidency of Donald Trump hold implications for a stage much wider than EU-Russia or the United States alone.

Patomäki explores the world-historical mechanisms and processes that have created the conditions for the world’s current predicaments and, arguably, involve potential for better futures. Operationally, he relies on the philosophy of dialectical critical realism and on the methods of contemporary social sciences, exploring how crises, learning and politics are interwoven through uneven wealth-accumulation and problematical growth-dynamics. Seeking to illuminate the causes of the currently prevailing tendencies towards disintegration, antagonism and – ultimately – war, he also shows how these developments are in fact embedded in deeper processes of human learning. The book embraces a Wellsian warning about the increasingly likely possibility of a military disaster, but its central objective is to further enlightenment and holoreflexivity within the current world-historical conjuncture.

This work will be of interest to students and scholars of international relations, peace research, security studies and international political economy

The Great Eurozone Disaster

Published 03/2013

The last couple of years have seen the eurozone lurch from crisis to calamity. With Greece, Portugal and Ireland already driven to the brink of economic catastrophe, and the threat that a number of other EU countries are soon to follow, the consequences for the global economy are potentially dire. In The Great Eurozone Disaster, Heikki Patomäki dissects the current crisis, revealing its origins lie in the instability that has driven the process of financialisation since the early 1970s. Furthermore, the public debt crises in the European deficit countries have been aggravated rather than alleviated by the responses of the Commission and leaders of the surplus countries, especially Germany.

Providing a captivating narrative about how Europe ended up in its present predicament, Patomäki presents a radical new vision for 'global economic democracy' as the only viable way out of the current crisis.

The Political Economy of Global Security

Published 06/2008

What are the possibilities for and conditions of global security in the 21st century?

This book provides an innovative study of future wars, crises and transformations of the global political economy. It brings together economic theory, political economy, peace and conflict research, philosophy and historical analogy to explore alternatives for the future.

Patomäki develops a bold, original and thought provoking political economy analysis of the late 20th century neo-liberalisation and globalisation and their real effects, which he describes as a 21st century version imperialism. In order for us to understand global security and to anticipate the potential threats and crises, he argues that a holistic understanding and explanation of history is necessary and demonstrates that a systematic causal analysis of structures and processes is required. Putting this theory into practice, Patomäki constructs a comparative explanatory model which traces the rise of imperialism in the late 19th century and culminated in the First World War. He argues that even a partial return to the 19th century ideals and practices is very likely to be highly counterproductive in the 21st century world and could become a recipe for a major global catastrophe.

This book will be of interest to students and scholars of international relations, globalization studies, politics, economics and security studies.

A Possible World: Democratic Transformation of Global Institutions

Published 10/2004 with T. Teivainen

The scope and powers of international institutions - the United Nations, the Bretton Woods institutions, the World Trade Organization - continue to grow with globalization. If democratic values are still sought after, then their deficit at international level must be addressed. This book surveys the range of proposals on the table, with an emphasis on feasibility. It describes and evaluate a wide spectrum of democratic reform proposals for the UN, World Bank and IMF, the WTO and international judicial institutions. It explores innovative ideas for empowering global civil society; a Global Truth Commission; referenda and a World Parliament; a debt arbitration mechanism and global taxation.

After International Relations. Critical Realism and the (Re)Construction of World Politics

Published 08/2003

After International Relations articulates a systematic critical realist response to a quest for more emancipatory methodologies in International Relations. Heikki Patomäki here establishes a way out of the international relations problematic which has puzzled so many great thinkers and scholars for the last two hundred years. After International Relations shows how and why theories based on the international problematic have failed; articulates an alternative, critical realist research programme; and illustrates how this research programme can be put to work to enable better research and ethico-political practices.

Democratising Globalisation: The Leverage of the Tobin Tax

Published 08/2001

In the 1970s Professor James Tobin proposed a very modest tax on currency transactions to make much speculative movement of funds unprofitable and the world financial system less volatile. Heikki Patomaki makes an up-to-date case for the Tobin tax, and explains how to implement it. He argues that global financial markets undermine the real economy of production and employment, cause de-democratization by transferring accountability away from national parliaments, and redistribute wealth in favour of the well-off. The Tobin tax, if implemented with other regulatory measures, would be emancipatory. It would control global finance, bolster state autonomy and influence the politics of globalization towards democratic control, social responsibility and justice. The main obstacle is lack of political will. Dr. Patomaki argues that a group of countries could initiate the system, and develops the idea of a Tobin tax organization (TTO) which would implement and supervise the process.