World statehood: the future of world politics

August 2, 2023

The planetary perspective on the future of world politics is commonly associated with life and complex ecological systems on Earth. In the two centuries since the industrial revolution, the world economy has grown by a factor of 70 or 80. This huge economic growth has shaped the Earth system and led to multiple ongoing and interconnected ecological crises. Processes such as virus mutations, the development of science for example in AI and nanotechnology, securitization of issues such as migration and environment, and peace and war, also shape the future of humanity – as does space expansionism, for global processes have already extended their reach beyond the globe and into outer space. These dynamics have generated increasingly serious existential threats to humanity, which seems incapable of addressing them. In January 2023, The Bulletin of Atomic Scientists set the famous Doomsday Clock at 90 seconds to midnight – the closest to global catastrophe it has ever been. There is a need for novel ideas about the future of world politics. [This blog was first published at the Progress in Political Economy PPE-website on 1.8.2023 and can be directly accessed here; it has also been republished here, here and here.]

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The causes of war in Ukraine: on dialectical method and the role of global political economy

July 29, 2023

On the day that Russia attacked Ukraine, 24 February 2022, I was with my friend and colleague Tuomas Forsberg (TF) at the gym swimming as we do every now and then. We discussed the war and, above all, whether it could have been avoided and how. Over the years, we have had countless similar conversations. Although we have many joint interests, our theoretical research orientations as well as general political orientations are somewhat different. One of our agreements concerns the relevance of the dialectical method. As we both consider that arguments have to be formed in relation to other, alternative interpretations, we thought that perhaps we could try writing a systematic analysis of the causes of the war following the dialogue format. This resulted in a book Debating the War in Ukraine. Counterfactual Histories and Possible Futures published in December 2022 (available open access). The book is now followed by a special forum of Globalizations, “War in Ukraine: Future Possibilities”, published in July 2023, which includes our “The shape of things to come: a further dialogue” (also available open access). [This blog was originally published at the Progress in Political Economy PPE-website in Sydney and can be directly accessed here.]

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Emerging stories to live by

May 10, 2023

I fully support the idea that “our challenge today is to normalize more expansive ways of seeing and thinking that can offer the guidance, motivation, and hope needed to unite humans behind the colossal project of the Great Transition.” A worldview based on wide scales of time and space is essential for human survival and flourishing and, as David Christian emphasizes, recent developments in science and technology “have revolutionized our understanding of the histories of Earth and the biosphere.” [This is my contribution to the May 2023 GTI Forum Big History and Great Transition]

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Towards a ‘field theory’ of global political economy

May 9, 2023

In 1976, Robert Gilpin distinguished three contrasting political economy perspectives: liberalism, Marxism, and mercantilism. Gilpin introduced these International Relations derived categories as theories and ideologies of political economy, sometimes conceived either as explanatory models or future scenarios. He recognises that the three ideologies ‘define the conflicting perspectives’ that actors have, but he does not go as far as to theorise how the perspectives may be part of the dynamics of the world economy and generative of its history and future. Gilpin’s models, scenarios, and theories are thus mainly cognitive attempts to understand reality from the outside. Since Gilpin’s main works, a large number of critical and constructivist IPE and GPE approaches have arisen, stressing the constitutive role of ideas and performativity of theories. Many of these studies, however, tend to focus on aspects of contemporary matters or specific issues and fall short of analysing broad historical developments and, most markedly, causation. [This blog was originally published at the Progress in Political Economy PPE-website in Sydney and can be directly accessed here.]

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