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How Relevant Is The Marxist Critique Of Capitalism To The Analysis Of The Modern International System?

2463 words - 10 pages

Throughout the past century, the modern international system has been characterized by dominant practices in all of its distinct sectors. In the economic sector, capitalism has been a key economic activity since the 16th century in the form of mercantilism (Encyclopædia Britannica Online 2014). Since then, capitalism has evolved to become the principal economic model in the modern international system in the form of neo-liberal capitalism. For this reason, it has been shaping, and continues to shape, societies on a global scale.

Although it can be said that capitalism has prospered throughout the centuries and has turned into a strong economic practice, it hasn’t been exempt of criticism. Marxist school of thought sets forth the most challenging critiques capitalism has encountered. Marxist doctrine emerged in the 19th century with Karl Marx, along with Friedrich Engels (Encyclopædia Britannica Online 2014). Their critiques focus on the modes of production and determine class struggle as the central dynamic within the capitalist economic model, which as a result produce injustice and social inequality. These critiques had a global impact in the 19th and 20th century because they proposed a new and different way of understanding the international system. In more recent years, Marxist ideas have been exceedingly influential in opening the path to new theoretical developments in International Relations discipline.

With the end of the Cold War and the collapse of the Soviet Union, there have been numerous claims that “the era of Marxism is over and (that) the theory is now obsolete … that Marxism is no longer a viable theory or politics for the present age” (Kellner 1995, p. 4). Neo-liberal authors such as Francis Fukuyama also argue for the end of Marxism since it “failed in that it sought to promote in extreme form of social equality at the expense of liberty” (1992, p. 273).
This leads to the following question: is Marxist critique of capitalism still relevant to analyse the modern international system? One thing is to refute Marxist theory along with its feasibility as a whole, and another is to refute its academic value intended for the analysis of the international system. For this reason, this work aims to determine that Marxist critique of capitalism is still pertinent to the understanding and analysis of the modern international system. The founding of Marxist core ideas in the mid 19th century is a general critique towards worldwide capitalist economic practices, and attributes to it the reproduction of injustice as well as social inequality in societies. The modern international system is still governed by the same dominant capitalist economic practices, which reproduce similar exploitative conditions as it did when Marxist critiques emerged. Hence, the employment of Marxist critiques of capitalism is still applicable for the evaluation of the modern international system.

To achieve this work’s objective, the subsequent structure will...

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