Economic Structuralism


Advocates of economic structuralism suggest that to comprehend how states behave within the international system, it is necessary to examine not only the geographical economic development of states but also the subsequent political and social relations between them, in particular, the unethical nature of the rich states in regards to the poor states.

Economic structuralism advocates for the developed states, saying that developed states gain their wealth by keeping developing states at a disadvantage. This paradigm is too harsh for the human mind to accept as a plausible ideology. Realism works so well because realism justifies the idea that people are selfish and put themselves first so if you do not protect yourself no one else will. Liberalism works so well because it is backed by faith in humanity and cooperation, but the ideology of economic structuralism doesn’t justify anything in terms of what one does to another.

Constructivism focuses on the idea that there is no known constant reality. The concept is that apart from human consciousness, society does not exist and society and politics are made up of people. People’s ideas and beliefs are important precedents that need to be understood to grasp the ideas of a constructivist. Constructivism is the paradigm that says knowledge is built from learning by experiencing rather than just actively taking in the data presented.

As people experience the world and reflect on these experiences, they build their own interpretations and integrate new information into their current knowledge creating the concept of society. For example, the concept of anarchy is not a fixed or determined reality at all from the perspective of a constructivist. Instead, it is rendered subject to manipulation based on a state’s ideas, preferences, beliefs, and values.

To make sense of anarchy Alexander Wendt states in layman’s terms that, “anarchy is what states make of it.” Essentially Wendt is saying we created society through experiences and lifestyles. If one cannot understand and grasp this complex concept then every explanation this paradigm offers will not make sense.

Knowledge can only exist within the human mind and it does not have to match any real-world realities. As such many people may not be able to comprehend the abstract forms of reality and transfer these skills to new situations.

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