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The Westfailure system

  • SUSAN STRANGE
    • Published online: 01 July 1999
Abstract

From an international political economy perspective, the international political system of states claiming exclusive authority and the monopoly of legitimate violence within their territorial limits—the so-called Westphalia system—is inseparable from the prevailing capitalist market economy which also first evolved in Europe. Each was a necessary condition for the evolution of the other. To prosper, production and trade required the security provided by the state. To survive, the state required the economic growth, and the credit-creating system of finance, provided by the economic system. But the latter has now created three major problems that the political system, by its very nature, is incapable of solving. First, there is the major failure to manage and control the financial system—witness the Asian turmoil of 1997. Second, there is the failure to act for the protection of the environment. Third, there is a failure to preserve a socio-economic balance between the rich and powerful and the poor and weak. The Westfailure system is thus failing Capitalism, the Planet and global (and national) civil society.

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Review of International Studies
  • ISSN: 0260-2105
  • EISSN: 1469-9044
  • URL: /core/journals/review-of-international-studies
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