ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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The Multipolar Global Political Economy

Global trends indicate that the geopolitical transition towards a multipolar international system is matched by a growing diversifi cation of the global political economy. The desire for a unipolar order from hegemonic powers accompanied by force, interventions and hybrid wars will not reverse this trend, though there can be some upsets, with specifi c countries switching to become satellites of unipolar great powers.

The geopolitical transition to a multipolar system is matched by an emerging polycentric political economy as its material base. Commercial centres, earlier concentrated in the West, have diversified to the “emerging economies” of the developing countries in the global South. Noted in the 2000s when emerging economies were welcomed into the Group of Twenty (G20), the Russia–Ukraine war and the international reactions to this war have hastened the processes towards multipolarity. The United States (US) seeks to maintain a unipolar world order where its hegemony is unchallenged. The European Union (EU) has opted for Atlanticism linked with the US. Russia and China have been rooting for multipolarity for three decades. Much of the global South has opted for strategic autonomy and neutrality in this period of heightened rivalry and war. This article argues that a power shift in the international system is irreversible because a multicentred political economy is emerging that contradicts the politics of unipolarity.

Multipolarity is not a symmetrical distribution of economic, political, and strategic power. It is highly uneven and une­qual as part of capitalist development. These “other” states do not have a single coordinating system and have internal and external contradictions, yet they have learnt the art of strategic autonomy and have the capacity to work between diff­erent power and economic systems. The president of the World Bank argued in 1982 that the global economy has bec­ome multipolar, rather than bipolar, bec­ause of the growth patterns of several countries of the South, especially the Organi­zation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) (Benjenk 1982). This pattern has increased over the years. This article examines the reasons, strategies and possible outcomes of these historic shifts with a focus on the geopolitical and geoeconomics choices of the global South and asks if these shifts serve the interests of the people of these regions.

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Updated On : 17th Jan, 2023
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