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Global Political economy is conventionally understood as the study of how politics and economics mutually shape each other and the global system. Influenced by 18th and 19th century humanistic thought of liberalism (Adam Smith) , economic nationalism (Friedrich List) and socialism (Karl Marx) among many others, the discipline has focused on understanding the role of states, firms and workers in the international extraction, production, transportation, consumption and disposal of goods and services (the extraction -disposal chain) . The assumption has been that there are no important impacts on the natural world . From a post -humanistic perspective , however, and in the era of the Anthropocene , analysts must now also address the reciprocal impact of humans on nature and nature on humans .

This unit introduces students to conventional and emerging issues in Global Political Economy (GPE) from a Political Economy of Sustainability perspective . The unit examines conventional GPE narratives that frame perceptions of the GPE as having to do with markets (economic liberalism), states (economic nationalism) and workers (economic socialism). To these narratives, the unit also examines one that frames it as having to do with nature (political ecology) and discusses how these four narratives can be subsumed within the pluralistic, political economy of sustainability narrative. Following a discussion of GPE narratives, the unit examines several conventional GPE issues : global trade policy, global investment policy , and global monetary policy. In the era of the Anthropocene, a range of new issues must be also be analysed including the sustainability of extraction -disposal chains , and the unit also examines corporate malfeasance (e.g. multinational tax avoidance) and the digital revolution (e.g. robotics and jobs).

Summary 2021

Unit name Global Political Economy
Unit code HIR307
Credit points 12.5
Faculty/School College of Arts, Law and Education
School of Social Sciences
Discipline Politics and International Relations

A/P Fred Gale

Teaching staff

Professor Fred Gale

Level Advanced
Available as student elective? Yes
Breadth Unit? No



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* The Final WW Date is the final date from which you can withdraw from the unit without academic penalty, however you will still incur a financial liability (see withdrawal dates explained for more information).

About Census Dates

Learning Outcomes

  1. Identify and evaluate different arguments on GPE issues.
  2. Apply theoretical knowledge and research concerning GPE to analyse specific cases.
  3. Communicate about GPE issues fluently in written and/or oral formats drawing upon evidence and using referencing conventions as appropriate.




HIR101 OR HPP101 OR 12.5 points at introductory level in HSG units.


Mutual Exclusions

You cannot enrol in this unit as well as the following:


Teaching Pattern

On Campus:    web-based delivery of 13 weeks learning resources; 1-hr weekly tutorial (face-to-face and via MyLO webconference)

Off Campus:     web-based delivery of 13 weeks learning resources; weekly online tutorial discussions


Task 1: Exam, 2 hours (35%)

Task 2: Tutorial/Other participation (20%)

Task 3: Short essay, 1000 words (15%)

Task 4: Major essay, 2500 words (30%)

TimetableView the lecture timetable | View the full unit timetable



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