International Relations scholars appear to disagree on the causes of economic underdevelopment, and unequal distribution of wealth among states. Neo-Marxist scholars explain these inequalities through a systemic theory, focusing on a world system that benefits some states disproportionally. Others argue that the causes of economic underdevelopment are to be found in unit-level attributes. Which of these two examples do you find most compelling? Why?
The causes of economic underdevelopment and unequal distribution of wealth among states is a complex and contested issue. There is no single explanation that is universally accepted by international relations scholars.
Neo-Marxist scholars argue that the current international system is based on a world-system that benefits some states disproportionately. This world-system is characterized by a core of wealthy states that exploit a periphery of poor states. The core states control the means of production and the global financial system, while the periphery states are dependent on the core for investment and trade. This system of exploitation creates and perpetuates economic underdevelopment in the periphery.
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