chapter  8
53 Pages

States and the Dynamics of Global Economic Competition

Our ability to understand the dynamics of competition within global political economy depends much on the ability to comprehend the role of technology and its effects on this system. The developments in technology over the past forty years affect systems of global political economy in at least four related ways. First, technological capabilities are at the heart of the pace and size of economic growth, which affects the global distribution of economic, military, and political power. Second, technologies affect what can be done at a particular price in shaping the human and physical environment and consequently alter where and how production takes place, the quality and speed of communication and interaction, and the ability to create and apply power. Third, the distribution of technology across and within nations, combined with the relative size of barriers to accessing knowledge and technology, dramatically affect the ability of nations to catch up or fall behind in relative capabilities. Finally, technologies interact with political and economic institutions to influence the character of economic production and the nature and degree of economic interdependence among nations. Technology alone does not determine these outcomes, but interacts with political and economic institutions to shape processes related to power, wealth, and modes of global interaction. This chapter is designed to help students comprehend and analyze these processes.