+1 Recommend
1 collections

      If you have found this article useful and you think it is important that researchers across the world have access, please consider donating, to ensure that this valuable collection remains Open Access.

      The World Review of Political Economy is published by Pluto Journals, an Open Access publisher. This means that everyone has free and unlimited access to the full-text of all articles from our international collection of social science journalsFurthermore Pluto Journals authors don’t pay article processing charges (APCs).



      • Record: found
      • Abstract: found
      • Article: found
      Is Open Access

      Clearing the Minefield: State Theory and Geopolitical Economy

      World Review of Political Economy
      Pluto Journals
      capitalist state, Marx, imperialism, geopolitical economy, competition


            Four recent books on competition and crisis in the 20th century have contributed to renewed interest in Marxist theory while reopening some contentious issues. While central to all four books, the role of the capitalist state is not theorised systematically, a weakness which reflects an enduring gap in Marxist theory. One of the challenges when theorising the state is that the latter must be situated within a complex set of multiscalar relationships involving accumulation and competition. The author argues that the state must be understood as having multiple, intersecting determinations and suggests that a satisfactory theory of the state may be constructed by showing how these determinations arise from the logic of capitalist competition and crisis. Conceptualised as generative mechanisms, they denote not only the main influences on state decisions and behaviour but also—and crucially—the fundamental limits on state decision making.


            Author and article information

            World Review of Political Economy
            Pluto Journals
            Winter 2015
            : 6
            : 4
            : 459-481
            © 2015 World Association for Political Economy

            All content is freely available without charge to users or their institutions. Users are allowed to read, download, copy, distribute, print, search, or link to the full texts of the articles in this journal without asking prior permission of the publisher or the author. Articles published in the journal are distributed under a http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/.

            Symposium: The Materiality of Nations in Geopolitical Economy: Co-Edited by Radhika Desai

            Political economics
            capitalist state,geopolitical economy,competition,imperialism,Marx


            1. 1968. Imperialism . New York: Harcourt Brace Janovich.

            2. 1994. The Long Twentieth Century . London: Verso.

            3. 1978. “A Note on the Theory of Capitalist States.” Capital & Class 2 (1): 118–26. doi:10.1177/030981687800400108.

            4. 1998. The Possibility of Naturalism . 3rd ed. London: Routledge.

            5. 1977. “The Ruling Class Does Not Rule: Notes on the Marxist Theory of the State.” Socialist Revolution 33: 6–28.

            6. 1986. “The Social Basis of Economic Development.” In Analytical Marxism , edited by , 23–53. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

            7. 2006. The Economics of Global Turbulence: The Advanced Capitalist Economies from Long Boom to Long Downturn, 1945–2005 . London: Verso.

            8. 2007. “What Is, and What Is Not, Imperialism?” Historical Materialism 14 (4): 79–105. doi:10.1163/156920606778982464

            9. 2009. Imperialism and Global Political Economy . Cambridge: Polity Press.

            10. 1991. The State Debate . London: Macmillan.

            11. 1999. “Capitalist Competition and the Tendency to Overproduction: Comments on Brenner's ‘Uneven Development and the Long Downturn.”’ Historical Materialism 4 (1): 57–71. doi:10.1163/156920699100414409.

            12. 2000. Karl Marx's Theory of History: A Defence . Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.

            13. 2013. Geopolitical Economy: After US Hegemony, Globalization and Empire . London: Pluto.

            14. , , and 2001. “Brenner on Competition.” Capital & Class 25 (2): 61–77. doi:10.1177/030981680107400104.

            15. 1910. Socialism, Utopian and Scientific . Chicago: C. H. Kerr & Co.

            16. 2003. The New Imperialism . Oxford: Oxford University Press.

            17. 2006. The Limits to Capital . 2nd ed. London: Verso.

            18. 1987. Mirages and Miracles: The Crisis in Global Fordism . London: Verso.

            19. 1973. Grundrisse. Foundations of the Critique of Political Economy . New York: Vintage Books.

            20. 1992. Capital , vol. 1. London: Penguin.

            21. 1945. “The Evil of Politics and the Ethics of Evil.” Ethics 56 (1): 1–18. doi:10.1086/290471.

            22. 1973. The Fiscal Crisis of the State . New York: St. Martin's Press.

            23. 1984. Contradictions of the Welfare State . London: Hutchinson.

            24. 1978a. Political Power and Social Classes . London: Verso.

            25. 1978b. State, Power, Socialism . London: New Left Books.

            26. 2003. Empire of Capital . London: Verso.

            27. 1978. Class, Crisis and the State . London: New Left Books.


            Comment on this article