How does Marxism account for the uneven levels of power present in international society?

The class conflict

Marxism has come into the recent scope of international relations, since the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991. To essentially understand the underlying principles and concepts of Marxism, the basis of comparable factors are taken account, which is largely placed on the scale of economics.

The means of production; the bourgeoisie who controls the means of production while the proletariat who works for the bourgeoisie. In the context of power in relation, Karl Marx categorises the quintessence of the dichotomy of dividing these two groups, or rather classes. The class struggle of socio-economic relations constitutes the reformations that are needed to a benign transformation of the society, of which Marx is inclined to the benefits of the proletariat through emancipation.

To further bring this critical theory onto the stage of international relations, the normalisation of the international society occurs in the pretext, which begs the question.

The poignant view of Abraham Lincoln’s famous quote that is widely shared as a justification for democracy; “The government of the people, by the people, for the people”.

In Marx’s theory, ‘people’ are referred to the bourgeoisie, as the government functions only for the prosperity of the bourgeoisie, and by defining political elites as an association of the class.

In the international society, the conflicts that occur between states are on the basis of struggle for power. Marx argues that ‘power’ is the imperialistic behaviour of economic purposes and the bluntest impetus for that pursue is for the benefits of the political elites. Marxists redefine the structure of international society into a set of international system, the World System Theory; core states, semi-peripheral states and peripheral states.

States proceed with the notion of a rewarding system; from a peripheral state which is entitled to economic ‘gifts’ such as goods and services by core states, but in the intention of reaping capital benefits from peripheral states. The majority of these benefits goes to the ruling class, political elites which holds an enormous stake of economic power, rather than to the common polity, the proletariats. States engage in coercion and consent behaviour, to which the bourgeois masters of two states cooperate with each other to consensus of benign economic decisions, or resort to coercion by the former or latter whom has the greater power, in terms of economic prowess and military arsenal.

The nuances of the Marxist theory on the uneven powers of international society, appropriately discusses the debate of on ruling class; the bourgeoisie and the proletariat. The ‘power’ is empowered by the culmination and the structure of the states’ economy, in relation to the globalist world that we live in today, as we call it the international society bounded by rules and practices, in the backdrop of state sovereignty, diplomacy, international law and the salient issue of balance of power.


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