Skip to main content
Login | Suomeksi | På svenska | In English

Browsing by study line "Global Political Economy"

Sort by: Order: Results:

  • Bellomo, Octavio Augusto (2022)
    This thesis is an investigation of the explanatory capacity of dependency theory in the context of the Argentine Republic from the start of the 20th Century to the COVID-19 pandemic. Explicitly, the research question is: to what extent, if any, can dependency theory explain the evolution of Argentine economic history? The core of the thesis is based on discussion concerning dependency theory as put forth by various scholars, especially dos Santos, Prebisch, and Tansey and Hyman. Argentina is a case study wherein dependency theory can be evaluated, as the country has had struggles developing and industrializing, and has utilized policy prescriptions encouraged by dependency theorists, such as import-substitution industrialization. Dependency theory is explained and analyzed using four tenets central to the theory as outlined by Tansey and Hyman. The theory’s explanatory capacity is tested/evaluated first quantitatively through empirical research, regressions, and a search for statistically significant correlations, then qualitatively through an analysis of Argentine economic history in the 20th and 21st Centuries. Empirical data were also utilized to supplement the qualitative analysis. Empirical findings demonstrated little evidence to support some dependency theory claims, such as negative impacts from conspicuous consumption, and showing meager negative correlations between dependency and economic development. The qualitative analysis suggested that dependency theory has some explanatory power for the reality and struggles of the Argentine economy in the earlier half of the 20th Century, but struggles to explain Argentina's reality in a more modern context. Overall, the Argentine experience does not reflect what dependency theory would expect. The growing importance of international capital, capital markets, and financialization has left dependency theory seemingly outdated. A narrow focus on the core-periphery dichotomy seems to hold the theory back from providing a functional explanation of the Argentine economy today. This thesis has also allowed for insight into the historical and contemporary flaws of the Argentine economy and its weak industrialization, including economic mismanagement, political strife, and a damaging pursuance of import-substitution industrialization.
  • Saarinen, Taru (2023)
    Post-growth economic thinking has received attention in recent years as an ecologically oriented alternative to current economic theory and policy practices. Specifically, post-growth thinking seeks alternatives to the growth paradigm, and the use of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) as a measure of ‘progress’ in wealthy countries. To tackle the issues with the GDP, a host of ‘Beyond GDP’ indicators have been proposed by academics and international institutions, aiming to measure ‘progress’ along wellbeing and ecological sustainability. This thesis discusses post-growth economic thinking and Beyond GDP indicators from the perspective of feminist political economy. The thesis builds a theoretical argument for a potential research area of feminist post-growth contributions to the Beyond GDP discussion. This argument also provides an answer to the following questions: When it comes to measuring progress, to what extent are post-growth and critical feminist ideas compatible? Further, what can such a perspective offer for the study of Beyond GDP indicators? Economic indicators, in this thesis, are understood as tools for prioritisation of economic policy. As such, indicators are seen to carry considerable power. The analysis highlights that there is a gap in literature on critical and philosophical political economic analyses of Beyond GDP indicators. With a theoretical analysis and a brief exploration of two alternative indicators, this thesis proposes concrete themes that a post-growth perspective integrating feminist considerations can highlight and further study in measurements of ‘progress’. These include understandings of the normative considerations behind indicators, the relationship between ‘the economy’ and other spheres such as ecological limits, as well as methodological considerations of how to complement quantitative data. In conclusion, this thesis argues that various considerations, such as the role attributed to ‘non-economical’ and structural factors, should be considered in measuring wellbeing and sustainability in a post-growth economy.
  • Kapanen, Miro (2022)
    Tutkielma käsittelee kiertotaloutta ja maailmantalouden keskinäisriippuvuuksien vaikutusta sen kehittymiseen globaalilla tasolla ja etenkin Euroopan Unionin kontekstissa. Tutkielmassa päähuomio kohdistuu Kiinan keskeiseen asemaan useiden merkittävien raaka-aineiden, erityisesti harvinaisten maametallien louhinnassa sekä tuotannossa. Kiinan keskeisestä asemasta on tullut riski muille maille, sillä muut maat ovat riippuvaisia Kiinasta kyseisten raaka-aineiden suhteen ja riskit osittain aktualisoituivat 2010-luvun alussa Kiinan asettaessa rajoituksia raaka-aineiden viennille. Tutkimus yrittääkin havainnollistaa pystyykö Kiina käyttämään muiden riippuvuutta raaka-ainetoimituksista ’aseena’, toisin sanoen käyttämään raaka-aineita geoekonomian ja geopolitiikan välineenä. Tutkimuksen toinen keskeinen huomio koskee miten Kiinan toimet, ja maailmantalouden keskinäisriippuvuudet ovat toisaalta nopeuttaneet kiertotalouden kehitystä etenkin EU:n kontekstissa. Tutkimuksen ensimmäinen puolisko esittelee keskeiset konseptit kuten kiertotalouden sekä keskinäisriippuvuuteen liittyvät kansainvälisen politiikan teoriat. Kolmannessa osiossa esitellään maailmantalouden kehittymistä ensimmäisen maailmansodan jälkeisestä ajasta nykyiseen globaaliin talouteen ja huomio kiinnittyy varsinkin kehityskulkuihin, jotka johtivat keskinäisriippuvuuden syntymiseen ja Kiinan aseman vahvistumiseen. Neljäs osio käsittelee Kiinan asemaa raaka-aine louhinnan ja tuotannon keskuksena ja pohjustaa kuudennen osion analyysiä siitä, että käyttikö Kiina vientirajoituksia ’aseena’. Neljännessä osiossa käsitellään myös Kiinan tuontikieltoa muovijätteelle, mikä on osaltaan vauhdittanut kiertotaloutta muilla alueilla. Tutkielman viides osio esittelee EU:n kiertotaloutta ja arvioi kriittisesti EU:n teknologiakeskeistä lähestymisnäkökulmaa kiertotalouteen. Kuudes osio kokoaa aiempien osioiden havainnot yhteen ja pohtii toimiko Kiina strategisesti vientirajoitusten kanssa ja voisiko se toimia tällä tavoin tulevaisuudessa. Seitsemäs osio on lyhyt katsaus kiertotalouden potentiaalisista globaaleista talousvaikutuksista. Tutkimuksen keskeisiin havaintoihin kuuluu epävarmuus Kiinan toimien strategisuudesta, jota on vaikea todentaa. Keskinäisriippuvuuden kasvu ja siirtymä hiilineutraaliin tulevaisuuteen kasvattavat useiden raaka-aineiden kysyntää, joiden kauppaa Kiina hallitsee. Tutkimus havaitsi kyseisestä Kiina-riippuvuudesta irtoamisen olevan haastavaa, jolloin Kiinan keskeinen asema tuskin olennaisesti muuttuu lähitulevaisuudessa. Kiristyvät suurvaltapoliittiset jännitteet tekevät riippuvuuden Kiinasta haastavaksi muille. Loppuhavaintoihin sisältyy myös kiertotalouden välttämättömyys globaalin materiaalikulutuksen kasvaessa. Tutkimuksen kantava teema on myös kiertotaloudesta käytävän keskustelun monipuolistaminen käsittämään myös kansainvälisen politiikan teorioita, joiden määrä on toistaiseksi vähäinen.
  • Smolander, Miro (2021)
    Tutkielma pyrkii analysoimaan demokratian rapautumisen vaikutuksia eriarvoisuuteen ja eriarvoistumiskehitykseen modernissa Erdoganin ja AKP-puolueen hallinnoimassa Turkissa. Tutkielma hyödyntää monipuolisesti alan kirjallisuutta, erityisesti turkkilaisten tutkijoiden omia näkemyksiä ja tulkintoja demokratian tilaan maassa, joka on vähitellen ajautunut kohti presidentti Erdoganin yksinvaltaa ja yksipuolue järjestelmää. Tutkielman tavoitteena on valottaa prosesseja ja voimia, jotka vaikuttavat demokratian rapautumiseen Turkissa. Tämän jälkeen tutkielman pyrkimys on analysoida demokratian ja tuloerojen välistä suhdetta ja edellä mainitun kehityksen vaikutusta eriarvoisuuteen Turkissa. Tutkielma valottaa alkuun lyhyesti historiallisen analyysin kautta taustaa niihin lähtökohtiin, joiden päälle Turkin demokratia 2000-luvulla on pitkälti rakentunut. Tätä taustaa vasten käsitellään AKP-puolueen ensiaskeleita ja 2000-luvun turkkilaista demokratiaa. Seuraavaksi tutkielma analysoi epädemokraattisia voimia ja tapoja, joilla demokratia Turkissa rapautuu käyttäen alan kirjallisuutta ja vertaisarvioituja artikkeleita. Siten tutkielman on mahdollista analysoida turkkilaista poliittista järjestelmää ja demokratiaa kokonaisuutena. Tutkielma vertailee eri poliittisia järjestelmiä, jotka usein seuraavat demokratian rapautumista. Tutkielman tavoite on välittää viesti, että Turkin kohtelu puhtaan autoritäärisenä valtiona on ennenaikaista, sillä vaaleilla on Turkin järjestelmässä edelleen keskeinen rooli. Lopuksi tutkielma keskittyy talousjärjestelmään ja eriarvoisuuden ja demokratian väliseen suhteeseen ja siihen millainen talousjärjestelmä Turkin kaltaisessa maassa vallitsee demokratian rapautumisen seurauksena. Lopuksi tutkielma päätyy yhteenvetoon, jossa keskeisimmät tulokset tiivistetään yhteen. Tutkielman keskeiset tulokset ovat, että Turkin demokratia on viimeisten kymmenen vuoden aikana rapautunut merkittävästi. Keskeinen havainto kuitenkin on, että vaalien voittamisella on edelleen oleellinen vaikutus Turkin poliittiseen järjestelmään. Tästä esimerkkeinä käy vuoden 2015 parlamentti, ja vuoden 2019 aluevaalit. Tästä on johdettu tutkielman toinen keskeinen havainto, että Turkki sijaitseekin demokratian ja autoritäärisyyden välisellä harmaalla alueella, jossa se ei ole oikein kumpaakaan. Tutkielman viimeinen keskeinen tulos on, että demokratialla ja eriarvoisuudella on olemassa keskeinen yhteys. Tutkielma ei kuitenkaan pysty vetämään yhteen konkreettisesti millainen tämä yhteys on, vaan keskittyy siihen, miten edellä mainittu yhteys ilmenee kompleksisuudestaan huolimatta. Tutkielman johtopäätökset noudattavat tulosten linjaa. Ensiksi Turkin demokratiakehitys noudattaa pitkälti globaalia trendiä, jossa liberaalidemokratia on järjestelmänä ollut puolustuskannalla. Toisaalta Turkin järjestelmä on hybridi, joka muistuttaa jonkin verran esimerkiksi Venäjää. Demokratian ja eriarvoisuuden välillä vaikuttanee olevan läheinen suhde, mutta sitä on globaalissa mittakaavassa vaikeaa asettaa teoreettiseksi malliksi, jota voisi soveltaa laajempaan globaaliin kontekstiin. Lopuksi tutkielma toteaa aiheen laajuuden keskeiseksi haasteeksi tyydyttävän vastauksen saamisessa.
  • Ligi, Mirjam (2022)
    In the 2020s, environmental degradation and human rights issues in the context of globalized economy and trade have turned sustainability and responsibility into a trend in politics and business. In the context of trade, the EU portrays itself as a global leader in fair and sustainable trade through its ‘new generation’ free trade agreements (FTA) which include commitments on environmental and labor rights. This thesis studies the role of values, norms, and ideas in the EU’s trade policy, particularly in the EU’s ‘new generation’ free trade agreements. The main research question seeks to answer how the EU promotes its fundamental values in its trade policy with third partners. The sub-questions offer the scope for the research problem: How does the EU diffuse its founding normative values in trade agreements? Which other values and norms does the EU promote in its trade relations? How does the transference of norms appear in trade relations with the EU? The research problem is placed in the constructivist tradition in international relations and global political economy, followed by the discussion of Normative Power Europe (NPE) which explores the EU’s non-coercive power to influence norms and values globally. The methodology is focused on explaining-outcome process tracing in which evidence from the case of EU-South Korea FTA is analyzed through a theorized explanation of norm diffusion as a causal mechanism. In addition to the original FTA document, academic literature about the FTA and the final report of the FTA’s panel of experts procedure were used to examine the theorized explanation. The main findings show that in the case of the EU-South Korea FTA, the EU prioritizes economic and political interests over its fundamental values of human rights and environmental issues in its FTA strategy, negotiations, and the final agreement. Business groups have had a stronger influence on the EU’s policy positions during FTA negotiations compared to non-business organizations. There is also a discrepancy between the EU’s communiqués about its leading role in sustainable trade and the legal capacity of the final agreement: the sustainable development chapter of the EU-South Korea FTA includes commitments on multilateral agreements instead of EU-specific rules, a weaker dispute settlement system compared to its trade-related chapters and a civil society mechanism which in practice has received criticism due to its ineffectiveness in environmental and labor rights questions. Competition with the US could also have influenced the modest normative demands for the FTA. Ultimately, combining an agenda of sustainable development with the management of the EU’s trade relationships is a balancing act between political and economic interests over normative interests. If a normative agenda is not set in the center of the EU’s trade policy, it is likely to remain as a tool for communication for domestic audiences.
  • Ristikangas, Gabriella Rachel Victoria (2022)
    The aim of the study is to examine the interplay between foreign direct investment (FDI) and host nation-state income inequality. The particular topic of interest is extending the understanding of the Chinese Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) and its potential relationship to the developing world’s income inequality. This study is relevant, because of the continuous and unquestionable rise of China. The research question is whether there is a correlation between an increase in Chinese FDI and an increase in income inequality. The hypothesis is that as FDI increases, income inequality increases. Theoretically, the research relies on critical global political economy. The chosen research method is empirical quantitative research, including both descriptive and inferential statistics and an expert interview. An unbalanced dataset of 50 BRI nation-states between the years 2010 to 2017 was used. This secondary data came from a variety of sources, including the UNDP, World Bank, World Inequality Database, and AidData. This thesis conducted a variable ranking and three different types of statistical correlation calculations. The results of this study are largely inconclusive. The correlation coefficients in all cases that included FDI inflow data do not provide empirical support for the hypothesis of an increase in Chinese FDI being positively correlated with an increase in income inequality. Even when lagging the income inequality variables with a variety of delays, no statistically significant relationships were found. This is largely explained by the non-linearity of the FDI flow data. Therefore, this thesis estimated FDI stock variables to test the relationship between more linear data with the income inequality variables, which are by nature more linear. At last, with the estimated FDI stock statistically significant relationships were found. It is noteworthy, however, that the results were also inconsistent; as there were both positive and negative correlation coefficients. Providing support not only for the initial hypothesis but also against it. Despite the inconclusiveness of the results, the majority of the relationships lean towards the null hypothesis. Regardless, it is important to realize, that despite the FDI inflow calculations not providing statistically significant results, it does not necessarily indicate that the Chinese FDI project is without potential serious implications for the income inequality of host nation-states. The results of this study are important for policymakers and researchers alike. As such, this thesis concludes that more research is needed to draw more decisive conclusions about the relationship between FDI and income inequality.
  • Karttunen, Kristiina (2021)
    The premise of this thesis is that neoclassical economics as a particular theory of justice explains the justification of water privatisation. Hence, the aim of the study is to describe how and why water privatisation is justified by asking three research questions: What problems are distinguished in relation to access to safe drinking water? What privatisation measures are proposed as solutions? How are these water privatisation measures justified? These research questions are contextualised by providing a comprehensive account on the history and present status of water privatisation within the neoliberal project and examining the normative basis of neoclassical economics via the concept of Pareto optimality. This is done by analysing 25 Poverty Reduction Strategy Papers (PRSPs) that were published by 25 low-income countries under the guidance of the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) during 2010-2014. These PRSPs are examined through content analysis and frame analysis in a largely qualitatively manner. In the analysis of PRSPs, the thesis found, first, that although the problems in relation to access to water were highly varied, the uneven and unequal access to water was more prevalent than physical water scarcity issues. Secondly, three strategies of privatisation measures were identified in PRSPs: strategy of privatisation, strategy of commercialisation and strategy of liberalisation of governance. Finally, the study found four principal frames justifying water privatisation in PRSPs. These frames were development frame, economic good frame, anti-government frame and right frame. The results suggest that water privatisation measures increasingly blur the distinction between ‘public’ and ‘private’. This implies that the ‘public’ is largely guided by the market logic, and thus the difference between water privatisation and public sector control is increasingly irrelevant. These privatisation measures are justified by drawing on neoclassical economics as a theory of justice that is based on Pareto optimality. This way, international financial institutions (IFIs) and states can paradoxically allow for privatisation measures in water supply systems since it can ideally create the conditions for perfect competition whereby water resources become allocated in the most efficient, and thus in the most just way.
  • Suvikas, Saska (2022)
    This thesis aims to offer a critical analysis of the phenomenon of a global debt crisis and possible mechanisms that may cause them. It starts with a hypothesis that the concept of a global debt crisis is too vaguely defined and relies too much on the idea of excessive debt being the root cause of the crisis. Instead, the thesis will argue that a global debt crisis must have a systemic nature where the crisis threatens the existence of the entire global monetary system. For the purposes of the argument, the different interpretations of debt are examined, the relevant features of our global monetary system are determined, and a systemic crisis theory of Jürgen Habermas is utilized. The thesis has its theoretical background in Critical Realism, which will help distinguish social mechanisms with real causal powers that may contribute to forming a global debt crisis. The thesis uses abductive and retroductive reasoning to assess different mechanisms brought forward in the relevant literature of whether they are capable and necessary to cause a global debt crisis. Furthermore, the thesis will approach the debt from the perspective of Modern Monetary Theory (MMT), which emphasizes the state’s role in managing money and debt relations. Specifically, the thesis will apply the frameworks of sectoral balances and monetary sovereignty to determine the differences of the global debt network in contrast to sovereign or private debt. Based on these frameworks, the argument is that the same mechanisms cannot cause a global debt crisis as a sovereign debt crisis. In the analysis part, the thesis focuses on two possible mechanisms that frequently appear in the academic literature as a cause for a global debt crisis: global imbalances and global debt deflation. The case for global imbalances relies on the fears of the U.S. dollar collapsing, which the frameworks of MMT indicate to be highly implausible due to the total U.S. monetary sovereignty. On the other hand, the case for global debt deflation rests on an increasing accumulation of private debt, which is shown to be more dangerous globally. However, despite its sound systemic causal mechanism, the assessment finds that global debt deflation is alone an insufficient cause to create a global debt crisis. In conclusion, the thesis emphasizes the role and significance of political decisions as a necessary cause behind most debt crises, especially a possible global one. The relevance of debt-controlling institutions are considered briefly, but the ultimate responsibility for preventing a global debt crisis is put into the hands of currency-issuing states. Political decisions will be shown to function as both a capable and necessary cause for a global crisis. Furthermore, the thesis also considers the limitations of using MMT to examine global debt relations and gives preliminary suggestions for further research.
  • Paksuniemi, Eemeli (2023)
    After decades of low inflation in developed economies, inflation increased significantly beginning from 2021, as consequences of global pandemic, supply chain disruptions, and later a war in Europe led to upward price pressures on several parts of the economy. As inflation proved to be more persistent than initially expected, central banks were forced to act in order to protect price stability. This thesis is an explanatory study that conceptualizes inflation narrative dynamic from the perspective of central banks. I argue that inflation is not based on scarcity alone, but also a self-enforcing narrative, which can make inflation persistent even when underlying inflationary pressures are solved. Inflation expectations are manifestations of narratives that are replicated over time with limited information in recursive feedback loop rather than being rationally formed under full information as many economic theories assume. I present a framework to study the formation of inflation narratives and a brief history of inflation theories to put current theoretical understanding of inflation in its historical context. I study what dominant inflation narratives and underlying economic theories can be identified in central bank communications during 2021-2022 and how central banks have aimed to influence inflation expectations of the public. Major change in monetary policy communication during the research period was the shift from Forward Guidance communication policy to data-dependence. In Forward Guidance, central banks assume that they are able to steer and anchor inflation expectations of the public by committing themselves to future interest rate path in advance. As inflation continued to increase throughout the research period, central banks could no longer credibly anchor public inflation expectations through Forward Guidance and had to become more data-dependent. Instead of anchoring expectations, central banks now have to adapt their inflation narrative and steer inflation expectations as new data emerges in backward-looking manner. 
  • Drdlová, Helena (2023)
    Thirty years after the fall of communism, the post-socialist countries find themselves in a state of economic dependency. The main argument of the thesis is that the Visegrad Four (V4) countries (the Czech Republic, Poland, Hungary and Slovakia) operate in an FDI-led growth model, characterized by strong presence of foreign capital (especially in export-oriented manufacturing sector), but a low level of knowledge spill-overs from foreign-owned sectors to those in domestic ownership, which constraints the productivity growth of the domestic-owned enterprises (the so-called dual economy). Integration into the global economy, conducted in the V4 countries mainly through ties with Germany, was initially highly beneficial, however, it is increasingly becoming a constraint on further development, illustrated e. g. by the inability to achieve full convergence to EU-15. The aim of the thesis is to describe how did the FDI-led growth model developed in the V4 countries between 1990 and 2019; what was the political discussion of the growth model; and the differences in these two spheres between the V4 countries. This is studied on two levels: the FDI-led growth model itself (described using a set of macroeconomic indicators); and analysis of the political discussion. The conclusion is that the V4 countries differ both in terms of development of the FDI-led growth model (the biggest outlier is Poland, which is less reliant on foreign investment then rest of the group), and in terms of the political approach to the model (especially Poland and Hungary after 2010 take active steps to limit the impact of the FDI dependency; the Czech Republic and Slovakia are more or less aware of the dependency, but take no interventionist measures). Given the high levels of economic growth in Poland and especially Hungary after 2014, there is most probably a causality between the efforts to limit the dependency and the economic development (although other factors, such as the size of the economy, play a role too). However, it is also argued that unlike certain level of economic nationalism, populism is not a prerequisite for limiting the dependent growth and in the long run can actually be harmful to economic development.
  • Eversfield, Lia (2020)
    Sovereignty plays a significant role in the governance, recognition and legitimisation of semi-autonomous jurisdictions. Since the signing of the Peace of Westphalia in the 17th century, sovereignty has played a role in global political and economic affairs, yet for overseas territories and semi-autonomous jurisdictions the lack of independent sovereignty can leave these territorial anomalies without a seat at the table. With technological advancements and the rise of globalisation, the flow of people, capital and information has never been higher. As capital moves across the globe at high speeds, issues of taxation and its regulation arise. This thesis explores Stephen Krasner’s framework of the four types of sovereignty in order to propose a fifth form of sovereignty: economic sovereignty. To introduce an understanding of sovereignty that does not require a jurisdiction to be an independent nation state in order to be recognised, represented and held accountable regarding global economic issues. By illustrating how semi-autonomous jurisdictions can develop a flexible and prosperous system of international participation that does not require full sovereignty, this thesis aims to explore how a new form of sovereignty could potentially aid in improving the global governance of tax regulation. By analysing the positives, negatives and compromises of statehood and sovereignty, it possible to explore sovereignty as a spectrum that falls outside traditional understandings of the nation-state which has the potential to open up new opportunities for international cooperation and communication. The ‘outcome explaining’ variant of process tracing was used for case selection where cases are chosen based on the outcome of a mechanism. As a result, the British Crown Dependencies and in particular the island of Jersey were used as the focus case study, alongside a comparative study of the literature. This thesis highlights the growing role of self-governing semi-autonomous jurisdictions on the global economic stage and finds that independent sovereignty should not be a required criteria in order for a territory to be a recognised stakeholder in international financial and tax governance.
  • Sairanen, Juuso (2022)
    The purpose of this thesis is to investigate Japan’s last decades' significant political economy change from a critical perspective. After the decades of post-war growth and reconstruction, coming to the end of the 1980s, Japan's political economy began to overheat dangerously fast. Passing into the 1990s, the bursting of a real estate bubble accumulated by the financial sector caused the financial sector a historically extensive stock market crash. As a result, the following decades marked a major shift in past decades’ economic euphoria. This large-scale transformation in the Japanese economy and society has also been called depending on perspective, by the terms 'lost decade' or 'lost decade(s)'. One of the objectives of this thesis is thus to answer the questions: What is meant by 'lost decade(s)'? And how have different theoretical approaches attempted to explain the concept? The thesis thus examines the relevant political economy literature exploring 'lost decade(s)' through a critical perspective while answering the research questions. As one of the arguments, the thesis seeks to question the metaphorical nature of 'lost decade(s)' by taking into account the mythical role of economic growth, highlighted especially by the economic literature, which has created a strong image of Japan's 'lost' economic growth and structural coherence. As a second argument, the thesis seeks to develop an understanding of some of the major societal losses that emerged during the 'lost decade(s)', through changes in the social, political, and institutional dimensions. The basis for the first argument is being constructed through the literature and questions that utilize the role of metaphors, social imaginaries, myths, and alternative data to create the perception of 'lost' growth. The final chapter seeks to establish a holistic insight into Japan's historical transformation from a perspective of the deeper structures of society. The chapter analyzes the impacts of 'lost decade(s)', particularly on demographic development, increasing social precariousness, political instability, and Japan's changing global position. In conclusion, the thesis goes through the research results and portrays certain questions about the possible futures of Japan while reflecting the developments that occurred during the 'lost decade(s)'.
  • Naboulsi, Nuura (2022)
    This thesis examines the moral political economy of technology and well-being. This is be done assessing Finnish policymaking in the context of global political economy, using a moral political economy approach and critical semiotic analysis. The material of the thesis consists of a recent government resolution on technology policy. The objective is to critically explore the normative foundation of technology policymaking and to identify underlying moral-political norms. The findings suggest that underlying moral-political norms relating to ideals of welfare and technology, as well as neoliberal economic understanding are identifiable within the resolution. This further suggests, that policymaking related to technology and well-being reproduces existing power structures. The findings suggest further research is needed to engage in moral political economy in the context of digitalising world economy.
  • Wahlsten, Johan (2022)
    Taking the Social Democratic Party of Finland (SDP) as a case study, this thesis contributes to the understanding of how the SDP and centre-left parties more generally were neoliberalised, this is to say how they became to embrace the idea that society is best organised through markets and competition. Drawing from the work of Stephanie Mudge, the thesis focuses on party experts, those party actors oriented towards producing truth-claims of society, hence affecting the way parties conceive the world and speak. Expert’s knowledge, however, is contingent on their social locations. They are often also situated in professional fields that tend to condition which ideas count as legitimate, making their positions explanatory relevant with regards to parties’ disposition and rhetoric. Methodologically the work draws from the tradition of historical sociology and Pierre Bourdieu’s theory of social fields. The material utilised consists of (auto)biographies; past historical and social scientific research; reference works; SDP’s archival documents; and historical newspaper and magazine writings and interviews. The central argument is that Mudge’s account—taken as the work’s hypothesis—of the neoliberalisation of centre-left parties in “core countries” (the UK, the US, Sweden, and Germany) is inadequate in the case of the SDP embedded in Finland’s peripheral context. Mudge asserts that a central driver in the parties’ neoliberalisation was the interdependence between the political field of the party and the field of economics, which developed as interwar economic disruption incited an intense search within economics for novel ways to control the economy via public spending and demand management. This also led to an influx of academic economists with a “Keynesian ethic” to centre-left parties. The interdependence, however, allowed for economics’ politicisation from the 1960s onwards, this then influencing the field’s reorientation away from Keynesianism and towards monetarism and subsequently leading to the emergence and triumph of new party experts possessing a “neoliberal ethic”. Relatively stable interwar economic development, the bourgeoisie’s post-Civil War dominance in the society and academia, and the Finnish economics’ “backwardness” meant that no comparable need for seeking novel solutions existed nor was there responsiveness for the ideas developed abroad. Consequently, no interdependence between the SDP and economics developed in interwar or immediate postwar years. In the 1960s economic experts did gain a central position within the party. But these experts were not connected with the academia nor did the SDP embrace “Keynesian” prescriptions, the party and its experts instead banking on the combination of economic planning and export-led growth strategy. Neither was evidence found of economics’ politicisation as a left-wing discipline. Instead, it was oft precisely the SDP’s economic experts that critiqued “Keynesian” academic economists. In sum, arguably no interdependence between economics and the SDP developed either in this period. Instead, a new hypothesis is posited as an alternative account, namely that the SDP’s neoliberalisation can be better accounted for through the interdependence that developed between the bureaucratic field’s economic institutions and the party. Conjecturally, the interdependence, owing, among other things, to the SDP’s political appointments to the state, was politicised and the ideas of economic planning and the state’s control of the economy’s important elements were discredited in the context of the 1970s economic downturn. The interdependence, however, also led to novel kinds of experts—the state economists—gaining a powerful position within the SDP and making their interpretation of the economy common sense in the party. These experts perceived that their role in politics was to advance the “general interest” of the nation and the amorphous “people”, not any segment of it. With the export businesses hegemonic in society, in effect, this meant an emphasis on their profitability, cost competitiveness, and inflation and subsequently wage repression and budget constraint. The affinities between neoliberal notions and this policy conception and the habit in the Finnish state to conceive the world in terms of “external necessities” meant the state economists possessed great responsiveness to neoliberal ideas. While gaining preliminary support from evidence this hypothesis requires further work on several counts.
  • Matikainen, Milla (2023)
    Using an explanatory case study of the European Central Bank (ECB), this thesis studies the role quantitative easing has played in increasing central banks’ power following the Global Financial Crisis. Increases in central banks’ responsibilities and the reach of their operations have taken place at the outset of quantitative easing. Yet, despite having been a central monetary policy tool in contemporary central banking, no previous research exists on this development. To take into consideration the structurally powerful position central banks have in the modern world; the various transmission mechanisms and thus the reach of quantitative easing; as well as the role the global financial system plays in central banking, the thesis utilizes the theory of four sources of structural power together with global network structures. Through explanation building, the thesis builds a case of the ECB that reveals the power quantitative easing has unleashed via the unprecedented expansion of the ECB balance sheet and, ultimately, the control over the availability of money. Quantitative easing has also provided the ECB with new capabilities—direct control over market pricing—and responsibilities—possibly the most important of all, its new role as the sovereign bond buyer of last resort as the protector of the Eurosystem. While quantitative easing has challenged the traditional understanding of monetary policy, the justification for central bank independence, and the belief system behind the ECB, the ECB has managed to maintain its independence and position as the moral authority and expert on monetary policy. The thesis concludes that while quantitative easing may have increased the ECB’s structural power, it has not necessarily translated into positive effects for the central bank. Quantitative easing has disincentivized structural reforms in the indebted member states, which have benefitted from the ECB buying their low-demand government bonds; and increased distributional effects favoring the top wealth and income distribution, which have both ultimately led to claims of the ECB operating outside the bounds of monetary policy.
  • Segerstam, Ada (2022)
    This thesis explores the voluntary carbon market (VCM). The central research question for this work is: Should there be limits to the voluntary carbon market? as a marketplace for carbon emission offsets. Offsetting means investing money into a carbon-removal project and quantifying the monetary contribution in terms of the volume of carbon removed. The research topic links to a central contradiction in the mitigation of climate change: the capitalist economic system has been recognised as a root cause for climate change, yet the tools for mitigation do not challenge its structures. The theoretical framework for this thesis is heterodox political economy. It is a critique of orthodox political economy, which, in turn, stems from the tradition of neoclassical economics. The theoretical framework has implications for the methodological choices in this thesis. Heterodox political economy aims to distance itself from orthodox methods of economic research. The economy and society are ever-changing non-closed systems and analysing them accurately through quantitative methods and drawing generalisable conclusions is challenging. For the purposes of this work, a selection of heterodox thinkers in political economy is chosen, and their arguments on limits to the market are reviewed. Examples include the doughnut economics model by Kate Raworth. Additionally, the thesis introduces critiques by heterodox thinkers on commodification of nature and its effects to the relationship of humans and non-human nature. The results of the work highlight the differences between the heterodox and orthodox views of the appropriate limits to the market. The central norms of orthodox political economy, such as methodological individualism, the free market and the assumed value neutrality of the economic space shape the mainstream ideas about the limits to the VCM. Contrastingly, heterodox political economy offers alternative ways of understanding the possibilities for the construction of the economy and highlights the importance of recognising the purpose of the economy. The thesis concludes that seen from the heterodox perspective of political economy, market orthodoxy should be challenged and thus there should be limits set to the VCM to start shifting responsibility for climate mitigation from the individual to the structural level. These limits may take the form of stronger regulation from the part of the state or international authorities. However, at present, the strong embeddedness of the orthodox economic norms in the market leads to a situation, where imaging alternative economic solutions is challenging, and thus structural change remains difficult. Therefore, it is important to recognise and challenge these hegemonic norms trough research and practice in heterodox political economy.
  • Eerola, Oona (2023)
    Tutkielmassa tarkastellaan Suomen työmarkkinoiden kehitystä Varieties of Capitalism (VoC) -näkökulman valossa. Suomen työmarkkinoiden historiallisen kehityksen osalta tarkastelu tehdään laadullisen sisällönanalyysin keinoin. VoC-näkökulman mukaan kapitalistiset markkinataloudet voidaan jakaa kahteen eri kategoriaan sen perusteella, kuinka yhtiöt tekevät yhteistyötä muiden markkinatoimijoiden kanssa. Nämä kategoriat ovat koordinoinut markkinataloudet (englanniksi: coordinated market economies) ja liberaalit markkinataloudet (englanniksi: liberal market economies). Suomen on tyypillisesti katsottu olevan koordinoitu markkinatalous. Työmarkkinoiden osalta tämä on johtunut esimerkiksi siitä, että Suomessa on ollut keskitetyt työehtosopimusneuvottelut ja korkea palkansaajien järjestäytyneisyys. Suomen työmarkkinoiden kehitystä tarkastellaan 1960-luvulta tähän päivään saakka. Tutkimuksen perusteella Suomen työmarkkinat ovat muuttuneet markkinaliberaalimpaan suuntaan erityisesti 2000-luvulta alkaen. Tällöin Suomessa luovuttiin tulopoliittisista kokonaisratkaisuista ja kolmikantaisista työehtosopimusneuvotteluista. Lisäksi palkansaajien järjestäytymisaste on laskenut Suomessa viimeisten vuosikymmenten aikana. Tutkielmassa tuodaan näin ollen esiin käytännön esimerkki institutionaalisesta muutoksesta, jossa yritykset ovat ajaneet käytäntöjä ja muutoksia, jotka VoC-näkökulman mukaan sopisivat enemminkin liberaaleille markkinatalouksille kuin koordinoiduille markkinatalouksille.
  • Kari, Niina Susanna (2021)
    This thesis evaluates the utility of Stephen Gill’s concept of new constitutionalism in understanding the functioning of the European Economic and Monetary union (EMU) in 2015– 2020. New constitutionalism is defined as legally locked in rules-based market discipline. The thesis has two research questions: 1) To what extent does the concept of new constitutionalism aptly describe the economic policy space of EMU member states? That is, to what extent the EMU, with its associated rules and criteria, constrains the economic policies of its member states? 2) To what extent are new constitutionalist principles “locked in” in the EMU? That is, to what extent is new constitutionalism really constitutional in the EMU? Chapter 1 outlines Gill’s contributions on new constitutionalism in the EMU, defines the key terms and introduces the research problematic. Chapter 2 evaluates the effects of EMU membership on economic policy space. This chapter draws extensively on data on fiscal deficits and levels of public debt well as the fiscal stimulus packages implemented in the context of the corona pandemic in EMU states and other advanced economies. It is shown that although average levels of debt have been lower in EMU states than in advanced economies overall, none of the major member states have remained within the required limits for public debt in this period. This renders the applicability of the concept of new constitutionalism dubious. Similarly, although EMU states stimulated their economies less than other advanced economies in response to the corona pandemic, this was not due to pressure from EU institutions as Gill’s argument would suggest. Chapter 3 addresses the political contingency in the application of rules-based market discipline in the EMU. Most notably, beyond the extreme case of Greece in 2015, there has been a reluctance by the European Commission to discipline member states for breaking the fiscal rules. The last two sections of this chapter consider the extent to which the actions of the European Central Bank have undermined market discipline in the EMU, and the pertinent question of whether the corona pandemic has ushered in a fundamental change in economic thinking in the EU. Drawing on this analysis, it is argued that the concept of new constitutionalism most aptly described the situation faced by Greece in 2015, but its applicability has subsequently waned. Specifically, the concept of new constitutionalism fails to capture the political contingency and flexibility in the application of both fiscal rules and market discipline in the EMU. Chapter 4 is dedicated to the second research question – that is, to what extent new constitutionalist principles are constitutionalised in the EMU. This chapter analyses the practical possibilities for EMU reform. However, given the unanimity requirement between member states for fundamental reform of the EMU, it is here that Gill’s argument about new constitutionalism being “locked in” is found to have the most applicability. The overall argument of this thesis is that the original Maastricht vision of the EMU has not come to fruition. In fact, the EMU experience illustrates that attempts to impose fixed visions of order onto social systems tend to produce disorder. While the eurozone crisis itself was generated by unbalancing tendencies inherent in the EMU, it has subsequently survived only through circumvention of its rules.
  • Hattunen, Anna (2021)
    Ortodoksisten talousteorioiden mukaan kaupankäynti on luonnollinen prosessi, joka ikään kuin tapahtuu itsestään. Naiset ja heidän kokemuksensa sivutetaan usein tämän talousnäkemyksen seurauksena. Maailman Kauppajärjestöä (WTO) on esimerkiksi kritisoitu sen heikoista, sukupuolten tasa-arvoa edistävistä toimista. Yksi WTO:n sukupuolten tasa-arvoa edistävä toimi on ”Buenos Airesin julistus”, jonka tavoite on edistää naisten osallistumista maailmankauppaan. Vuonna 2017 yli sata WTO:n jäsenmaata allekirjoitti kyseisen julistuksen. Tässä tutkielmassa tarkastellaan tätä WTO:n ensimmäistä mittavaa pyrkimystä edistää naisten taloudellisia oikeuksia. Tutkielmassa vastataan tarkemmin siihen, miten Buenos Airesin julistukseen päädyttiin. Tutkielmassa tutkitaan myös, kuinka sukupuolikysymykset ja naisten oikeudet ovat muuttuneet ja muovautuneet globaalissa hallinnassa ja perehdytään erityisesti toista maailman sotaa edeltäviin vuosikymmeniin. Kun tarkastellaan sukupuolen ja vapaakaupan suhdetta, voidaan paremmin ymmärtää, miten ajan saatossa tapahtuneet muutokset ovat vaikuttaneet Buenos Airesin julistuksen syntyyn. Lisäksi tutkielmassa tarkastellaan WTO:n roolia sukupuolten tasa-arvon edistäjänä. Feminististä poliittista taloutta sekä postkolonialistisia talousaatteita hyödynnetään tutkielman teoreettisena viitekehyksenä. Vapaata kauppaa analysoidaan reformistisesta näkökulmasta. Feministisessä talousteoriassa painotetaan usein, että kauppa ei ole ainoastaan luonnollinen prosessi. Kauppa määritetään sosiaalisena konstruktiona, johon lukuisat tekijät vaikuttavat. Tutkielman analyysin perustana toimii Peggy Antrobusin teoria sukupuolten ulottuvuuksista globaalissa hallinnassa. Ajatus sukupuolten epätasa-arvosta on muuttunut, mikä käy ilmi tutkielman analyysistä. Sen lisäksi analyysissa osoitetaan, että sukupuolten tasa-arvoa koskevat kysymykset ovat lisääntyneet kansainvälisesti. Buenos Airesin julistuksen taustalla on monia vaiheita, joita globaalin hallinnan erilaiset trendit myös vahvistavat. Nykyisen hegemonian mukaan vapaakauppa hyödyttää kaikkia ihmisiä tasapuolisesti. Kriittinen tutkimus on kuitenkin osoittanut tarpeen edistää sukupuolten välistä tasa-arvoa. Näin ollen tutkielman analyysissa tarkastellaan myös WTO:n roolia sukupuolten tasa-arvon edistämisessä. Sen sijaan että WTO yrittäisi löytää ja purkaa sukupuolten epätasa-arvoon vaikuttavia juurisyitä, analyysissä selviää, että WTO pyrkii ensisijaisesti tukemaan naisten taloudellista voimaantumista ja yrittäjyyttä. Tutkielman johtopäätöksenä voidaan todeta, että globaalissa hallinnassa tapahtuvilla muutoksilla ja kansainvälisillä organisaatioilla on merkittävä vaikutus sukupuolten tasa-arvoon. Tutkielman johtopäätöksissä pohditaan myös sitä, miten sukupuolikysymykset on otettu huomioon historian saatossa. Johtopäätöksissä korostetaan lopulta luotettavan datan, valvonnan ja evaluoinnin keskeistä merkitystä vapaan kaupan sukupuolittuneiden vaikutusten tutkimuksessa.