'Critical' political economy, historical materialism and Adam Morton
Politics , Volume 27 - Issue 2 p. 127- 131
In response to Adam Morton's survey of 'critical' IPE in the January 2006 issue of this journal, I argue that we should resist the call to privilege the question of class struggle when considering the political economy of world order. This question, although not unimportant, draws upon an overly narrow and austere conception of historical materialism. Instead, I consider a more fulsome - but decidedly non-Marxist - tradition of historical materialism in order to move beyond the monological tendency that continues to mar much Marxist historiography, especially when the question of class struggle is elevated as the principal lens through which our understanding of capitalism is organised. I do this by considering the importance of historical idealism in the work of Robert W. Cox, a key interlocutor of much so-called 'critical' IPE. Although I agree with Morton that class struggle should not be effaced, I make the counter-claim that understanding the political economy of world order demands an attention to the formation of collective human subjectivities if we are adequately to grasp its contemporary dynamics.