The Many Meanings of Capital in IPE

Dick Bryan, Michael Rafferty, Duncan Wigan

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International Political Economy (IPE) research deploys one or more concepts of “capital” as a key part of its analytical project. The needs of analyzing developments in capitalism have seen considerable change in these concepts. This chapter provides a fourfold and blended taxonomy of capital in IPE that tracks these changes. Capital as Means of Production invokes a focus on capital as means of production, including the capital-labor relation. This is most closely associated work on Fordism, post-Fordism, the international division of labor, the developmental state, and chains and networks of internationalized production. Capital as Units of Production depicts discrete capitals in competition. Here we include the multinational corporation as monolith, its expansion via overseas subsidiaries and its fragmentation. Where a corporation focuses on the valuation of its individual component activities and decides which to hold, which to sell off, and which to subcontract, this draws attention to a Financial Wealth notion of capital, with focus on financial instruments and institutions and the movements of finance that arise with their transformations. Finally, capital as a process of social relations of Value in Motion (ViM) gives focus to investment and valuation and incorporates Marxian value theory, assetization, and capitalization. ViM appears as the most abstract depiction of capital and thereby the “level” at which the other conceptions come to relate to each other qua capital.
TitelThe Oxford Handbook of International Political Economy
RedaktørerJon C. W. Pevehouse, Leonard Seabrooke
Antal sider16
ForlagOxford University Press
Publikationsdato23 nov. 2023
ISBN (Trykt) 9780198793519
ISBN (Elektronisk) 9780191835292
StatusUdgivet - 23 nov. 2023


  • Capital
  • Value
  • Accumulation
  • Competition
  • Financialization