Political Economy Essay Topics

1. The capitalistic state must try to fulfil two basic and often contradictory functions – accumulation and legitimisation. This means that the state must try to maintain or create the conditions in which profitable capital accumulation is possible. However, the state must also try to maintain or create the conditions for social harmony’ ─ James O’Connor, The Fiscal Crisis of the State.Evaluate O’Connor’s proposition regarding the dynamics of the capitalist state. 

2. ‘Patriarchy . . . constitutes the mostly invisible underground of the visible capitalist system’ ─ Maria Mies, Patriarchy and Accumulation on a World Scale. Discuss with reference to the capitalist economy. 

3. With reference to the work of Ellen Meiksins Wood, reflect on the prevalence of contemporary instances where the unity of appropriation and coercion within capitalism might still prevail and the degree to which this challenges her arguments. 

4. What are the promises and pitfalls of a racialised understanding of the “market” for political economy?