This chapter focuses on what Susan Strange called the knowledge structure. She defined the knowledge structure as determining what knowledge is discovered, how it is stored, and who communicates it, by what means, to whom and on what terms (Strange, 1988, p. 117). Our approach replaces the term knowledge with that of ideas, which is a broader term that includes mental images about how the world operates. We are interested in the framework of ideas and knowledge that shape, and are shaped by, activity in the global political economy. Ideas and knowledge play a significant role in influencing actors behaviour and in outlining the limits of the possible for states, corporations and individuals. Previous chapters have highlighted the role of ideas in the global political economy. For example, in the 19th century, the age of imperialism was justified by acist ideas concerning the superiority of Europeans over non-Europeans. The material power of Western states at this time was the result of ideas that took concrete form in the technology of the Industrial Revolution. Today, ideas about free trade inspire and justify regional trade agreements and the WTO, while technological innovation drives the information revolution.
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- Chapter 13