comparing perspectives of two authors


We want to:
Get you focused on reading and researching, as well as turning up to lectures and tutorials;
Get you thinking critically about the material you read;
Make you aware that the issues we focus on are all contested and debated: there are no ‘right’ answers;
Encourage you to evaluate as well as to summarise, and to evaluate by use of analytical skills, not simply opinions;
Get you to write succinctly. When you have few words, you have to get straight to the point, and that means you have to know exactly what the point is!
Here are two book chapters by leading international scholars reflecting on conditions of uneven development in the global political economy, what causes them, and how conditions of poverty might be overcome. Both are detailed arguments from alternativeperspectives, one liberal and mainstream and the other critical and heterodox.

Jeffrey Sachs, The End of Poverty: Economic Possibilities for Our Time (Penguin, 2005): Chapter 2: ‘The Spread of Economic Prosperity’; and


Ray Kiely, The New Political Economy of Development (Palgrave, 2007): Chapter 7: ‘Globalization, Poverty and the Contemporary World Economy’.

In this assignment you are asked to compare the perspectives of these two authors.


1.Identify some points of similarity and difference between their approaches. In particular, focus on 2 or 3 differences.
(Total of 300 words, of which about 200 should be spent on differences. The focus here is on identifying key points difference. Marks will be awarded for your ability to identify points of similarity and difference with precision)

2. Jeffrey Sachs is generally understood to be a ‘liberal’; Ray Kiely a ‘Marxist’. Identify what these terms mean in the context of global politics and identify how Sachs and Kieley (or perhaps do not express) these traditions. To do this, address the points of difference you identified in question 1, and consider how their differences are explicable in terms of their different traditions.
(Total of 300 words, of which no more than 100 should be spent on identifying the terms – so it is just a definition, not a detailed exposition – and 200 on the using these theories for explaining points of difference. Marks will be awarded for your ability to show succinctly the connections between theoretical traditions and analytical statements).

As word totals are restricted and the assignment takes the form of 2 x 300 sections, there is no need for an introduction or conclusion to the overall assignment. For formal essays, by contrast, introductions and conclusions are vital. For this short assignment only, the style of writing associated with academic blogs might be worth consulting.