There are three theory types of global political economy the nationalist, liberal and critical perspective. The main aspect of 'economic nationalist' perspective analysis is the preservation of national unity. Mercantilism advocates that there is a limited resource in the world, and argues that each state needs to make itself profitable by protecting its own interests by negatively effecting the other state's economy. “This is known as a ‘zero-sum game’. One state’s gain is another state’s loss” (O’Brien, R. & Williams, M. (2016) p.8). Mercantilism is known as economic policy to raise the volume of export and reduce the volume of import. Economic nationalism is also an important factor in the global trade as we say before, it may try to keep its exports lower than its imports over the long term. Developing countries aim to protect their domestic markets from foreign competition. For this reason, even if they are involved in free trade today, they do not hesitate to protect their markets.
Contrary to economic nationalism, ‘liberalism’ does not only focus on the state, but they also think that other actors such as the companies are also important. They argue that the share is large and that one’s gain does not mean that the other will lose, they are emphasizing that the state can cooperate with the people. The questionable approach of the mercantilists, liberals see companies as a major source of economic growth. They think that if production and consumption are released, it will benefit everyone, and they believe that the state increases the costs of companies. Liberal theory sees international relations and the political economy as factors working together. And they believe that the market is at the center of his economic life.
There are three types of common theories in the international political economy. Marxist, feminist and environmentalist, but Marxist theory is emphasized in a ‘critical perspective’. In this theory, the interests of workers come before the interests of the state. They do not accept individualism, as in liberal theory, and they adopt the collectivist view in nationalist theory and see companies as a means of exploitation. In international economic relation Marxists see capitalism as unstable, for three reasons. The first is to decrease the wages of workers due to the decrease in the rate of profit.
The second is the loss of uneven development between countries and finally, this leads to overproduction or less consumption. In this perspective, we see that there is also a zero-sum game.
To sum up contrary to the positive viewers of free trade, economic nationalists believe that the gains from trade are unevenly distributed. Therefore, their advocates see globalization as a threat. That’s why nationalists encourage support of domestic industry. According to David Ricardo, every state emphasizes that even if there is no competitiveness, they can benefit from the positive aspects of free trade. Liberal principles drive economies today, so money flows to most countries wıthout any difficulties. The liberal theory says that globalization prevents political barriers and releases production, leaving a more positive impact on people. The critical perspective shows that globalization is opposed, it is called a legend that tries to be shown harmless. As stated by Robert Cox's point of view, there are opponents as well as defenders of free trade.