Recent Seminar Addresses Geoeconomics and the Restructuring of Global Value Chains
In October, the International Laboratory on World Order Studies and the New Regionalism hosted a research seminar in which Dr. Glenn Diesen, Professor in the Faculty of World Economy and International Affairs at HSE, presented a recent paper entitled ‘Geoeconomics in the Fourth Industrial Revolution: The Restructuring of Global Value Chains.’ The discussion centred on how technology has become increasingly important for competitiveness in global value chains. This subsequently incentivizes government support for technological development as the main tool for Great Power rivalry, which can be seen in the cooperation between Western governments and corporations over the past several decades to develop technological leadership with high-value activities and concurrently engineer hierarchically-structured global value chains.
With the US and China taking the lead, Professor Diesen argues that Russia’s ideal strategy in the new geoeconomic race towards high-tech autonomy and influence is to develop ‘technological preparedness’ in terms of the ability to absorb and implement changes. This will enable Russia to develop an innovative advantage in niche areas and to increase diffusion of innovations in other states by producing spin-offs to be implemented into a Russian technological platform made up of domestic companies and technologies.
‘My main research focus is on the geoeconomics of greater Eurasia,’ says Professor Diesen, who additionally specializes in Russian foreign policy, European and Eurasian integration, neoclassical realist theory and neomodernist political philosophy. ‘This entails the development of economic connectivity across the entire Eurasian continent and ensuring that economic integration is based on favourable symmetry of dependence for Russia.’
Professor Diesen, who has been teaching in Australia since 2011 and at HSE since 2018, has authored several books and articles on Russia's approach to European and Eurasian integration. He says that his research interests were initially focused on the complications and failure to develop a Greater Europe after the Cold War, although after the crisis in Ukraine, which he says became the graveyard for Greater Europe, his focus shifted to the potential of Greater Eurasia as a more viable alternative.
‘I have lived in Russia before, so this is not my first time in Moscow, but the city has definitely changed immensely in a very short time. As someone who researches Russia and Eurasian integration, this is a great place to be,’ he said of his experience so far. ‘The academic staff here was my reason for joining the HSE team. I consider this department to be at the forefront of research on Greater Eurasia and reconceptualizing Eurasianism in terms of geoeconomics,’ he said, adding that he has always appreciated reading the work of Sergei Karaganov, Timofei Bordachev, Fyodor Lukyanov, Alexander Lukin and others at HSE. ‘The ability to be here and work with them is a great privilege.’
Professor Diesen’s next book is on Great Power politics in the Fourth Industrial Revolution, with one of the chapters devoted to an eventual restructuring of the international division of labour. His main argument is that the logic of 'comparative advantage' is eroding due to the automation of the cognitive. The long and complex value chains that have developed and defined globalization since the early 1990s are coming to an end as the states in control of high-tech innovations will be able to 'reshore' manufacturing.