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Dr Sean Kenji STARRS 賢司 (Kenji in Japanese)

2014 PhD Political Science, York University, Toronto, Canada [PhD Thesis: The Persistence of American Economic Power in Global Capitalism: From the 1960s into the Twenty-First Century; Supervisor: Leo Panitch] 2008 MA Political Science, York University [MA Thesis: The End of the Developmental State? Ten Years After the East Asian Financial Crisis] 2004 MA European Studies, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada [MA Thesis: Back to the Future, or the Past? On the Re-Peripheralization of Central-East Europe] 2002 BA Classical Archaeology and Ancient History (Honours), History (Major), and International Relations (Minor) University of British Columbia [Honours Thesis: The Collapse of the Mycenaean Empire]

Assistant Professor; Internationalisation Coordinator

Staff Photo

Contact Information

Office: YEUNG-Y7706
Phone: 3442-6307
Fax: 3442-0180
Email: skstarrs@cityu.edu.hk
Website: Personal Website
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Research Interests

  • World Order & American Hegemony
  • East Asian Political Economy
  • Critical Political Economy
Research Affiliate, Center for International Studies, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (Under the Supervision of Noam Chomsky)

Listen to Noam Chomsky discuss my research here (and more below) starting from 37 minutes—"there's a really outstanding political economist in Hong Kong, one of the best in the world, Sean Starrs": https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uiCeqySVhCE

Winner of 2018 Teaching Innovation Award: https://www.cityu.edu.hk/class/cad/tia_2018.aspx

Winner of 2015-2019 Hong Kong Research Grants Council's Early Career Scholar Grant ($998,040 -- The largest in CityU's College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences) for Does Corporate Nationality Still Matter in the Era of Globalization? Investigating Ownership and Power in the Twenty-First Century

Comments from an Anonymous Reviewer: "This proposal is one of the most brilliant proposals I have ever read in the Early Career Scheme proposals. It should be at the top of the list. It is theoretically original and sophisticated yet also practical in terms of the potential applications of the knowledge produced. I have not been this excited by a scholarly project in a long time. The project challenges our tired old common sense assumptions about transnational corporations, the global economy and globalization. The objective to show with solid empirical data whether and to what extent transnational corporations still have a national identity is absolutely vital for not only understanding how the global economy works but also has incredibly important implications for the national policies of numerous countries...I will not at all be surprised if in the near future this young scholar is widely sought out for his analysis and policy recommendations by the leaders of countries around the world."

With a Japanese mother and a British father, having grown up in 5 countries by the time I was 16 (Canada, US, Denmark, Japan, and New Zealand), I am the love-child of globalization. But who drives globalization, who controls it, owns it, benefits from it — and who doesn't benefit from it? Above all, how do we transform it to make it better? These are some of the questions I'm interested in, under the umbrella of critical political economy.

Taking Life Seriously, One Moment at a Time


  • AIS2200 Intro Inter.Stud.thru Film
  • AIS3810 US Study Tour
  • AIS4127 Poverty & Politics of Aid

Recent Research Projects

  • American Power & Global Capitalism
  • Global Production Networks & China
  • The Nationality of Capital


Google Scholar Citations

  • For Google Scholar Profile, see: https://scholar.google.com.hk/citations?user=RTfaigwAAAAJ&hl=en
  • As of Aug 16, 2020: 223

    Top Cited (122): Starrs, Sean (2013) "American Economic Power Hasn't Declined — It Globalized! Summoning the Data and Taking Globalization Seriously" in International Studies Quarterly, Vol. 57, Issue 4 (December): 817-830.

    The sixth most-cited article in International Studies Quarterly from 2013-2019.

    Altmetric Score: 98. In the top 2% of all >14.5 million articles tracked across the natural and social sciences, #8 of 791 articles in International Studies Quarterly, and #1 of 12 of a similar age.

    See: https://oxfordjournals.altmetric.com/details/1589935#score


  • Starrs, Sean Kenji (Under Review with Oxford University Press) American Power Globalized: Rethinking National Power in the Age of Globalization.

    Blurb from Noam Chomsky, most-cited thinker alive:

    Front—"Fantastic piece of work...really revised our conception of global power".
    Back—"Conventional estimates of economic power rely on national accounts, primarily GDP. But these measures have lost their significance in the new age of globalization, this compelling study persuasively argues, showing that by the more realistic measure of ownership of the global economy, US power has reached astonishing heights. These carefully documented conclusions undermine laments about American declinism and the rise of China. A major and original contribution to understanding the actual distribution of power in the world order".

    For another plug, see Noam Chomsky (May 30, 2019) Trump's 'Economic Boom' is a Sham, available at: https://truthout.org/articles/noam-chomsky-trumps-economic-boom-is-a-sham/.


  • Starrs, Sean (In Process) Does Noam Chomsky Have a Theory of International Relations?
  • Starrs, Sean Kenji (In Process) Measuring Structural Power: The Ever-Persistent Myth of Lost Hegemony.
  • Starrs, Sean Kenji (Under Review with Contemporary Politics) The 'Old' and 'New' State Capitalism: What's the Difference Between the United States and China?
  • Germann, Julian & Sean Starrs (Under Review with Development and Change) Responding to the China Challenge in Techno-Nationalism: Divergence Between Germany and the United States.
  • Starrs, Sean Kenji (2018) Can China Unmake the American Making of Global Capitalism? in Leo Panitch and Greg Albo, eds. Socialist Register 2019: A World Turned Upside Down? London: Merlin Press; New York: Monthly Review Press.
  • Starrs, Sean (2017) The Global Capitalism School Tested in Asia: Transnational Capitalist Class vs Taking the State Seriously in Journal of Contemporary Asia. 47, 4: 641-658.
  • Starrs, Sean (2015) China's Rise is Designed in America, Assembled in China in China's World 2, 2: 9-20.
  • Starrs, Sean & Rafal Wisniewski (2015) BRICS — New Shareholders in the Global Capitalist System: An Interview with Sean Starrs by Rafal Wisniewski in R/evolutions: Global Trends and Regional Issues 3, 1: 96-118.

    Available at: http://revjournal.org/wp-content/uploads/REV3/REVOLUTIONS_VOL.3.pdf
  • Starrs, Sean (2014) The Chimera of Global Convergence in New Left Review 87 (May-June): 81-96.
    [2013 Eigenfactor Score: #8/92 in Social Sciences, Interdisciplinary]

    *Included in The Transnational Institute's info packet distributed at the BRICS Summit in Brazil, July 14-16, 2014*

    *Reprinted Sept. 27, 2014 in The Transnational Institute's "Shifting Power: Working Papers Series". Available at: http://www.tni.org/sites/www.tni.org/files/download/shifting_power_global_convergence.pdf

    *Being translated into Chinese by the Central Compilation and Translation Bureau of the Chinese Communist Party, for their Journal of Foreign Theoretical Trends*

    *Cited by Kees van der Pijl (2015), United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (2016) World Investment Report, Kiely (2016), among others.
  • Starrs, Sean (2013) American Economic Power Hasn't Declined — It Globalized! Summoning the Data and Taking Globalization Seriously in International Studies Quarterly, Vol. 57, Issue 4 (December): 817-830.
    [2012 Eigenfactor Score: #5/83 in International Relations]

    *Altmetric Score (measuring "most online attention") as of Aug. 13, 2014: 28. This is #2 out of 206 journal articles for International Studies Quarterly, top 3% of all 2,162,304 articles in all journals tracked by Altmetric./ Update July 1, 2015 — Score: 36; #4/334 in ISQ; Top 3% of 3,924,985/ Update Feb. 20, 2017 — Score: 55, #7/449 in ISQ, Top 2% of all 7,066,969 articles (including across the natural sciences)
    http://www.altmetric.com/details.php?domain=onlinelibrary.wiley.com&citation_id=1589935 *

    *Winner of Foreign Policy's 2013 Albert O. Hirschman Award for Best Writing in Global Political Economy [Honorable Mention: Larry Summers, former US Treasury Secretary and former President of Harvard University]*

    *Mentioned in Introduction of Wikipedia entry for Economy of the United States [I had nothing to do with this!]*

    *Placed on January 1, 2014 US Embassy Alert Feed for "the best of America's journal literature on a variety of international relations topics"*

    *Profiled by Harvard University Kennedy School Shorenstein Center on Media, Politics, and Public Policy for Journalists' Resource (the Center's program for making key academic publications accessible to journalists)*

    *Invited to write a popular version of this paper by Editor Blake Hounshell of Politico, "ranked no. 1 most read Capitol Hill [Washington, DC] publication" (2012 Erdos & Morgan Survey of Congressional and Federal Professionals). See Below*

    *Cited by Benjamin Cohen (2014), Daniel Drezner (2014), Brookings Institution (2014), International Security (2015), Louis Pauly (2016), William Wohlforth & Brooks (2016), Newsweek (Jan. 2017), among others*
  • Starrs, Sean (2005) The Establishment of the Anti-Establishment: The German Greens from Protest to Power in Topics in European Studies, Issue III: 58-79.
  • Starrs, Sean (2004) Is Immigration-Control Legitimate in a Liberal Democratic Welfare-State? in Topics in European Studies, Issue II: 110-134.

Book Chapters

  • Starrs, Sean (2018) US Economic Engagement in Asia in Andrew Tan, ed. Handbook on the United States in Asia: Managing Hegemonic Decline, Retaining Influence in the Trump Era Cheltenham, UK: Edward Elgar.
  • Starrs, Sean (2018) The Rise of Emerging Markets Signifies the End of the Beginning of the American Century: Henry Luce and the Emergence of Global Capitalism in Salvador Santino F. Regilme Jr. and James Parisot, eds. American Hegemony and the Rise of Emerging Powers: Cooperation or Conflict London: Routledge.
  • Starrs, Sean (Forthcoming 2017, Invited by Herman Schwartz) The Globalization of Production and American Power Globalized: The Ever-Persistent Myth of Lost Hegemony in Alan Cafruny and Herman Schwartz, eds. Hegemony and Leadership in the International Political Economy: Advances in IPE, Vol. 19. Boulder, CO: Lynne Rienner.
  • Starrs, Sean (2017, Invited by Mark Beeson) International Organizations: Can They Break Free From States? in Mark Beeson & Nick Bisley, eds. Issues in 21st Century World Politics, Third Edition PalgraveMacMillan.
  • Starrs, Sean (2014) State and Capital: False Dichotomy, Structural Super-Determinism, and Moving Beyond in Tim Di Muzio, ed. The Capitalist Mode of Power: Critical Engagements with the Power Theory of Value London and New York: Routledge.

Non-Peer Reviewed

  • Starrs, Sean Kenji (August 10, 2018) Belt and Road Initiative is No Selfless Venture Letter to The Financial Times. Available at https://www.ft.com/content/098d85c4-9a6d-11e8-ab77-f854c65a4465
  • Starrs, Sean (July 4, 2017) Hong Kong: It's Not Just About Identity Politics in The Financial Times. Available at: https://www.ft.com/content/a97ca3e6-5dbd-11e7-9bc8-8055f264aa8b
  • *Noam Chomsky discusses the research of "political economist Sean Starrs" in...*

    (June 22, 2017) Myths of Globalization: Noam Chomsky and Ha-Joon Chang in Conversation in Truthout. Available at: http://www.truth-out.org/opinion/item/41037-myths-of-globalization-noam-chomsky-and-ha-joon-chang-in-conversation


    (May 10, 2017) BBC Newsnight Interview with Noam Chomsky. Available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=edicDsSwYpk


    (March 28, 2017) Noam Chomsky: Trump's 100 First Days Are Undermining Our Prospects for Survival, in Truthout. Available at: http://www.truth-out.org/opinion/item/40011-noam-chomsky-trump-s-first-100-days-are-undermining-our-prospects-for-survival
  • Starrs, Sean (July 30, 2015) A Crash With Chinese Characteristics in Jacobin. Available at https://www.jacobinmag.com/2015/07/china-communist-party-market-collapse/

    *Radio Interview with Christy Thornton of WBAI New York City based on this article, Aug. 3, 2015. Available at (#5): http://christy-thornton.com/uncategorized/*

    *786 Facebook and Twitter shares as of Aug. 19, 2015*
  • Starrs, Sean (May 13, 2015) The Trans-Pacific Partnership: Making the World Safe for Big Business in Jacobin. Available at: https://www.jacobinmag.com/2015/05/trans-pacific-parternship-china-united-states-asia/

    *1,862 Facebook and Twitter shares as of July 1, 2015*

    *Translated into Spanish (May 23, 2015) by German Leyens of Tlaxcala: The International Network of Translators for Linguistic Diversity: http://www.tlaxcala-int.org/article.asp?reference=14721
  • Starrs, Sean (October 1, 2014) Students Unfurl the "Umbrella Revolution" in Hong Kong in The Bullet, No. 1042. Available at http://www.socialistproject.ca/bullet/1042.php

    *Reposted Oct. 7, 2014 by Center for Social Justice Available at http://www.socialjustice.org/community/?f_cat=3*
    *Reposted October 4, 2014 on The Real News. Available at http://therealnews.com/t2/component/content/article/390-sean-starrs/2190-students-unfurl-the-umbrella-revolution-in-hong-kong*
    *Reposted Oct. 1, 2014 (and edited without my permission) on Links as Eyewitness Hong Kong: The "Umbrella Revolution" Unfurls. Available at http://links.org.au/node/4082*
  • Starrs, Sean (February 24, 2014) America Didn't Decline. It Went Global in Politico http://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2014/02/america-didnt-decline-it-went-global-103865.html#.U-M0eOOSwkg

    *1,661 Social Media Shares (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn) as of August 7, 2014: From Marc Andreessen to the Major-General of Pakistan*

    *Translated into Spanish for Cambio Político (August 15, 2014) as ¿Qué es hoy una potencia nacional? El caso del poder económico de los EEUU*

    *Cited in Wikipedia entry of Economy of the United States*

    *Tweet by Silicon Valley venture capitalist and Time Magazine World's 100 Most Influential People, Marc Andreessen: "Outstanding Piece in Politico by Sean Starrs*. He then made 12 tweets with 12 quotes from my essay, each of which got extensive debate from some of his more than 70,000 followers (from hedge fund managers to The Wall Street Journal).*

    For further citations, please see http://seanstarrs.org/ivory-tower/research/publications/politico
  • Starrs, Sean (March 26, 2011) Popular Uprising in America's Dairyland? in YU Free Press Vol. 3, No. 3. Available at http://www.yufreepress.org/bodies-of-identity-features/popular-uprising-in-america%E2%80%99s-dairyland/

Select Conference Papers

  • Starrs, Sean (June 16, 2017) The Pacific Century is Anchored in the United States: How the Rise of the Rest Marks the End of the Beginning of the American Century at International Studies Association-University of Hong Kong Joint International Conference, University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong.
  • Starrs, Sean (Feb. 22, 2017) Does Corporate Nationality Still Matter? Investigating Ownership and Power in the 21st Century at International Studies Association 58th Annual Convention, Baltimore, USA.
  • Starrs, Sean (June 26, 2016) The Chimera of Chinese Convergence: National Power in the Age of Globalization at International Studies Association — Asia-Pacific Conference, City University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong.
  • Starrs, Sean (March 28, 2016 — Invited by Herman Schwartz) The Globalization of Production and American Power Globalized: The Ever-Persistent Myth of Lost Hegemony at International Studies Association Annual Convention, Atlanta, USA.
  • Starrs, Sean (May 30, 2015) Unfurling Hong Kong's Umbrella Movement: Intro & Doc at Left Forum, City University of New York, New York City.
  • Starrs, Sean (December 16, 2014) Unfurling Hong Kong's Umbrella Movement: An Eyewitness Account, Invited by the Department of Languages and Cultures, University of Otago, Dunedin, New Zealand.
  • Starrs, Sean (December 2, 2014) American Economic Power Hasn't Declined — It Globalized! Summoning the Data and Taking Globalization Seriously at New Zealand Political Studies Association Annual Conference, University of Auckland, New Zealand.
  • Starrs, Sean (December 2, 2014) Does the Nationality of Capital Still Matter? at New Zealand Political Studies Association Annual Conference, University of Auckland, New Zealand.
  • Starrs, Sean (June 7, 2014) American Economic Power Hasn't Declined — It Globalized! at Global Studies Association Annual Conference, Loyola University, Chicago, USA.
  • Starrs, Sean (April 3, 2013) State and Capital: False Dichotomy, Structural Super-Determinism, and Moving Beyond at International Studies Association Annual Convention, San Francisco, USA.
  • Starrs, Sean (Sept. 30, 2012) How Do We Quantify the Qualities of Corporate Power? at Forum on Capital as Power International Conference, York University, Toronto, Canada.
  • Starrs, Sean (Sept. 10, 2010) Structural Constraints to the Rise of East Asia: The Implications of Foreign Ownership and the Export-Led Growth Model at Pan-European International Relations Conference, Stockholm, Sweden.
  • Starrs, Sean (Feb. 27, 2010) Transnational Capital and American Power at Eastern Economic Association Conference, Philadelphia, USA.
  • Starrs, Sean (Feb. 13, 2009) Contesting Convergence in Globalization: Ten Years After the East Asian Crisis in South Korea at International Graduate Student Conference, East-West Center, Honolulu, Hawaii, USA.
  • Starrs, Sean (April 23, 2008) American Aggression Against Asian Aspiration? Ten Years After the East Asian Crisis in Korea at The Great Lakes Political Economy Graduate Conference, York University, Toronto, Canada.
  • Tiberghien, Yves & Sean Starrs (March 13, 2004) The EU as Global Trouble-Maker in Chief: A Political Analysis of EU Regulations and EU Global Leadership in the Field of Genetically-Modified Organisms at Council of European Studies Annual Convention, Chicago, USA.

    *Cited in:

    Schurman, Rachel & William Munro (2006) Ideas, Thinkers, and Social Networks: The Process of Grievance Construction in the Anti-Genetic Engineering Movement in Theory and Society 35, 1: 1-38

    Drezner, Daniel (2008) All Politics is Global: Explaining International Regulatory Regimes Princeton University Press

    Bair, Jennifer (2009) Frontiers of Commodity Chain Research Stanford University Press

    Pollack, Mark & Gregory Shaffer (2009) When Cooperation Fails: The International Law and Politics of Genetically Modified Foods Oxford University Press
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