This fully revised fifth edition continues to offer the authoritative introduction to today's global political economy and its historical context. O'Brien and Williams move beyond the traditional three-paradigm perspective to show how these theories can be applied and their efficacy in tackling key developments and issues. In doing so, the authors offer an all-encompassing analysis of the multiple theories, themes, and issues to create a comprehensive guide to the topic. The authors first trace the evolution of the global economy from its roots in fifteenth century through the Industrial Revolution, to the post-1945 world order. They then proceed to explore in more detail the dynamics of today's global political economy, providing systematic coverage of the key spheres of activity, from trade, production and finance to social divisions, development, the environment, ideas, security and governance. This edition includes new material on the Greek financial crisis and the changing role of the BRICS countries in global governance, as these developments upset the dominance of the US and Europe in the world economy today. Supported by multiple boxed exhibits, further reading links, and a fully-featured companion website, this text is designed to be as accessible as possible. Online, students will find essay and multiple choice questions, podcasts and videos, timelines, and other materials to help consolidate learning.