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World-system theory | Wikipedia audio article

World-system theory | Wikipedia audio article


World-systems theory (also known as world-systems
analysis or the world-systems perspective) is a multidisciplinary, macro-scale approach
to world history and social change which emphasizes the world-system (and not nation states) as
the primary (but not exclusive) unit of social analysis.”World-system” refers to the inter-regional
and transnational division of labor, which divides the world into core countries, semi-periphery
countries, and the periphery countries. Core countries focus on higher skill, capital-intensive
production, and the rest of the world focuses on low-skill, labor-intensive production and
extraction of raw materials. This constantly reinforces the dominance of
the core countries. Nonetheless, the system has dynamic characteristics,
in part as a result of revolutions in transport technology, and individual states can gain
or lose their core (semi-periphery, periphery) status over time. This structure is unified by the division
of labour. It is a world-economy rooted in a capitalist
economy. For a time, certain countries become the world
hegemon; during the last few centuries, as the world-system has extended geographically
and intensified economically, this status has passed from the Netherlands, to the United
Kingdom and (most recently) to the United States.==Background==
Immanuel Wallerstein has developed the best-known version of world-systems analysis, beginning
in the 1970s. Wallerstein traces the rise of the capitalist
world-economy from the “long” 16th century (c. 1450–1640). The rise of capitalism, in his view, was an
accidental outcome of the protracted crisis of feudalism (c. 1290–1450). Europe (the West) used its advantages and
gained control over most of the world economy and presided over the development and spread
of industrialization and capitalist economy, indirectly resulting in unequal development.Though
other commentators refer to Wallerstein’s project as world-systems “theory”, he consistently
rejects that term. For Wallerstein, world-systems analysis is
a mode of analysis that aims to transcend the structures of knowledge inherited from
the 19th century, especially the definition of capitalism, the divisions within the social
sciences, and those between the social sciences and history. For Wallerstein, then, world-systems analysis
is a “knowledge movement” that seeks to discern the “totality of what has been paraded under
the labels of the… human sciences and indeed well beyond”. “We must invent a new language,” Wallerstein
insists, to transcend the illusions of the “three supposedly distinctive arenas” of society,
economy and politics. The trinitarian structure of knowledge is
grounded in another, even grander, modernist architecture, the distinction of biophysical
worlds (including those within bodies) from social ones: “One question, therefore, is
whether we will be able to justify something called social science in the twenty-first
century as a separate sphere of knowledge.” Many other scholars have contributed significant
work in this “knowledge movement”.==Origins=====
Influences and major thinkers===World-systems theory traces emerged in the
1970s. Its roots can be found in sociology, but it
has developed into a highly interdisciplinary field. World-systems theory was aiming to replace
modernization theory, which Wallerstein criticised for three reasons:
its focus on the nation state as the only unit of analysis
its assumption that there is only a single path of evolutionary development for all countries
its disregard of transnational structures that constrain local and national development.There
are three major predecessors of world-systems theory: the Annales school, the Marxist tradition,
and the dependence theory. The Annales School tradition (represented
most notably by Fernand Braudel) influenced Wallerstein to focusing on long-term processes
and geo-ecological regions as unit of analysis. Marxism added a stress on social conflict,
a focus on the capital accumulation process and competitive class struggles, a focus on
a relevant totality, the transitory nature of social forms and a dialectical sense of
motion through conflict and contradiction. World-systems theory was also significantly
influenced by dependency theory, a neo-Marxist explanation of development processes. Other influences on the world-systems theory
come from scholars such as Karl Polanyi, Nikolai Kondratiev and Joseph Schumpeter (particularly
their research on business cycles and the concepts of three basic modes of economic
organization: reciprocal, redistributive, and market modes, which Wallerstein reframed
into a discussion of mini systems, world empires, and world economies). Wallerstein sees the development of the capitalist
world economy as detrimental to a large proportion of the world’s population. Wallerstein views the period since the 1970s
as an “age of transition” that will give way to a future world system (or world systems)
whose configuration cannot be determined in advance.World-systems thinkers include Oliver
Cox, Samir Amin, Giovanni Arrighi, Andre Gunder Frank, and Immanuel Wallerstein, with major
contributions by Christopher Chase-Dunn, Beverly Silver, Volker Bornschier, Janet Abu Lughod,
Thomas D. Hall, Kunibert Raffer, Theotonio dos Santos, Dale Tomich, Jason W. Moore and
others. In sociology, a primary alternative perspective
is World Polity Theory, as formulated by John W. Meyer.===Dependency theory===World-systems analysis builds upon but also
differs fundamentally from dependency theory. While accepting world inequality, the world
market and imperialism as fundamental features of historical capitalism, Wallerstein broke
with orthodox dependency theory’s central proposition. For Wallerstein, core countries do not exploit
poor countries for two basic reasons. Firstly, core capitalists exploit workers
in all zones of the capitalist world economy (not just the periphery) and therefore, the
crucial redistribution between core and periphery is surplus value, not “wealth” or “resources”
abstractly conceived. Secondly, core states do not exploit poor
states, as dependency theory proposes, because capitalism is organised around an inter-regional
and transnational division of labor rather than an international division of labour. During the Industrial Revolution, for example,
English capitalists exploited slaves (unfree workers) in the cotton zones of the American
South, a peripheral region within a semiperipheral country, United States.From a largely Weberian
perspective, Fernando Henrique Cardoso described the main tenets of dependency theory as follows: There is a financial and technological penetration
of the periphery and semi-periphery countries by the developed capitalist core countries. That produces an unbalanced economic structure
within the peripheral societies and between them and the central countries. That leads to limitations upon self-sustained
growth in the periphery. That helps the appearance of specific patterns
of class relations. They require modifications in the role of
the state to guarantee the functioning of the economy and the political articulation
of a society, which contains, within itself, foci of inarticulateness and structural imbalance.Dependency
and world system theory propose that the poverty and backwardness of poor countries are caused
by their peripheral position in the international division of labor. Since the capitalist world system evolved,
the distinction between the central and the peripheral nations has grown and diverged. In recognizing a tripartite pattern in division
of labor, world-systems analysis criticized dependency theory with its bimodal system
of only cores and peripheries.===Immanuel Wallerstein===
The best-known version of the world-systems approach was developed by Immanuel Wallerstein. Wallerstein notes that world-systems analysis
calls for an unidisciplinary historical social science and contends that the modern disciplines,
products of the 19th century, are deeply flawed because they are not separate logics, as is
manifest for example in the de facto overlap of analysis among scholars of the disciplines. Wallerstein offers several definitions of
a world-system, defining it in 1974 briefly: a system is defined as a unit with a single
division of labor and multiple cultural systems. He also offered a longer definition: …a social system, one that has boundaries,
structures, member groups, rules of legitimation, and coherence. Its life is made up of the conflicting forces
which hold it together by tension and tear it apart as each group seeks eternally to
remold it to its advantage. It has the characteristics of an organism,
in that it has a life-span over which its characteristics change in some respects and
remain stable in others. One can define its structures as being at
different times strong or weak in terms of the internal logic of its functioning. In 1987, Wallerstein again defined it: … not the system of the world, but a system
that is a world and which can be, most often has been, located in an area less than the
entire globe. World-systems analysis argues that the units
of social reality within which we operate, whose rules constrain us, are for the most
part such world-systems (other than the now extinct, small minisystems that once existed
on the earth). World-systems analysis argues that there have
been thus far only two varieties of world-systems: world-economies and world empires. A world-empire (examples, the Roman Empire,
Han China) are large bureaucratic structures with a single political center and an axial
division of labor, but multiple cultures. A world-economy is a large axial division
of labor with multiple political centers and multiple cultures. In English, the hyphen is essential to indicate
these concepts. “World system” without a hyphen suggests that
there has been only one world-system in the history of the world. Wallerstein characterises the world system
as a set of mechanisms, which redistributes surplus value from the periphery to the core. In his terminology, the core is the developed,
industrialized part of the world, and the periphery is the “underdeveloped”, typically
raw materials-exporting, poor part of the world; the market being the means by which
the core exploits the periphery. Apart from them, Wallerstein defines four
temporal features of the world system. Cyclical rhythms represent the short-term
fluctuation of economy, and secular trends mean deeper long run tendencies, such as general
economic growth or decline. The term contradiction means a general controversy
in the system, usually concerning some short term versus long term tradeoffs. For example, the problem of underconsumption,
wherein the driving down of wages increases the profit for capitalists in the short term,
but in the long term, the decreasing of wages may have a crucially harmful effect by reducing
the demand for the product. The last temporal feature is the crisis: a
crisis occurs if a constellation of circumstances brings about the end of the system. In Wallerstein’s view, there have been three
kinds of historical systems across human history: “mini-systems” or what anthropologists call
bands, tribes, and small chiefdoms, and two types of world systems, one that is politically
unified and the other is not (single state world empires and multi-polity world economies). World systems are larger, and are ethnically
diverse. Modernity is unique in being the first and
only fully capitalist world economy to have emerged around 1450 to 1550 and to have geographically
expanded across the entire planet, by about 1900. Not being political unified, many political
units are included within the world system loosely tied together in an interstate system. Efficient division of labor is the unifying
element of the different units, and it is also a function of capitalism, a system based
on competition between free producers using free labor with free commodities, ‘free’ meaning
available for sale and purchase on a market. More specifically, it can be described as
focusing on endless accumulation of capital; in other words, accumulation of capital in
order to accumulate more capital. Such capitalism has a mutually dependent relationship
with the world economy since it provides the efficient division of labour, the unifying
element of the world economy, through the process of accumulating wealth. Likewise, such capitalism is dependent on
the world economy since the latter provides a large market and a multiplicity of states,
enabling capitalists to choose to work with states helping their interests.===Research questions===
World-systems theory asks several key questions: How is the world system affected by changes
in its components (e.g. nations, ethnic groups, social classes, etc.)? How does it affect its components? To what degree, if any, does the core need
the periphery to be underdeveloped? What causes world systems to change? What system may replace capitalism?Some questions
are more specific to certain subfields; for example, Marxists would concern themselves
whether world-systems theory is a useful or unhelpful development of Marxist theories.==Characteristics==World-systems analysis argues that capitalism,
as a historical system, has always integrated a variety of labor forms within a functioning
division of labor (world economy). Countries do not have economies but are part
of the world economy. Far from being separate societies or worlds,
the world economy manifests a tripartite division of labor, with core, semiperipheral and peripheral
zones. In the core zones, businesses, with the support
of states they operate within, monopolise the most profitable activities of the division
of labor. There are many ways to attribute a specific
country to the core, semi-periphery, or periphery. Using an empirically based sharp formal definition
of “domination” in a two-country relationship, Piana in 2004 defined the “core” as made up
of “free countries” dominating others without being dominated, the “semi-periphery” as the
countries that are dominated (usually, but not necessarily, by core countries) but at
the same time dominating others (usually in the periphery) and “periphery” as the countries
dominated. Based on 1998 data, the full list of countries
in the three regions, together with a discussion of methodology, can be found. The late 18th and early 19th centuries marked
a great turning point in the development of capitalism in that capitalists achieved state
society power in the key states, which furthered the industrial revolution marking the rise
of capitalism. World-systems analysis contends that capitalism
as a historical system formed earlier and that countries do not “develop” in stages,
but the system does, and events have a different meaning as a phase in the development of historical
capitalism, the emergence of the three ideologies of the national developmental mythology (the
idea that countries can develop through stages if they pursue the right set of policies):
conservatism, liberalism, and radicalism. Proponents of world-systems analysis see the
world stratification system the same way Karl Marx viewed class (ownership versus nonownership
of the means of production) and Max Weber viewed class (which, in addition to ownership,
stressed occupational skill level in the production process). The core nations primarily own and control
the major means of production in the world and perform the higher-level production tasks. The periphery nations own very little of the
world’s means of production (even when they are located in periphery nations) and provide
less-skilled labour. Like a class system with a nation, class positions
in the world economy result in an unequal distribution of rewards or resources. The core nations receive the greatest share
of surplus production, and periphery nations receive the smallest share. Furthermore, core nations are usually able
to purchase raw materials and other goods from non-core nations at low prices and demand
higher prices for their exports to non-core nations. Chirot (1986) lists the five most important
benefits coming to core nations from their domination of periphery nations: Access to a large quantity of raw material
Cheap labour Enormous profits from direct capital investments
A market for exports Skilled professional labor through migration
of these people from the non-core to the core.According to Wallerstein, the unique qualities of the
modern world system include its capitalistic nature, its truly global nature, and the fact
that it is a world economy that has not become politically unified into a world empire.===Core nations===Are the most economically diversified, wealthy,
and powerful (economically and militarily) Have strong central governments, controlling
extensive bureaucracies and powerful militaries Have stronger and more complex state institutions
that help manage economic affairs internally and externally
Have a sufficient tax base so state institutions can provide infrastructure for a strong economy
Highly industrialised and produce manufactured goods rather than raw materials for export
Increasingly tend to specialise in information, finance and service industries
More often in the forefront of new technologies and new industries. Examples today include high-technology electronic
and biotechnology industries. Another example would be assembly-line auto
production in the early 20th century. Has strong bourgeois and working classes
Have significant means of influence over non-core nations
Relatively independent of outside controlThroughout the history of the modern world system, there
has been a group of core nations competing with one another for access to the world’s
resources, economic dominance and hegemony over periphery nations. Occasionally, there has been one core nation
with clear dominance over others. According to Immanuel Wallerstein, a core
nation is dominant over all the others when it has a lead in three forms of economic dominance
over a period of time: Productivity dominance allows a country to
produce products of greater quality at a cheaper price, compared to other countries. Productivity dominance may lead to trade dominance. Now, there is a favorable balance of trade
for the dominant nation since more countries are buying the products of the dominant country
than buying from them. Trade dominance may lead to financial dominance. Now, more money is coming into the country
than going out. Bankers of the dominant nation tend to receive
more control of the world’s financial resources.Military dominance is also likely after a nation reaches
these three rankings. However, it has been posited that throughout
the modern world system, no nation has been able to use its military to gain economic
dominance. Each of the past dominant nations became dominant
with fairly small levels of military spending and began to lose economic dominance with
military expansion later on. Historically, cores were found in Northwestern
Europe (England, France, Netherlands) but were later in other parts of the world (such
as the United States, Canada, and Australia).===Peripheral nations===Are the least economically diversified
Have relatively weak governments Have relatively weak institutions, with tax
bases too small to support infrastructural development
Tend to depend on one type of economic activity, often by extracting and exporting raw materials
to core nations Tend to be the least industrialized
Are often targets for investments from multinational (or transnational) corporations from core
nations that come into the country to exploit cheap unskilled labor in order to export back
to core nations Have a small bourgeois and a large peasant
classes Tend to have populations with high percentages
of poor and uneducated people Tend to have very high social inequality because
of small upper classes that own most of the land and have profitable ties to multinational
corporations Tend to be extensively influenced by core
nations and their multinational corporations and often forced to follow economic policies
that help core nations and harm the long-term economic prospects of peripheral nations.Historically,
peripheries were found outside Europe, such as in Latin America and today in sub-Saharan
Africa.===Semi-peripheral nations===Semi-peripheral nations are those that are
midway between the core and periphery. Thus, they have to keep themselves from falling
into the category of peripheral nations and at the same time, they strive to join the
category of core nations. Therefore, they tend to apply protectionist
policies most aggressively among the three categories of nations. They tend to be countries moving towards industrialization
and more diversified economies. These regions often have relatively developed
and diversified economies but are not dominant in international trade. They tend to export more to peripheral nations
and import more from core nations in trade. According to some scholars, such as Chirot,
they are not as subject to outside manipulation as peripheral societies; but according to
others (Barfield), they have “periperial-like” relations to the core. While in the sphere of influence of some cores,
semiperipheries also tend to exert their own control over some peripheries. Further, semi-peripheries act as buffers between
cores and peripheries and thus “…partially deflect the political pressures which groups
primarily located in peripheral areas might otherwise direct against core-states” and
stabilise the world system.Semi-peripheries can come into existence from developing peripheries
and declining cores. Historically, two examples of semiperipheral
nations would be Spain and Portugal, which fell from their early core positions but still
managed to retain influence in Latin America. Those countries imported silver and gold from
their American colonies but then had to use it to pay for manufactured goods from core
countries such as England and France. In the 20th century, nations like the “settler
colonies” of Australia, Canada and New Zealand had a semiperipheral status. In the 21st century, nations like Brazil,
Russia, India, Israel, China, South Korea and South Africa (BRICS) are usually considered
semiperipheral.===External areas===
External areas are those that maintain socially necessary divisions of labor independent of
the capitalist world economy.==Interpretation of world history==Before the 16th century, Europe was dominated
by feudal economies. European economies grew from mid-12th to 14th
century but from 14th to mid 15th century, they suffered from a major crisis. Wallerstein explains this crisis as caused
by the following: stagnation or even decline of agricultural
production, increasing the burden of peasants, decreased agricultural productivity caused
by changing climatological conditions (Little Ice Age),
an increase in epidemics (Black Death), optimum level of the feudal economy having
been reached in its economic cycle; the economy moved beyond it and entered a depression period.As
a response to the failure of the feudal system, Europe embraced the capitalist system. Europeans were motivated to develop technology
to explore and trade around the world, using their superior military to take control of
the trade routes. Europeans exploited their initial small advantages,
which led to an accelerating process of accumulation of wealth and power in Europe.Wallerstein
notes that never before had an economic system encompassed that much of the world, with trade
links crossing so many political boundaries. In the past, geographically large economic
systems existed but were mostly limited to spheres of domination of large empires (such
as the Roman Empire); development of capitalism enabled the world economy to extend beyond
individual states. International division of labor was crucial
in deciding what relationships exists between different regions, their labor conditions
and political systems. For classification and comparison purposes,
Wallerstein introduced the categories of core, semi-periphery, periphery, and external countries. Cores monopolized the capital-intensive production,
and the rest of the world could provide only workforce and raw resources. The resulting inequality reinforced existing
unequal development.According to Wallerstein there have only been three periods in which
a core nation dominated in the modern world-system, with each lasting less than one hundred years. In the initial centuries of the rise of Europe,
Northwestern Europe constituted the core, Mediterranean Europe the semiperiphery, and
Eastern Europe and the Western hemisphere (and parts of Asia) the periphery. Around 1450, Spain and Portugal took the early
lead when conditions became right for a capitalist world-economy. They led the way in establishing overseas
colonies. However, Portugal and Spain lost their lead,
primarily by becoming overextended with empire-building. It became too expensive to dominate and protect
so many colonial territories around the world. The first nation to gain clear dominance was
the Netherlands in the 17th century, after its revolution led to a new financial system
that many historians consider revolutionary. An impressive shipbuilding industry also contributed
to their economic dominance through more exports to other countries. Eventually, other countries began to copy
the financial methods and efficient production created by the Dutch. After the Dutch gained their dominant status,
the standard of living rose, pushing up production costs.Dutch bankers began to go outside of
the country seeking profitable investments, and the flow of capital moved, especially
to England. By the end of the 17th century, conflict among
core nations increased as a result of the economic decline of the Dutch. Dutch financial investment helped England
gain productivity and trade dominance, and Dutch military support helped England to defeat
France, the other country competing for dominance at the time. In the 19th century, Britain replaced the
Netherlands as the hegemon. As a result of the new British dominance,
the world system became relatively stable again during the 19th century. The British began to expand globally, with
many colonies in the New World, Africa, and Asia. The colonial system began to place a strain
on the British military and, along with other factors, led to an economic decline. Again there was a great deal of core conflict
after the British lost their clear dominance. This time it was Germany, and later Italy
and Japan that provided the new threat. Industrialization was another ongoing process
during British dominance, resulting in the diminishing importance of the agricultural
sector. In the 18th century, Britain was Europe’s
leading industrial and agricultural producer; by 1900, only 10% of England’s population
was working in the agricultural sector.By 1900, the modern world system appeared very
different from that of a century earlier in that most of the periphery societies had already
been colonised by one of the older core nations. In 1800, the old European core claimed 35%
of the world’s territory, but by 1914, it claimed 85% of the world’s territory, with
the Scramble for Africa closing out the imperial era. If a core nation wanted periphery areas to
exploit as had done the Dutch and British, these periphery areas had to be taken from
another core nation, which the US did by way of the Spanish–American War, and Germany,
and then Japan and Italy, attempted to do in the leadup to World War II. The modern world system was thus geographically
global, and even the most remote regions of the world had all been integrated into the
global economy.As countries vied for core status, so did the United States. The American Civil War led to more power for
the Northern industrial elites, who were now better able to pressure the government for
policies helping industrial expansion. Like the Dutch bankers, British bankers were
putting more investment toward the United States. The US had a small military budget compared
to other industrial nations at the time.The US began to take the place of the British
as a new dominant nation after World War I. With Japan and Europe in ruins after World
War II, the US was able to dominate the modern world system more than any other country in
history, while the USSR and to a lesser extent China were viewed as primary threats. At its height, US economic reach accounted
for over half of the world’s industrial production, owned two thirds of the gold reserves in the
world and supplied one third of the world’s exports.However, since the end of the Cold
War, the future of US hegemony has been questioned by some scholars, as its hegemonic position
has been in decline for a few decades. By the end of the 20th century, the core of
the wealthy industrialized countries was composed of Western Europe, the United States, Japan
and a rather limited selection of other countries. The semiperiphery was typically composed of
independent states that had not achieved Western levels of influence, while poor former colonies
of the West formed most of the periphery.==Criticisms==
World-systems theory has attracted criticisms from its rivals; notably for being too focused
on economy and not enough on culture and for being too core-centric and state-centric. William I. Robinson has criticized world-systems
theory for its nation-state centrism, state-structuralist approach, and its inability to conceptualize
the rise of globalization. Robinson suggests that world-systems theory
doesn’t account for emerging transnational social forces and the relationships forged
between them and global institutions serving their interests. These forces operate on a global, rather than
state system and cannot be understood by Wallerstein’s nation-centered approach.According to Wallerstein
himself, critique of the world-systems approach comes from four directions: the positivists,
the orthodox Marxists, the state autonomists, and the culturalists. The positivists criticise the approach as
too prone to generalization, lacking quantitative data and failing to put forth a falsifiable
proposition. Orthodox Marxists find the world-systems approach
deviating too far from orthodox Marxist principles, such as by not giving enough weight to the
concept of social class. The state autonomists criticize the theory
for blurring the boundaries between state and businesses. Further, the positivists and the state autonomists
argue that state should be the central unit of analysis. Finally, the culturalists argue that world-systems
theory puts too much importance on the economy and not enough on the culture. In Wallerstein’s own words: In short, most of the criticisms of world-systems
analysis criticize it for what it explicitly proclaims as its perspective. World-systems analysis views these other modes
of analysis as defective and/or limiting in scope and calls for unthinking them. One of the fundamental conceptual problems
of the world-system theory is that the assumptions that define its actual conceptual units are
social systems. The assumptions, which define them, need to
be examined as well as how they are related to each other and how one changes into another. The essential argument of the world-system
theory is that in the 16th century a capitalist world economy developed, which could be described
as a world system. The following is a theoretical critique concerned
with the basic claims of world-system theory: “There are today no socialist systems in the
world-economy any more than there are feudal systems because there is only one world system. It is a world-economy and it is by definition
capitalist in form.”Robert Brenner has pointed out that the prioritization of the world market
means the neglect of local class structures and class struggles:
“They fail to take into account either the way in which these class structures themselves
emerge as the outcome of class struggles whose results are incomprehensible in terms merely
of market forces.” Another criticism is that of reductionism
made by Theda Skocpol: she believes the interstate system is far from being a simple superstructure
of the capitalist world economy: “The international states system as a transnational
structure of military competition was not originally created by capitalism. Throughout modern world history, it represents
an analytically autonomous level [… of] world capitalism, but [is] not reducible to
it.”A concept that we can perceive as critique and mostly as renewal is the concept of coloniality
(Anibal Quijano, 2000, Nepantla, Coloniality of power, eurocentrism and Latin America ). Issued
from the think tank of the group “modernity/coloniality” (es:Grupo modernidad/colonialidad) in Latin
America, it re-uses the concept of world working division and core/periphery system in its
system of coloniality. But criticizing the “core-centric” origin
of World-system and its only economical development, “coloniality” allows further conception of
how power still processes in a colonial way over worldwide populations (Ramon Grosfogel,
“the epistemic decolonial turn” 2007 ):” by “colonial situations” I mean the cultural,
political, sexual, spiritual, epistemic and economic oppression/exploitation of subordinate
racialized/ethnic groups by dominant racialized/ethnic groups with or without the existence of colonial
administration”. Coloniality covers, so far, several fields
such as coloniality of gender (Maria Lugones), coloniality of “being” (Maldonado Torres),
coloniality of knowledge (Walter Mignolo) and Coloniality of power (Anibal Quijano).==New developments==
New developments in world systems research include studies on the cyclical processes. More specifically, it refers to the cycle
of leading industries or products (ones that are new and have an important share of the
overall world market for commodities), which is equal to dissolution of quasi-monopolies
or other forms of partial monopolies achieved by core nations. Such forms of partial monopolies are achievable
through ownership of leading industries or products, which require technological capabilities,
patents, restrictions on imports and/or exports, government subsidies, etc. Such capabilities are most often found in
core nations, which accumulate capital through achieving such quasi-monopolies with leading
industries or products. As capital is accumulated, employment and
wage also increase, creating a sense of prosperity. This leads to increased production, and sometimes
even overproduction, causing price competition to arise. To lower production costs, production processes
of the leading industries or products are relocated to semi-peripheral nations. When competition increases and quasi-monopolies
cease to exist, their owners, often core nations, move on to other new leading industries or
products, and the cycle continues.Other new developments include the consequences of the
dissolution of the Soviet Union, the roles of gender and the culture, studies of slavery
and incorporation of new regions into the world system and the precapitalist world systems. Arguably, the greatest source of renewal in
world-systems analysis since 2000 has been the synthesis of world-system and environmental
approaches. Key figures in the “greening” of world-systems
analysis include Minqi Li, Jason W. Moore, Andreas Malm, Stephen Bunker, Alf Hornborg,
and Richard York.===Time period===
Wallerstein traces the origin of today’s world-system to the “long 16th century” (a period that
began with the discovery of the Americas by Western European sailors and ended with the
English Revolution of 1640). And, according to Wallerstein, globalization,
or the becoming of the world’s system, is a process coterminous with the spread and
development of capitalism over the past 500 years. Janet Abu Lughod argues that a pre-modern
world system extensive across Eurasia existed in the 13th century prior to the formation
of the modern world-system identified by Wallerstein. Janet Abu Lughod contends that the Mongol
Empire played an important role in stitching together the Chinese, Indian, Muslim and European
regions in the 13th century, before the rise of the modern world system. In debates, Wallerstein contends that Lughod’s
system was not a “world-system” because it did not entail integrated production networks,
but it was instead a vast trading network. Andre Gunder Frank goes further and claims
that a global world system that includes Asia, Europe and Africa has existed since the 4th
millennium BCE. The centre of this system was in Asia, specifically
China. Andrey Korotayev goes even further than Frank
and dates the beginning of the world system formation to the 10th millennium BCE and connects
it with the start of the Neolithic Revolution in the Middle East. According to him, the centre of this system
was originally in Western Asia.===Current research===
Wallerstein’s theories are widely recognized throughout the world. In the United States, one of the hubs of world-systems
research is at the Fernand Braudel Center for the Study of Economies, Historical Systems
and Civilizations, at Binghamton University. Among the most important related periodicals
are the Journal of World-Systems Research, published by the American Sociological Association’s
Section on the Political Economy of the World System (PEWS), and the Review, published the
Braudel Center.Edythe E. Weeks asserts the proposition that it may be possible to consider,
and apply critical insights, to prevent future patterns from emerging in ways to repeat outcomes
harmful to humanity. (See Outer Space Development, Space Law and
International Relations: A Method for Elucidating Seeds (Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2012)). Her current research, as a Fulbright Specialist,
further suggests that new territories such as the Antarctic Peninsula, Antarctica, the
Arctic and various regions of outer space, including low Earth orbit, the geostationary
orbit, Near Earth orbit are currently in the process of colonization. By applying lessons learned from our past,
we can change the future towards a direction less likely to be widely criticized.==Related journals==
Annales. Histoire, Sciences sociales
Ecology and Society Journal of World-Systems Research
Review: A Journal of the Fernand Braudel Center==See also

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