Essay Preview: World Systems
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Some of the things that are learned in a modern world system class is what are world system and globalization. Because it is hard to write down the definition in my own word I am going to use the words of Immanuel Wallerstein. Wallerstein wrote that a world system is “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” (Wallerstein p; 239). What he is basically saying is that the world system. This is pretty much the same thing the Karl Marx and Lenin said with a modern a day appear. Wallerstein claims the world-system of today is a world-economy, implying the exploitation relationship between abstractions of countries. Globalization is the process, completed in the twentieth century, by which the capitalist world-system spreads across the actual globe. Since that world-system has maintained some of its main features over several centuries, globalization does not constitute a new phenomenon. At the turn of the twenty-first century, the capitalist world economy is in crisis; therefore, according to the theorys leading proponent, the current “ideological celebration of so-called globalization is in reality the swan song of our historical system” (I. Wallerstein, Utopistics, 1998: 32).
According to my notes and the globalization website “the modern world-system originated around 1500. In parts of Western Europe, a long-term crisis of feudalism gave way to technological innovation and the rise of market institutions. Advances in production and incentives for long-distance trade stimulated Europeans to reach other parts of the globe. Superior military strength and means of transportation enabled them to establish economic ties with other regions that favored the accumulation of wealth in the European core”. During the “long sixteenth century,” Europeans thus established an occupational and geographic division of labor in which capital-intensive production was reserved for core countries while peripheral areas provided low-skill labor and raw materials. The unequal relationship between European core and non-European periphery inevitably generated unequal development. Some regions in the “semiperiphery” moderated this inequality by serving as a buffer. States also played a crucial role in maintaining the hierarchical structure, since they helped to direct profits to monopoly producers in the core and protected the overall capitalist economy (e.g., by enforcing property rights and guarding trade routes). At any one time, a particular state could have hegemonic influence as the technological and military leader, but no single state could dominate the system: it is a world economy in which states are bound to compete. While the Europeans started with only small advantages, they exploited these to reshape the world in their capitalist image. The world as a whole is now devoted to endless accumulation and profit-seeking on the basis of exchange in a market that treats goods and labor alike as commodities”(Globalization website)
Now according to my notes, The first, is the interstate system that developed from the 1500s on. The interstate system over the last 500 years established the framework in which wars were fought. More importantly the interstate system created the framework that shaped