2013 Annual Meeting of the Political Economy of World-Systems Section of the American Sociological
Association and the
World Society Foundation Award of Excellence Program
for Research Papers on World Society
April 12-13, 2013
University of California-Riverside
Albrecht, Scott (see Korzeneiwicz and Albrecht)
Arthur S. Alderson, Joe Johnston (Indiana University) and Jason Beckfield
(Harvard University) “Urban Development and the World City System: Inter-City Relations and the Fate of U.S. Cities”
Research on world cities is defined by the central idea that relations between cities are important for with occurs within them. While the world city system is typically conceptualized as multidimensional – formed by analytically distinct networks – a key line of inquiry in this area focuses on one of the more empirically tractable networks suggested to generate the world city system – corporate networks. As firms open or acquire subsidiaries, they knit cities into complex webs of ownership, hierarchy, and control. Research on the structure of the world city system has demonstrated that corporate control is increasingly centralized in a relatively small number of cities (e.g., London, New York, Paris, and Tokyo), cities that potentially influence the fate of thousands of other cities around the globe and of the billions of people who live within them. However, few have attempted to rigorously examine exactly how, and to what extent, the position of cities within the world city system affects what occurs within them. In this paper, we address this central, long-standing question using data on headquarter and branch locations of the world’s 500 largest multinational enterprises in 1981 and 2007. We employ techniques developed for the analysis of networks to evaluate the more than 6,300 cities that are linked together by such firms in terms of their point centrality (i.e., their network power and prestige) and, using blockmodeling techniques, in terms of the positions they occupy and roles that they play in the system. We then relate change in network power, prestige, position, and role across the current round of globalization to a variety of outcomes within U.S. cities, testing expectations arising from the world city literature regarding unemployment, occupational restructuring, migration, economic development, and income inequality.
Alexis Alvarez (University of California-Riverside) “The Structure and Dynamics of Global
Since the emergence of Cecil Rhodes’ Round Table, the idea of a global moral order separated from a religious authority has been increasingly championed, first across the British Empire, and now in every region of the world. Successive waves of cosmopolitanism, transnational investment, tourism, and diplomacy, have further sustained this still fledging social order grounded in the secular humanism espoused in the structures of international law that were put forth during the Nuremberg trials. The establishment of the League of Nations, the United Nations, the European Union, the International Monetary Fund, the World Trade Organization, and other such entities with global agendas and scopes are both a result of the ideology of global governance and a vehicle for its articulation, practical manifestation, and eventual maturation, possibly as the standard—and not the alternative—method of addressing socio-legal and socio-political issues worldwide. Despite the relative prevalence of traditionally hierarchical models that foster competition over cooperation and patriarchy over feminism even within global organizations such as the WTO, a slow but steady rise in the presence of organized entities founded on the premise of democratic and decentralized global governance casts uncertainty on the future of nationalism. This study traces the long-term development of the corporate embodiment of global governance. Empirically, the anatomy of this network of organizations between the nineteenth century and present day is assessed on the basis of three factors: the number of organizations committed to global governance throughout the period observed, the size of their workforce, and their annual budgets. An interpretation of the overall condition of global governance thus far also allows for plausible predictions of the state of the world-system during the decades to come.
Farshad Araghi (Florida Atlantic University)
“The End of Cheap Ecology and the Future of “Cheap Capital:” Food Crises, Hunger Regime, and the Global Crisis of Reproduction”
This paper conceptualizes the current crisis of global capitalism as a crisis of reproduction. Placing the current food crisis in its larger ecological context, I show empirically that despite the appearance of abundance (from the perspective of cash- or credit-rich consumers in the global North), a crisis of (under) reproduction had been in formation for three decades. Seen as such, the current crisis is a moment within the crisis of “the long 1970s” when “negative Keynesianism” (or what became known as “neoliberalism”) became the political response of state managers to the contradictions of “positive Keynesianism” (wage-labor contracts and effective demand management). “Negative Keynesianism” was negative in the sense that it broke up the postwar wage/social contracts and violated the “development compromise” in the postcolonial world; it was Keynesian it the sense that it continued with effective demand management via socializing credit as a component of wages and the global debt regime as a component of restructuring the postcolonial nation-state based divisions of labor. I show that while the “negative” Keynesian strategies temporarily resolved the crisis of positive Keynesianism, they in turn lead to an agro-ecological crisis. This characterization of “long Keynesianism” (as a contradictory unity of liberalism and neoliberalism) would allow a better exploration of the depth of the current crisis as well as possible solutions. While there will be downward pressure on prices due to massive deflationary pressures (demand-side deflation), there will also be upward pressures on prices (supply-side inflation) due to the rising production costs of food and energy (or what I have called the “end of cheap ecology”). These counteracting effects will combine to create a low-level, but persistent stagflation. From an ecological perspective, there is no long-term Keynesian solution to the global crisis, once we note that postwar Keynesianism was (1) an externalizing regime fundamentally standing on the shoulder of “cheap oil regime” of 1953-1973 and (2) that mass consumption component of high wage Keynesianism in the North was always standing on the shoulder of “forced underconsumption” in the South. Even if we assume that the high employment/high wages/high consumption policies were to be adopted at a global level, high global consumption is not ecologically possible, and “disposable environments” are no longer obtainable. I pose “ecological citizenship” as the framework in which alternative solutions to the current crisis must be sought.
F. Sonia Arellano-López (Binghamton University) “Development in the Western Amazon: Regional Integration, Economic Growth and Changing Roles of the State”
The western Amazon is experiencing unprecedented political, social and economic change, with important implications for the region itself and the countries that include the region within their borders. The extent of these changes is manifested in the wave of infrastructure projects currently entering into operation, under construction, or in advanced stages of planning.
Focusing on transportation, energy production and extractive industries, these activities reflect continuity with much of western Amazon’s colonial and post-colonial histories; in that they are designed and implemented satisfy demands for energy and natural resources of populations located elsewhere. However, the changes currently taking place are transforming the region’s landscape in less time than has ever happened before, and are driven by major changes in the global economic and political order. These include the growing roles of Brazil and China in the region, as part of their emergence as global economic powers, and the pressure this is putting on the Spanish-speaking states to exercise national sovereignty to a degree they have not previously experienced. Furthermore, current projections of climate and land use change suggest that the western Amazon region is likely to become a critical stronghold for Amazonian biodiversity and tropical forest ecosystems, as much of the rest of the region become drier, and characterized by grass and scrub lands and seasonal forest. In a drier, degraded Amazon, control of the region’s headwaters will assume greater geopolitical importance. Thus, Brazil seeks to ensure its continuing access to energy, natural resources and international markets by strengthening established regional organizations, promoting new ones and financing infrastructure development. Moreover, as Brazil solidifies its international status it is also establishing itself as a hegemonic economic and political power within South America. Using concepts of the subimperialism and global capitalism theories, the paper focuses on the Brazilian state, and its pursuit of an aggressive national economic development agenda in the western Amazon, to ensure its continuing economic expansion and consolidate its position as the dominant hegemon in South America.
Salvatore Babones (University of Sydney) “Measuring the Degree of Structure in the World-
Economy Using Concepts From Entropy Theory”
Viewed from a very broad perspective, the social and geographical structure of rewards in the modern world-economy has been incredibly stable over time. In fact, according to data from the widely-used Maddison statistics, the correlation of logged national income per capita in 1870 with logged national income per capita in 2008 for the 10 major world regions is a remarkable r = 0.93. There has been virtually no change in relative incomes in over a century of otherwise massive change. This contradicts standard neoclassical growth models, which predict long-term convergence in economic output. It also contradicts standard world-system models, which predict long-term stability in the structure of the world-economy accompanied by the mobility of particular countries and regions within that structure. Simply put, we still live in a nineteenth century world.
The structure of the world-economy is very stable, but how stable is it? How stable should it be under different models of economic change? Is the degree of stability of the structure of the world-economy stable, or is the degree of stability in the world-economy changing over time?
This paper outlines a new approach to measuring the degree of structure in the world-economy based on entropy theory. Entropy is the concept that all structures will tend to decay over time unless energy is expended to maintain them. Over time, as all countries grow and decline, historical patterns should be obliterated. The fact that the regions of the world remain coherent (all of Europe is rich; all of Africa is poor) decade after decade implies that strong systemic forces are continuously working to maintain regional and relational structures in the world-economy. The strength of these structuring forces in the world-economy is measured by comparing the actual rate of decay in the structure of the world-economy to the rate of decay that would be expected under a series of counterfactual assumptions about the degree of randomness in countries' growth rates. Brownian motion models in which countries grow (or decline) at independent (or related) rates are used to set parameters around the degree of persistence in the structure of the world-economy that probabilistically could be expected under different model assumptions.
In other words, the entropy approach asks how likely is it that the observed persistence in structure of the world-economy could have occurred merely by chance under a series of models of individual country growth rates. The results of multiple simulations are used to generate expected rates of decay in the structure of the world-economy (with confidence intervals) through Monte Carlo methods. The results of modeling to date provide strong evidence that powerful systemic forces are continually at work maintaining the structure of the world-economy.
Albert J. Bergesen (University of Arizona) “World War II: What Have We Learned About Global Conflict?”
Data on battle deaths for Nazi Germany, Soviet Russia, Imperial Japan, Britain and the United States show that World War II wasn’t a war between the US and Germany as contenders to succeed Britain as the hegemon of the capitalist world-system. Simply put: four out of five German battle deaths were on the eastern front. Germany was fighting Soviet Russia, no one’s candidate to be the next capitalist hegemon. These facts, then, do not support our world-system theory of hegemonic succession wars. Further, the 1941-1945 struggle between Imperial Japan and the US are not part of the standard hegemonic succession story either. A reasoned consideration of these facts leads to proposing a distinctly geopolitical account of WWII and speculation about possible great power wars in the 21st century.
Manuela Boatcă (Free University of Berlin)
“Commodification of Citizenship: Global Inequalities and the Modern Transmission of Property”
Recent legal and sociological scholarship on global inequalities has on the one hand advanced a conceptualization of national citizenship as a form of inherited property (Schachar 2009) and, on the other hand, has provided empirical data for the claim that citizenship remains the main determinant of a person‘s position within the world inequality structure today (Korzeniewicz/Moran 2009). While conventional sociological understandings conceive of modern social arrangements as defined by achieved characteristics, the conclusion that such approaches make apparent is that citizenship as an ascribed characteristic is a central mechanism ensuring the maintenance of high between-country inequality in the modern world-system today. As such, membership in the political community of citizens has made for the relative social and political inclusion of the populations of Western European nation-states under both jus soli and jus sanguinis arrangements, yet at the same time has accounted for the selective exclusion of the colonized and/or non-European populations from the same social and political rights throughout recent history.
The paper accordingly argues that the widening of the worldwide inequality gap is paralleled by an increase in the commodification of citizenship. To this end, it looks at the emergence of official economic citizenship programmes (aka “citizenship by investment”) as well as at the illegal trade in EU passports (“buy a EU citizenship” schemes) in Eastern Europe and the Caribbean as similar strategies of eluding the ascription of citizenship through recourse to the market. Visa-free travel to core countries, citizenship of a Schengen zone state, or even the right to work in the European Union thereby become available for the (moderately or very) wealthy, consequently linking the inequality of income and property with the access to property commodified in the form of citizenship. Citizenship is thus shown to be not only a core mechanism for the maintenance of global inequalites, but also one ensuring their reproduction in the postcolonial present.
Patrick Bond (University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban)
“Territorial alliance formation and dissolution as building blocs for geopolitical theory”
David Harvey identifies (in The New Imperialism) “a cascading and proliferating series of spatio-temporal fixes” to persistent economic crisis. These fixes do not result in crisis resolution, but instead, lead to new contradictions: “increasingly fierce international competition as multiple dynamic centers of capital accumulation emerge to compete on the world stage in the face of strong currents of overaccumulation. Since they cannot all succeed in the long run, either the weakest succumb and fall into serious crises of devaluation, or geopolitical confrontations erupt in the form of trade wars, currency wars and even military confrontations.” The territorially-rooted power blocs generated by internal alliances (and conflicts) within national boundaries, or occasionally across boundaries to regional scale, are the critical units of analysis when it comes to fending off the devalorization of overaccumulated capital. By uncovering these units – which, aside from ‘circuits of capital’, are not sufficiently studied within IR and IPE – it is feasible to root a durable geopolitical theory appropriate for understanding uneven and combined development. The paper considers the past half-century of territorial bloc formation and dissolution within world politics, amidst repeated bouts of overaccumulation crisis.
Eric Bonds (University of Mary Washington) “Global Humanitarian Norms and Hegemonic Power: Terrorizing Violence in the Long Iraq War”
In an important essay, Tilly argues that terrorism is a concept without analytic utility. To Tilly, it is a military and political tactic widely used both by states and non-state groups, but its meaning is fraught with so much political weight that it cannot be responsibly used by social scientists. This paper, on the other hand, argues that political violence used to send messages of threat and intimidation to civilian populations does indeed deserve special study, but suggests the term “terrorizing violence” in order to emphasize the importance of studying state practitioners of such violence as much as that committed by small non-state groups.
Specifically, this paper situates the United States as a hegemonic power, which seeks to use military coercion, including the use of terrorizing violence, as a means of shaping and controlling the global political economy. Of course, U.S. policy-makers understand the limitations of military force alone in efforts to promote and sustain hegemony, and so must bolster their cultural power in hopes of gaining the consent of a critical mass of nations. This may mean, however, championing the ideals of “human rights” and the “laws of war” that exist within the larger contemporary global political culture. These are contradictory desires that pose a real challenge to U.S. policy makers.
This paper proposes that policy-makers sought to solve this problem in the long Iraq War (1991-2011) by implementing two novel forms of violence, first the sanctions regime put in place from 1990-2003 and the 2003 “Shock and Awe” invasion of Iraq. The paper characterizes both tactics as instances of terrorizing violence because they were directed against civilians, upon whom they took a heavy toll and to whom they intended to send messages of intimidation, just as much as they were utilitarian policies of military containment or conquest. At the same time, of course, such policies could never be acknowledged as such by U.S. policy makers. This paper then attempts to understand the legitimation of policies of egregious violence. But going beyond more conventional studies of legitimation that focus primarily on discourse, this paper attempts to underscore how the need for legitimation shapes the very construction of certain acts of violence themselves in the contemporary world.
In summary, then, this paper attempts to explain the emergence, execution, and outcomes of two methods of warfare during the long Iraq War in terms global political culture and the political, military, and economic structure of the world-system. The paper speaks to ongoing debates in sociology and international studies about what power global norms have to constrain state violence, whereby some social constructionists argue that global developments since the Enlightenment have put the world on a trajectory toward a future of diminishing warfare, and while many political economists predict a future with greater violence due to the decline of U.S. hegemony, increasing resource scarcity, and the impacts of global warming. The paper uses a historical case study method based on an analysis of primary and secondary sources.
Astra Bonini (Columbia University) “The Rise of China: Implications for Raw Material Producing
Countries in Comparative Historical Perspective”
This paper examines changes to the structure of leading sectors in the world political economy from a comparative historical perspective. With a focus on China’s rise and subsequent changes in the positions of natural resource producing countries in the world economy, this paper questions long standing assumptions that natural resources are subordinate sectors to manufacturing. By comparing key characteristics of China’s economy with nineteenth century Britain and twentieth century US, this paper finds that China’s emergence as a leading economy in the world would likely improve development outcomes for many raw material producing countries while limiting opportunities for countries specializing in many types of manufactured goods. First, China’s economic specialization in manufacturing requires liberal trade policies toward raw material imports like oil and iron ore much like those of Britain toward cotton and grain producers during the nineteenth century. Second, the small scale and decentralized nature of the manufacturing sector in China reduces China’s bargaining power against raw material suppliers. This contrasts with the vertically integrated, multi-national structure of most US corporations which have competed with raw material producers for extraction revenues. Third, in terms of market size and trade orientation, the interest of the government is in expanding the markets of other developing countries to absorb China’s excess exports and in securing supplies of raw materials. To this end, the Chinese state offers loans on very attractive terms, and supports infrastructure related projects in raw material producing countries in exchange for access to natural resources. This is a similar pattern to the capital investments Britain made in railroads and other infrastructure during the nineteenth century and differs from patterns of US investment during the twentieth century. On the whole, there are signs that China may offer opportunities for development in raw material producing countries that were not in place during the twentieth century under US economic leadership and are similar to the conditions encountered by raw material producers like Australia and the United States during the nineteenth century.
Thomas J. Burns (University of Oklahoma)
“A Theory of Ecological Mismatch in a World-Systems Perspective”
A number of mismatches between human social organizations and the natural environment in modern world-systems tend to shape causes and outcomes of ecological problems. Societies have experienced environmental degradation throughout history—yet with unprecedented ability to make incursions into the earth, an increasingly interconnected global economy and extreme inequalities of wealth and poverty, scales of production, consumption and degradation now are more ubiquitous in the modern world-system than in previous times. Social and economic processes have become intertwined with environmental problems that manifest on levels from the local to the global. I explore these issues around the following major themes: 1) Causes as well as degrees of environmental degradation vary by position in the global economy; 2) Particularly in large-scale systems, there is a mismatch between the logic of economies of scale and ecologies of scale; 3) Many environmental problems have a recursive element, occurring on a number of levels (e.g. individual, community, civil society, national, global); this often leads to instances of recursive exploitation; 4) There is often a mismatch between the causes of environmental problems, and the institutions that could optimally address them. The paper synthesizes these problems in a world-systems framework and concludes with a discussion of praxeological implications.
Marco Bulhões Cecilio (Federal Univeristy of Rio de Janeiro)
“A Braudelian perspective on the contemporary financial sector as a wealth accumulation center: findings from the 2007/2008 financial crisis”
The 2007/2008 crisis has prompted a number of studies and investigations, which revealed the inner workings of the financial sector and exposed rarely seen details of its operations. This literature has primarily focused on the origin of the crisis, but this paper uses such evidence in a broader perspective: to compare contemporary wealth accumulation patterns and strategies with the ones crafted at the formation of our world-system. In order to conduct this analysis, Fernand Braudel’s work is revisited and five historical recurrences from 12th to 18th centuries are identified. Through this lense, the recently revealed financial operations as well as the conditions that allowed them to take place are analyzed. Although significant changes are encountered over time, such as the increasing importance of ideology as the power foundation of these lucrative operations, results point to the continued validity of these historical recurrences. Operations that deliberately restrict market forces - Braudel’s counter-market - remain at the center of the wealth accumulation process and as critical elements in the power struggle between nations. Moreover, such operations persist as a privilege of a few, well-connected groups that enjoy unparalleled economic freedom.
Jenny Chesters (University of Canberra)
“The Effect of Neoliberalism on the Distribution of Wealth in the World Economy”
For much of the past few centuries, global wealth has been concentrated in the core nations within the world economy. Core nations imported raw materials from peripheral and semi-peripheral nations and exported manufactured goods to these nations exploiting the global market to ensure the prices of commodities remained low and the prices of manufactured goods remained high. When the advanced economies in the core embraced neoliberalism during the 1980s and 1990s, national governments lost control over their currencies and the flow of capital into and out of their national economies. Manufacturing in core nations relocated to semi-peripheral nations with cheaper labour and lower environmental standards. Semi-peripheral nations were well placed to take advantage of the new opportunities opened up by neoliberal policies becoming exporters rather than importers of manufactured goods. Consequently, in core nations, unemployment increased, wages stagnated and debt levels increased as individuals accessed easily available and cheap credit to support their high standard of living leading to a net loss in their wealth. Although between-nation inequality decreased, within-nation inequality increased as neoliberal policies resulted in a declining middle class in core nations and a developing middle class in semi-peripheral nations. Due to the reluctance of national governments to collect wealth data, tracking trends in both the national and the global distribution of wealth is difficult, however using data collated from Forbes Magazine lists of billionaires published between 1987 and 2011, it is possible to examine trends in the distribution of global wealth. Preliminary results show that the proportion of global billionaires residing in three core nations: the United States, Germany and Japan declined over time whereas the proportion of global billionaires residing in three semi-peripheral nations: India, Russia and China increased over time. In 1987, there were no billionaires residing in Russia or China and just one billionaire residing in India. In 2011, 22 per cent of the global billionaires resided in these three nations. On the other hand, 66 per cent of the global billionaires resided in United States, Germany and Japan in 1987. In 2011, just 40 per cent of global billionaires resided in these three core nations. Furthermore, in 1987, the three semi-peripheral nations accounted for just one per cent of global billionaire wealth whereas the core nations accounted for 70 per cent of global billionaire wealth. In 2011, billionaires residing in India, Russia and China held 19 per cent of global billionaire wealth and billionaires residing in the United States, Germany and Japan held 40 per cent of global billionaire wealth. These results suggest that the distribution of wealth on a global level has changed over the past 25 years moving from the core to the semi-periphery. There is also evidence of a trend over time for the billionaires from semi-peripheral nations to relocate to core nations suggesting that over time the core may regain its share of billionaires and billionaire wealth by accepting billionaire immigrants.
Wai Kit Choi (California State University- Los Angeles), Andrew Duncan and David A. Smith (University of California-Irvine)
“Shanghai and Hong Kong: Competitors for World City Prominence in China?
As China’s economy continues to grow, and Shanghai’s role as the world’s gateway city to this increasingly dynamic economy becomes more prominent, there is an active debate about whether it should be considered a top-level “global city.” A global city is the command center of the network of international/regional business exchanges (Sassen, 2000 and 2001). Some believe that Shanghai may soon supplant Hong Kong as the leading world city of China. Moving up the world city hierarchy is frequently seen as economically and geo-politically important because these (competing?) cities function as premier nodes for global network links to the giant, rapidly growing, economic dynamo of China, a growing magnet for wealth and power in the contemporary world-system.
This essay focuses on the alternative roles played by Shanghai and Hong Kong within a Greater Chinese division of labor and its brand of state-led capitalism. In particular, we look at how these cities changed in the decade following China’s accession to the WTO – the same decade that saw the birth and expansion of internationally competitive Chinese firms, and the global economic crisis. Firms, both foreign multinationals and domestic ones that strive for international competiveness, are locating their headquarters in the two cities. Finally, we will look at differing functions in finance, where Hong Kong, in particular, is currently one of China’s offshore renminbi financial centers. Trades between mainland Chinese companies and those from other countries can be settled in renminbi through banks in Hong Kong. The city is now a testing ground for the internationalization of the currency---a part of the Chinese government’s strategy to promote greater use of renminbi in global trade. Ultimately, Shanghai and Hong Kong may not compete with each other so much as they fill different, possibly complementary roles.
To some extent, this line of thinking may seem to be contrary to some global city approaches, which envision an emerging global economy that de-emphasizes the role of nation states in favor of these cities. However, by focusing on the continued role of the Chinese state in constructing not one, but two global cities, we are emphasizing the place-ness of cities (Sassen 2001). This part of the world city literature, though perhaps less common, recognizes the important contribution of local and state politics and culture upon the formation and success or failure of major urban areas (Marcuse & Van Kempen 2000; Jacobs 2006). This is particularly true in the case of Asian global cities which emerged and flourished within the developmental state model of economic governance (Hill & Kim 2000, Sassen 2001, Wong 2003).
Rak koo Chung (SUNY-Albany)
“Global and Local: Elites and the Dynamics of Nominal Democratization”
Many democracy scholars note the paradox of contemporary democracy, in that the last decades
of the past millennium witnessed two seemingly incompatible trends, an increase in the quantity
and a decrease in the quality of global democracy. Previous theories of democratization cannot
explain, and did not predict, the massive emergence of low-quality democracies. To fill this gap,
I define nominal democratization as a transition of a nondemocratic regime to a low-quality
democracy, and propose alternative theories of democratization, which serve as tentative models
for the comparative historical analysis of carefully selected cases: South Korea and Nigeria. For
Korea, I focus on the years before and after 1987. For Nigeria, the years around 1999 are of
interest. Employing the elite conflict framework, I plan to investigate why and how the ruling
elites of nondemocratic developing countries decide to nominally democratize in response to the
pressures from various domestic and international actors, as well as under the particular
structural and institutional settings. In particular, I pay great attention to the economic factors
and the roles of economic elites in order to explain how low-quality democracy spread from both
developed democracies and nearby nascent low-quality democracies.
This paper can contribute to the field of democracy studies in two ways. First, it attempts
to overcome the problems about the existing theories of democratization. While existing theories
mainly focus on either endogenous (i.e., domestic) or exogenous (i.e., international) factors, I
incorporate both endogenous and exogenous factors into my models. Also, while existing
theories tend to focus on the issues of consolidating democracy and neglect the emergence of
low-quality democracies, I investigate multiple ways of nominal democratization. Second, the
findings of this paper can give insights into the roles of the global society (in particular, the roles
of international organizations and the world powers such as the U.S.) in promoting democracy in
the Third World. Valuable lessons about how to further develop fledgling democracies can be
learned from the study of nominal democratizations, which abounded at the end of the twentieth
century and are in sharp contrast to the Arab Spring in recent years. Changes in the foreign
policy are to be suggested to the international organizations (such as the IMF and the World
Bank) and to world powers (notably, the U.S.), so that the global society can better cooperate
with developing countries to further grow their democracy.
Paul S. Ciccantell (Western Michigan University)
“Oil and Gas, ‘North American Energy Independence’, and the Future of Hegemonic Rivalry”
“North American energy independence” received a great deal of attention during the recent U.S. election, but this political slogan reflects an important change underway in the U.S. and global oil and gas industries. The rapid growth of oil production from the Canadian oil sands and of unconventional oil and gas production in the U.S. and Canada from shale formations has reduced U.S. reliance on energy imports from the Middle East and other volatile regions and dramatically increased North American energy reserves. Rapid increases in prices for energy and other raw materials in the past decade driven by Chinese economic growth and growing competition for energy supplies between the U.S., China, India, Japan and Europe appear to be slowing or even reversing course in this new context.
This paper will examine these changes in the oil and gas industry and their potential impacts on geopolitical rivalries and the evolution of the capitalist world-economy from the new historical materialist perspective. The first section analyzes the geopolitical conflict over access to oil that has shaped in critical ways the evolution of the capitalist world-economy over the past century, highlighting the concerns with “peak oil”, climate change, and hegemonic rivalry over the past two decades. The paper then presents a new historical materialist analysis of the rapidly growing Canadian oil sands and unconventional oil and gas industries in North America, emphasizing the economic, geopolitical, and environmental consequences of what may be a revitalized carbon-based economy in North America. The paper then examines the emerging potential of using these energy sources to reshape global industries and geopolitical rivalries and hegemony in the capitalist world-economy.
Donald A. Clelland (University of Tennessee)
“The Core of the Apple: Surplus Drain and Dark Value in a Global Commodity Chain”
The economic importance of unequal exchange or surplus drain from (semi)periphery to core is often taken as the central proposition of world-systems analysis. Even in the current period of core economic stagnation, the scope of this drain is increasing. The dark value contained in traded commodities is often ignored. Dark value is the embodied value of all factors of production that are unpaid or under-costed (in comparison with mean costs in the buyer’s area). Most of this value is not transformed into market prices. Much dark value is not captured by capitalists as surplus value or profit but is, instead, passed on to buyers as a form of consumer surplus. This core-centered redistribution of the world surplus is made possible by (and sustains) a strong “degree of monopoly,” particularly in the design and retail nodes of commodity chains.
Using data available through “teardown reports,” this paper will explore contemporary transformation of dark value through quantitative estimates of dark value that is expropriated by and accumulates in the commodity chains of Apple corporation products. Apple iProducts are designed in the US and are mostly marketed in the core. However, they are assembled in China with manufactured components from around the world, largely from South Korea and Taiwan. Dark value is extracted not only from cheap labor, but from the unpaid reproduction costs of that labor, from the professional-managerial contribution, from minimal profits captured by subordinate capitalists, from cheap resources, and from environmental externalities. An absent dollar here and absent (million) dollars there; after a while it all adds up to real, if hidden, value.
My argument is that Apple’s inventiveness would amount to little profit without the degree of monopoly granted by patent law and subsequent “governance” of its supply chain. More importantly, as an exemplar of historical capitalism within the modern world-system, Apple delivers the goods to its core consumers.
Differences from mainstream analysis, as well as implications for world-systems analysis and political practice will also be discussed.
Samuel Cohn (Texas A and M University) “Rethinking Unequal Terms of Trade: the
Crystallization of the World into Core and Periphery 1870-1950”
The first generation of world systems theory was heavily dependent on Samir Amin’s unequal terms of exchange to explain how the dynamics of international exchange divide the world into core and periphery. Newer work has refined this either by further elaborating how core nations compete to obtain hegemony or by respecifying variable relationships between colonialism and peripheral status. However, Amin is still central to world systemic discussions of why commodity production is economically inferior to manufacturing and services.
This pillar has now become unsustainable with Jeffrey Williamson’s work on trade relations 1870-1950 – which show industrialization in the periphery being linked to adverse terms of trade rather than favorable terms of trade.
These findings parallel an intuitive observation. High value commodities such as petroleum or diamonds undercut Amin’s arguments by providing significant monopoly rents and favorable terms of trade to commodity producers. Attempts to explain away the effects of petroleum by invoking a “resource curse” or an “enclave economy” have largely been ineffective. Between 1870 and 1950, every nation in the Western Hemisphere that significantly improved its economic performance relative to other nations was a petroleum producer – including both core nations such as United States, Canada, and semi-peripheral nations such as Mexico and Venezuela. Australia and New Zealand become core nations almost entirely on the basis of trade in wool, a simple commodity.
This paper respecifies the relationship between commodity production, terms of trade and status within the world system by considering the determinants of economic growth in the nations of the world between 1870 and 1950.
It is argued that what varied between nations in this period is the size of their “multiplier” effect – the interrelationship between lucrative base sectors such as monopoly manufactures or valuable commodities – and the reinvestment of the profits from same back into the local economy. This is commonly known as articulation.
We follow standard world systems thinking in arguing that articulation is affected both by latifundism and by the presence of international debt crises. We also make orthodox Hirschman style arguments about upstream and downstream linkages. However, we also add new arguments about a) the role of the administrative arrangements concerning the production of high value commodities and b) the autonomous role of local states in channeling base sector resources into local consumption and local investment. Western hemisphere oil economies had administrative arrangements that were vastly superior to those of the Middle East which are falsely thought to characterize resource economies as a whole. We also discuss state investment in education – a local autonomous response that varied enormously both within the core and within the periphery during this period.
Gary Coyne (University of California-Riverside)
“The Political Economy of Language Education Policies”
Comparative, macro-level studies of education and economic development are often undertaken with the assumption that schooling generates human capital useful for development. However, some elements of the structure of contemporary school systems may be better understood in world-systems terms and this research focuses on the way foreign languages have been incorporated into school curricula in the developing world.
Schools in virtually all peripheral countries require the study of a language of a core country while schools in core countries include languages of the periphery infrequently, if at all. Moreover, the development of language education materials and the elaboration of academic disciplines which supports that activity is generally carried out by highly paid knowledge workers in the core. These materials are then distributed in the periphery by philanthropic foundations, INGOs or other groups based in the core. This pattern of activity may represent a direct transfer of surplus value from periphery to core.
Less direct, but still unequal, exchanges may arise from the structures of international communication. There is core dominance in ownership of global communication infrastructures and the languages of the core are almost always the official languages of IGOs, INGOs and other transnational actors. This means the burden of learning the languages most useful for international communication is incumbent on peripheral actors. Thus cultural elements from the core are needed for development by the periphery yet equivalent cultural elements from the periphery are much less important in the core (and perhaps hold only novelty value). If it is not language education policies per se which are exploitive, patterns of global language use may structurally favor core interests.
Extensive study of core languages in the periphery may open up the later to economic exploitation either directly through educational aid or indirectly through cultural practices and communication networks. This hypotheses is tested by suggesting that school time spent on the study of core languages in schools in the periphery should have a negative effect on subsequent economic growth. Statistical analysis in a large sample of non-core countries with observations from 1980 to 2005 show little connection between national level foreign language policies and GDP growth; there are no significant effects of how much or what languages are taught on peripheral mobility (when controlling for robust predictors of economic growth). While this does not support the more direct linkage of foreign language education patterns and the structure of the world-system developed here, it may imply that such patterns of unequal exchange are subtler. At the same time it clearly throws doubt onto conceptions of development that link schooling directly to human capital and on to economic growth.
Daniela Danna (University of Milan)
“Population in the core, the semiperiphery, and the periphery in the current B phase”
World-system analysis lacks an organic incorporation of demography into its theory: even the most serious attempt of connecting demography and WSA in the periphery (Ward 1984) produced an inaccurate forecast: a continuously positive trend in the birth rate for countries with dependent development. In fact at the time of Ward's writing the birth rate was peaking. Population pressure was listed by Chase Dunn and Podobnik (1999) as a factor positively influencing the probability of future core wars. They attributed the slowing down of population growth to the economic stagnation of the current B phase, and judged that the birth rate will rise again as soon as another A phase will establish itself. Wallerstein (1974, 1979, 1980, 1988) also connected the lowering of population pressure with the B phases of the capitalist world-economy, in contrast with the B phase preceding 1450, in which population in Europe declined. Economic expansion in WSA is generally correlated with population growth.
In this paper I will report my exploratory study of population trends and their causes in the different areas and social classes of the world-system in the current B phase. To cover the theoretical gap, I am merging WSA with valid theories on demographic change (Danna, manuscript). In particular, the paper will explore theories that underline the demographic effects of the incorporation of women into the paid labor force and the importance for households of investing in the education of children as production forces incorporate more and more complex technology (e. g. Caldwell 1982, Handwerker 1986). There is already common ground with the subsistence perspective in seeing procreation as a part of the work performed outside the money circuit that helps the production of value in the capitalist circuit: “The more human beings, the more surplus value is in principle possible” (von Werlhof 1984: 143).
As this study is exploratory, I will single out only certain countries relevant for their position in the world-system: India, Italy, Kenya and the U.S. I will focus on these countries not for comparative purposes, but to start gathering empirical data and interpreting them on a small scale before compiling the data sources for the whole of the areas. Italy is sometimes designed as a core and sometimes as a semiperiphery country (see Grimes 2000 for a review of methods). Nevertheless it is an example of a declining trend in the interstate system. On the contrary, India is an ascending state in the semiperiphery. Kenya is a decidedly periphery country holding a regular census, and the U.S. is, of course, the hegemonic power of the core.
Fertility trends in these countries vary greatly with the number of children per woman in Italy being among the lowest and in Kenya among the highest. Italy also shows a very different regional birth rate, having an “inner periphery” in its south.
My aim is to explore whether the demographic diversity among the four countries in the current B phase can be related to the theoretical framework of WSA.
Ray Dezzani,(University of Idaho) and Colin Flint ( University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign) “One Logic, Many Wars: The Variety and Geography of Wars in the Capitalist World- Economy, 1816-2007”
world-systems approach is adopted to conceptualize the time-space dynamics of
the capitalist world-economy from 1816-2007. Using the paired-Kondratieff model
of hegemony the pattern of war is expected to follow a cyclical pattern with a
particular geographic expression for different phases of the cycles. The one logic
approach, that see s political processes of conflict and cooperation as
inseparable from the imperatives of capital accumulation is adopted. The one logic reasoning suggests that war must be differentiated
into different types to reflect the different processes of the capitalist
world-economy, and that different types of war will occur as different
processes of accumulation and competition become dominant in different phases
of hegemonic cycles. The following types of war are identified: Frontier, Imperialist,
Colonial, Neo-colonial, Collaborationist, Resistance, State resistance, and
Territorial. Furthermore, the geography of war is a function of two spatialities that interact because of the core-periphery
structure of the capitalist world-economy and the related geography of
inter-state territoriality. Hence, the connectivity between core and periphery
zones of the world-economy is best represented as a network relationship while
the politics of competition between states is best represented through a
spatial relationship of probability/likelihood contiguity functions.
A stochastic “field” interaction approach on a hierarchical network is presented as a possible analytical solution. This analytical approach utilizes spatial interaction likelihood kernels to approximate local network covariance structures. The covariance matrix can then be coupled with a Markov field spatial probability model to evaluate conflict asymmetries and spatial anisotropies. System entropies can then be used to assess local and general changes in conflict configuration.
Duncan, Andrew (see Wai Kit Choi (California State University- Los Angeles), Andrew Duncan and David A. Smith (University of California-Irvine))
Tamer El Gindi (University of California, Irvine) “Income Inequality and Economic Globalization: A Longitudinal Study of Muslim-Majority Countries (1963-2002)”
Evidence from recent revolutions in the Middle East and their consequences indicates that income inequality—along with other factors—could well affect the stability of nations. Arab countries in specific, and the broader Muslim countries in general, have been under dictatorial regimes for decades, preceded by foreign colonization that greatly helped to shape these countries’ futures. Western powers were (and still are) consistently keen to stretch their influence to extract these countries’ vast natural resources—either directly or indirectly—in a certain way that resembles a standard core-periphery relationship as explained by world-systems scholars. What are the trends in income inequality in these countries? And how has economic globalization, manifested in trade openness and increased foreign direct investment, affected income inequality? This research utilizes a world-systems approach to unravel some of the underlying complexities of this phenomenon by exploring potential causes for increasing income inequality in 15 Muslim-majority countries during 1963–2002. I estimated different models using fixed effects regression models on an internal development model and world-systems indicators. Results showed that both trade openness and foreign direct investment have robust positive effects on income inequality while other economic/social/political variables did not show the same robust effects. These findings add to previous literature on globalization’s effects on income inequality and warrants policy makers to fully integrate income inequality as a major factor in their development plans.
James Fenelon (California State University at San Bernardino)
“Indigenous Alternatives to the Global Crises of the Modern World System”
The modern world system has “developed” a set of global crises that are based on the same set of principles and practices that supported the European expansion over the Americas and creation of capitalism and industrialism. These crises include devolution of the environment, competitive states during the decline of a hegemon, decreasing new lands for resource extraction, increasing inequality both locally and globally, and lessening involvement of community for socio-political representation. These same crises are partly the product of five hundred years of concentrated destruction of existing indigenous societies with healthy practices for each of these social systems. This paper reviews those historical processes, identifies existing indigenous peoples and their movements, and proffers a set of alternative “developments” with models based on indigenous social systems that do not threaten states (nor the neoliberalism that emerged last century) but do allow local, community-based and sustainable societies to flourish within the existing global orders. Indigenous peoples in Central and South America, and their movements, are especially important in this analysis, with strong resonance in south Asia, the Pacific region, North America, Africa and Australia.
Flint, Colin (see Dezzani and Flint)
Ben Derudder (Ghent University) (see Taylor, DeRudder, Hoiler and Ni)
Antonio Gelis-Filho (Fundação Getúlio Vargas-EAESP ) São Paulo)
“The “vinte gloriosos”: Brazil in the World-System, 1989-2012”
Much has been written about Brazil’s growing geopolitical clout and fast-developing economy. Moreover, Brazil has been placed among the progressive regimes of the Global South, mainly because of the Worker’s Party raise to power in 2003 and a small improvement on the country’s still very high social inequality. From the cover of The Economist to the pages of The Guardian, Brazil has received so much praise for its success during the last couple of decades that one could be tempted to call that period the “vinte gloriosos”, literally “the glorious twenty”, evoking the French expression “les trente glorieuses” that is often used to define the post-war period of economic expansion.
In this paper, however, I present a less optimistic view of Brazil’s situation in the world system, based on social and economic data. I sustain that the merits of the Brazilian society explain Brazil’s “success” only partially: the country has benefited greatly from developments in the world-system that gave it a distorted perception of geopolitical strengthening.
I start my analysis on the year of 1989. That year is relevant not only for the fall of Berlin Wall but also locally, for the first general and direct presidential elections since 1960. I divide those years in three phases:
A. 1989-1999: The Aspiring Semi-periphery
During those years Brazil’s elite, freighted by the growth of the left after the “lost decade” of the 80s, decided to open Brazil’s economy and adapt it to the new realities of the post-cold war. Inflation was defeated and the legal structure for the arrival of late capitalism was created.
B. 1999-2009: Dreaming of Being in the Core
The next decade would watch Brazil’s golden years: an economic, political and social example to the world. Lula reached the status of political superstar, someone almost any Chief of State would like to be photographed with, capable of being praised both by capital and work. More importantly, foreign capital – including private equity funds and such – discovered Brazil as an alternative to a China that was growingly perceived as being hostile to foreign-controlled investment and a Russia that, under Putin, has reasserted itself as a geopolitical player. In that sense, Brazil’s geopolitical silence has made it be perceived by foreign capital as the “well-behaved BRIC”. But de-industrialization, a slow but steady growth on private debt, high consumption expectations by the population and a growing dependence on foreign capitals and cheap industrial imports from China would be the ultimate consequences of that decade.
C. 2009 - : Semi-periphery’s semi-periphery?
The crisis in 2008 ended the period of global “easy money”; more importantly to Brazil, it would slowly depress the price of commodities. Moreover, China would overcome USA as Brazil’s largest trading partner, exporting manufactured products and importing bulk materials. The “BRIC illusion” of being in equal terms with China started to dissolve. Brazil becomes a “double semi-periphery”, both to the reigning core of the system as to the aspiring one. The era of illusions seems to come to an end.
Jennifer Givens and Andrew Jorgenson (University of Utah)
“Global Integration and Carbon Emissions, 1965-2005”
Sociological research on carbon emissions has flourished in recent years. Within this body of work, some researchers have advanced a political-economic theory of ecologically unequal exchange with a focus on how particular types of world economic integration contribute to the carbon emissions of nations. Other researchers in the world polity tradition have focused on how an emerging world environmental regime via global social and political forms of integration might reduce the carbon emissions of nations. In this study we engage both perspectives and evaluate their theoretically-derived propositions in cross-national panel analyses of per capita carbon emissions for a large sample of nations spanning the 1965 to 2005 period. The findings provide support for both orientations, and highlight the need for more inclusive research on the human dimensions of global environmental change.
Daniel Gugan (University of Budapest) “The EU’s regional world-system: Evaluating the
European Neighborhood Policy in the light of regional core-periphery patterns”
Examination of the European Neighbourhood Policy1 (ENP) through world-systems theory
“glasses” is not common in the contemporary literature. One of the very few authors who picked
up the subject is Andreas Marchetti, who writes: “the ENP can be understood as a manifestation
of the EU’s will to create a ring of states in its vicinity to serve its purposes of protecting itself
and of exercising influence. To put it differently, the EU in its function as regional centre intends
to create – or maintain – a functioning periphery (via its neighbors) in order to create a bufferzone”
2. In this paper we will follow this theoretical approach with a slightly different
geographical application. With a quantitative analysis of economic interactions (trade, aid, FDI),
we will prove the high explanatory power of world-systems theory in the case of the EU and its
close periphery signified by Brussels as “Neighbourhood”.
Immanuel Wallerstein’s world-systems theory explains asymmetrical interdependencies by
signifying different geographical areas as core, semi-periphery and periphery. While economies
in the centrum (core) represent high value-added economic activities with highly productive
labor and good infrastructure, economies in the periphery represent low value-added sectors and
low productivity with weak infrastructure. Semi-periphery countries possess a place somewhere
in between these two. As in our case it’s quite obvious that the EU forms a core and its
neighborhood forms a periphery, the relations between the two can be precisely described by
using a world-systems theory framework. By the means of geographical coverage, these
Wallersteinian “zones” of Europe can be approximately visualized with the included map:
Within the EU we can identify three different “zones”: the central “Blue Banana”, which is the
de-facto industrial core of Europe, the “wider European core”, which includes the most
developed regions of Europe and the EU’s “inner semi-periphery”, which forms a ring of less
developed European regions around the core. The most external (and least developed) areas fall
into the “periphery” and this area covers almost entirely the EU’s Neighborhood. The eastern
periphery overlaps with the Russian semi-periphery, what can be regarded as one source of EURussiarivalization in this area, and recent developments in the Eastern Neighborhood are
confirming the “dual dependency” of this region. Finally, “margin” areas are those where the
presence of core-EU economic involvement decreases to a marginal level.
This paper will carry out a detailed examination of economic interactions between the EU and its “Neighbours” to show dependency patterns between the European periphery and the EU core. The methodology will involve quantitative examinations of economic interactions and compare different production profiles between the selected regions to show that the ENP is indeed an instrument designed to address these manifestations of economic dependence.
Thomas D. Hall (DePauw University) “Boundaries, Borders, and Frontiers in the Contemporary
World-System as Seen from Non-State Angles”
borders, and frontiers are zones where contact, contention, conflict,
acculturation, assimilation, and accommodation often occur simultaneously. Such
frontier regions are shaped by exterior pressures and processes, many of which
are rooted in world-systemic processes and forces. Simultaneously, local
reactions to such pressure rebound to the external system sometimes forcing
some adjustment from external actors and social pressures. Globalization
processes and forces also have intense interplay with local processes. These
processes are most complex, and I argue interesting, in interactions between
external forces and actors, and local non-state forces and actors. In
particular these state and/or system interactions with non-state peoples have
been generating some of the most interesting social movements of resistance.
Indigenous peoples have always straddled modern conceptions of borders. On the
one hand, many have been forced onto circumscribed territories – most
indigenous groups in the
Bruno Hendler (University of Brazilia) “The United States and China in the 21st century: the costs of the War on Terror and the changes in asymmetric interdependence”
The article’s main objective is to promote the academic debate on Sino-American relations in the last decade and to identify possible connections between the costs of the War on Terror for United States and relative gains for China. Based on Giovanni Arrighi’s framework of hegemonic transitions in the modern world-system, the article intends to analyze the relation between declining hegemonies and associated rising powers from the perspective of Joseph Nye’s concepts of sensibility (quantitative base) and vulnerability (qualitative base).
The first section of the article consists in a historical research, in which changes in asymmetrical interdependence between declining hegemonies and associate rising powers are analyzed. The study focuses on the hegemonic transition from the Dutch to the British and from the latter to the American. Both cases have in common:
1. A context of gradual reduction of asymmetries between the declining hegemony (A) and the associate rising power (B). Such reduction occurs in favor of (B), which undergoes simultaneously a process of material expansion related to the financial expansion centered on (A), making (B) less vulnerable to the (real and potential) costs imposed by the declining hegemony;
2. A revisionist and expansionist power (C) acts as a catalyst for the (A-B) alliance, triggering a period of systemic chaos marked by military confrontation;
3. In the cases of the War of the Spanish Succession and World War I, those military conflicts meant the fighting for the security and the vital interests of the United Provinces and England respectively, which came out as winners. However, the economic and military costs of these victories accelerated the conjunctural process of increasing vulnerability and dependence in relation to the associate rising power, which eventually became the new hegemony.
Based on the premises of American financial expansion and Chinese material expansion associated with American capitals, technology and markets, the preliminary hypothesis points to the increasing quantitative interdependence (sensibility) with qualitative changes (in vulnerability) in favor of China since the rapprochement between the two countries in the late 1970s.
In this context, the article aims to: a) introduce data presenting the costs of the War on Terror for the US within the financial expansion and hegemonic crisis conjuncture; b) identify through statistical data and secondary sources how these costs resulted in relative gains for China as an emergent power gradually less vulnerable to the US.
It is intended to demonstrate from the collected data that since the bilateral rapprochement in the late 1970s the China-US relations gained complexity and became progressively less asymmetric. The reduction of asymmetries was accelerated in the last decade by the costs of the War on Terror to US – costs which can be compared to the increasing vulnerability of the past hegemonies to their respective associate rising power, due to damages caused by the War of Spanish Succession to the Dutch hegemony and by World War I to the British hegemony.
Hiroko Inoue (University of California-Riverside) “Evolution of Global Stratification—dynamic
interaction of trade network and land use patterns”
This study investigates the dynamic interaction between the evolution of global stratification and the way land have been utilized in the evolution of world-systems. In particular, how the expansion of global trade network has changed the land use/ownership patterns in the formation of global stratification will be examined.
The comparative and evolutionary world-systems approach analyzes the contemporary world-system as a stratified structure—the global hierarchy is organized as a set of economic, political and military power differentials among national states. The modern core/periphery hierarchy was originally constituted as a set of colonial empires in which some of the European core states had formal legal power over regions in the Americas, Africa and Asia. The colonial empires were abolished in waves of decolonization, but the core/periphery hierarchy became restructured as an unequal division of labor and a set of international economic institutions that perpetuate neocolonial relations. The core/periphery hierarchy has evolved and there has been some upward and downward mobility within it, but the magnitude of global inequalities has been persistent.
The process of the expansion of land use has been intertwined with such political and economic dynamics. The regional trade networks have formed and reproduced economically and ecologically specialized ethnic groups and national states over the past two millennia. Different land groups have specialized in specific kinds of production and forms of exchange. Trade has reinforced some boundaries while institutionalizing unequal exchange and concretizing interethnic as well as international alliances. Land use and ownership in this evolution of expanding network thus reflect the power differentials of stratified world-systems. The entitlement or various forms of ownership of land have emerged as a form of private property in the formation of settlement over the history.
Based on the theoretical integrations, this study examines the hypothesized association between trade network, the land use/ownership, and the dynamic structuring of global stratification since 1700. This study first assesses the relationship between globalization and the forms of the use/ownership of land having a unit of analysis as the world-systems. Globalization is measured as the average trade openness of all national societies. The use and ownership of land is measured as the averaged patterns in the use of land (croplands/grasslands, agricultural use, urban settlement, etc.) and persistence and change of entitlement of the land of all the national societies.
This study also tests the association between the level of within and between-society inequality and the types of the use/ownership of land. It forms a cross-national comparative design having a unit of analysis as national society (or sub-national region). The level of inequality is measured by national population size, income level, and GDP per capita. The use/ownership of land is measured each national society.
By engaging in these multi-level
analyses, this study examines the interaction of different levels and analyzes
the changing pattern of land use as a function of trade network and global
stratification. The study expects to
find a positive association between the nature of trade networks, human land
use patterns, and the global hierarchy.
Lindsay Jacobs and Ronan Van Rossem (Ghent University)
“Political power and the world-system: can political globalization counter core hegemony?”
The ongoing globalization of political relations has raised questions concerning changes to the structure of the world political economy. More precisely, discussions focus on whether integration in the international political scene could enhance the power and influence of smaller and poorer nations. Traditionally, the world-system paradigm maintains that a country’s position on - or its power in – the world system depends on its role in the international economic network. Hence, political power is seen as a consequence of economic power, as core hegemons are said to have established the international political system to benefit the international capitalist class (Beckfield, 2008).
More recently however, inequality in the world polity has been found to be declining. World polity scholars argue that as states, especially those in poor countries, are integrating into the world polity, it is progressing towards a relatively flat structure (Beckfield, 2008). A rise in the prevalence of political relationships between non-core countries could increase their power and influence and suggests a divergence of power sources away from solely the economic. This new (multipolar) political structure could substantiate claims that the semi-periphery endeavors to counter the core economic hegemony and classic economic order by forming IGOs’ (Krasner, 1985) or other political relations. Others, by contrast, maintain that participation in international organizations remains biased in favor of the traditionally more powerful (Beckfield, 2003; Hughes et al., 2009) and that voice for smaller nations does not necessarily entail influence and power gains (Boswell and Chase-Dunn, 2000).
Accordingly, we ask whether 1) there is a discernible departure away from the structure of the classic economic world-system and 2) the global political system follows the stratified structure of the economic hierarchy or if it cross-cuts this stratification, offering an alternative power source in the world-system. Our blockmodel was based on economic relations between 1965 and 2005 and was compared to the structure of the world polity over this period.
First, we analyzed the ongoing integration of relationships in the political network, while the structure of the economic world-system was kept constant over time. Results showed a strong increase in political relationships within the economic semi-peripheries, implying a divergence away from the dominance of the economic core on political relations. In a second step however, this increased integration of political relations in the economic semi-periphery disappeared when mobility within the economic world-system was allowed for. Political relations are thus mainly formed between - rather than within - the blocks of the economic world-system. The semi-periphery has not become more integrated to counter core hegemony. Rather, as political integration is associated with economic upward mobility, political and economic integration in the world-system coincide. These findings confirm that the international political system remains stratified according to core power hegemony and political relationships remain dominated by the economic core. Political integration has thus not fundamentally altered the structure of the world-system nor has it proven to be a viable alternative power source for non-core countries.
Jorgenson, Andrew (see Givens and Jorgenson)
Chungse Jung (Binghamton University)
“ Does the Semiperiphery End?: Empirical Reappraisals on the Perspective of
In this research, I attempt to examine that characterizations of semiperiphery and periphery are changing in the structure and logic of the world-economy. The identification of three broad zones in the world-economy is a key contribution of the world-system analysis. Since Wallerstein’s relational approach, based on the system-wide division of labor, to establishing the divisions separating the core-semiperiphery-periphery would be most theoretical appropriate. However, it might be contended that in a fast-moving world, the long-established categories of the core-semiperiphery-periphery is increasingly obsolescent while it seems like that the semiperiphery is malfunctioning or even disappearing. Indeed, the role of semiperiphery goes beyond a distinct intermediate position in the global division of labor. It plays a political role in the system, diverting pressures from the periphery. Chase-Dunn (1990) particularly argues that semiperipheral regions are fertile grounds for both transformative actions and upward mobility. As taking this theoretical position, I empirically attempt to assert the notion that the existence of semiperiphey is still significant and meaningful to sustain in the structure and logic of the world-economy, and try to show that the characteristics of semiperiphery and periphery is continuously evolving to adapt to the changing world-economy with analyzing world-historical antisystemic movement activities in the global South over the twentieth century.
For overall mapping out world-historical pattern of antisystemic movement activities, I use the New York Times (1920-2009) and the Times (1920-2006) to generate systemic and long-term records of popular protest (around 20,000 protest event articles; 50 countries in the global South). The results show to concentrate on charting temporal and spatial diffusion of antisystemic movements across a large set of countries in the global South. For the classification of countries in the world-economy from 1950 to 2009, I use the latest study of network analysis applied to international trade and the structure of the international division of labor (Mahutga and Smith 2011) rather than the income level studies because the attribute of network analysis is more relational and heuristic.
In the initial observations, key issues that may be addressed follow: First, the semiperiphery and periphery of the world-system has experienced dynamic antisystemic activities during the twentieth century, while the core-periphery economic structure has relatively static. Second, antisystemic movement activities in the global South over the twentieth century are overall declining. Third, antisystemic movement activities in the semiperiphery are drastically decreasing, while those activities in the periphery are gently decreasing. Fourth, the rate of antisystemic movements in the periphery against the semiperiphery is consistently increasing. Fifth, the world-historical pattern of antisystemic movements between the semiperiphery and the periphery is a striking resemblance after 1955. Sixth, antisystemic movement activities in semiperiphery show a strong upward mobility after 1950s. Based on this empirical understanding, I will thus compose toward a heuristic and holistic conceptualization for the characterization of the global Periphery. Taking this further work will helps us resolve some of the inconsistencies inherent in the usual conception of the core-periphery typology.
Sahan Karatasli, Sefika Kumral, Ben Scully, Beverly Silver and Smriti Upadhyay
(Johns Hopkins University)
“Bringing Labor Back in: Workers in the Current Wave of Global Social Protest”
In 2011, a dramatic upsurge of social protest across the globe captured the attention of the world and turned public spaces as diverse as Wisconsin's Capital building, Cairo's Tahrir Square, and the streets of Athens, Greece into symbols of popular rebellion. This wave of protest has been widely recognized as an event of world-historical importance. Academic accounts of the protest wave tend to see it as a confirmation that “globalization” has undermined the central role of labor in class politics. Slovoj Zizek sees the protest wave as driven by a “salaried bourgeoisie”, that is a relatively privileged global class of formal workers who see their security being undermined by the global trend toward austerity (Zizek 2011). Zizek's analysis recalls Guy Standing's widely cited argument that the social class most central to protest and politics in the contemporary world is not the workers but the precariat, “a diffuse, unstable international community of people struggling usually in vain, to give their working lives an occupational identity” (Standing 2011:23).
Our paper challenges the idea that the current upsurge signifies an unprecedented reconfiguration of class protest and politics. We make the following arguments. First, protest by workers about their wages, working conditions, and livelihoods has played a far more prominent role in the current upsurge than has been normally recognized. Second, the character of workers’ protests has not been uniform across space; however, this geographical unevenness can be understood as an interconnected single byproduct of the ongoing world hegemonic crisis. Third, what appears as novel forms of protest to many observers have strong parallels with the forms of workers’ protest that were prominent in the previous crisis of hegemony.
The paper combines an analysis of the overall global pattern with a set of local case studies illustrating the key types of labor unrest visible in the current wave of global protest. For the analysis of the overall global pattern we have constructed a new dataset based on newspaper reports of worldwide social protest during the neoliberal period (1978-present). For the historical comparisons we draw on the World Labor Group database (1870-1996).
Jeffrey Kentor (University of Utah) “A New Typology of the Global Economy: 1850-present”
This research develops a new typology of the structure of the world economy, based upon Charles Tilly’s (1994) theorization of the emergence of the modern nation-state system. Tilly argued that the current inter-state system is the result of a merging of coercive and economic power between A.D. 1000 and 1800. Prior to this time, economic and coercive, or military, power were separate. Political units, such as states, feudal areas and empires, were essentially containers of coercive power, used to acquire the necessary goods, and people, to maintain their systems. Economic power resided within cities, the centers of economic activities in these times, and where capital was accumulated by the emerging burgher class. As military technology progressed and warfare became more expensive, these political organizations were forced to look to cities for the financing of their military activities. The resulting relationship between state and city, of coercive and economic power, solidified over this 800 year period, giving rise to the modern nation-states of today. These modern nation-states controlled both military and economic power.
Following Tilly, this research conceptualizes position in the world economy as a four dimensional space of economic and military power. These dimensions include 1) size of the economy 2) capital intensiveness of the economy 3) size of the military and 4) capital intensiveness of the military. Countries are categorized as combinations of these four dimensions. This approach allows us to re-conceptualize our understanding of hegemony, mobility, and the structure of the global economy.
Harold Kerbo (California Polytechnic State University) and Patrick Ziltener (University of Zurich)
“Sustainable Development and Poverty Reduction in the Modern World System: Southeast
Asia and the Negative Case of Cambodia”
There is wide
variation in the prospects for economic development and poverty reduction among
the Buddhist countries of Southeast Asia.
a follow-up to earlier historical-comparative analysis, an Abe Fellowship
supported two years of research in
Quee-young Kim (University of Wyoming) “The Meaning of the Rise of China”
One of the major historical epochs in the contemporary world is the rise of China in its economic growth. Many observers and scholars have speculated about the implications of it in world politics. However, few have thought about the impact of its growth on China itself. I will present results of analysis of three major trends: (1) demographic change where the number of industrial workers has increased dramatically over the years and yet will decrease; (2) organizational mode of production where the private ownership of the means of production will increase over the state or public owned productive units; and (3) social mobilization of youth cohorts will increase in conjunction with increasing urbanization, education and communication. These trends will lead to an increasing number of protests and conflict with the authorities and will over burden the state with increasing cost of control to maintain the communist system and will eventually develop in a revolutionary upheaval. I note four major reasons: First, the legitimacy of the state depends on the success of continued economic growth, and the way how China pursues growth is exported-oriented, resource dependent manufacturing industrialization while suppressing wages as a competitive strategy. And the number of workers will grow and will converge in urban industrial areas. These conditions are very likely to produce ideological conflict with the state and the state may find itself unable to suppress the growing demands for quality wages and the demands associated with it, including human rights. Second, the ownership of the means of production has shifted from state or public organizations to foreign and private ventures under market socialism. As the economy may falter in one way or another, those types of organization that are public may become less efficient and more vulnerable for structural adjustments inevitably giving rise to a widespread discontents, and these discontents are very likely to be focused on the centralized state. Thirdly, the state will be divided from within into the military and civilian factions. The military will actually seek hegemonic power arguing that growing power of the military would be necessary to secure resources from abroad and security for the state requiring more spending on the weapon systems and high technology. The civilian sector may seek greater peaceful rise world-wise and inclusive welfare system nation-wise. These two forces and interests may collide on a number of issues and ultimately break down the state. Finally, the two major new classes, the working class and the middle class will emerge who will find the state increasingly inefficient and corrupt. Furthermore, the newly emerging classes may perceive the state, as a lie, because the constitution says one thing but the practice is quite another. The contradiction between Marxist-Leninist-Maoist ideology on one hand and market capitalism on the other will grow and galvanize class and modern consciousness of the new proletarian and educated youth. I argue that these changes are “developing” toward upheaval for democracy and toward collapse of the communist one-party system.
Steve Knauss (Binghamton University) “Unequal Exchange after Neoliberal Globalization”
Despite recent theorizing of “the new imperialism,” particularly in the aftermath of the occupation of Iraq, most discussions of North-South exploitation remain grounded in the political economy of the Bretton Woods era. Those who do attempt to consider the matter in light of more recent processes tend either: 1) to argue that neoliberal globalization is diminishing the importance of the North-South division (in either its triumphalist “great convergence” version or its left-wing “race to the bottom” manifestation); or 2), like much of the “new imperialism” literature, to argue for the continued relevance of North-South exploitation in areas other than the expanded reproduction of the capitalist mode of production on an international scale (i.e. imperialism as control over resources, “accumulation by dispossession”, etc.). Contrasting with both tendencies, I will argue that the new patterns of trade and economic growth resulting from neoliberal globalization have heightened the centrality of North-South exploitation and unequal exchange to the reproduction of the capitalist system. Far from tending toward a (utopian or dystopian) “great convergence”, 21st century capitalism is reproducing and deepening the uneven development of the last century, and “the new imperialism” is merely the tip of the iceberg.
Roberto Patricio Korzeniewicz and Scott Albrecht (University of Maryland, College Park) “Global Wages and World Inequality: Crisis or Opportunity?”
There are many contending paradigms in the study of inequality and stratification, with little dialogue across empirical, methodological and theoretical divides. To bridge some of these gaps, this article presents and analyzes a new dataset on urban wages across the world that allows us to (I) explore patterns and trends in inequality between- and within-countries, focusing specifically on (II) the impact of the 2008 crisis on wages across the world. We draw on a unique dataset that we have constructed using the surveys of prices and wages published every three years since 1971 by UBS (formerly the Union Bank of Switzerland). These data allow us to reconstruct average wages and benefits in dozens of cities (in high, middle and low income nations) for over a dozen occupational categories. These range from construction laborers and unskilled female factory workers, to bus drivers and primary school teachers, to managers and engineers. Making available such a database itself provides an important contribution to the literature, as most studies on social stratification and mobility are generally limited to a small number of high-income nations or methodologically inconsistent across countries.
The first part of the paper summarizes average wage differentials between the skilled and unskilled across different regions and zones of the world between the 1970’s and the mid-2000s. Unsurprisingly, our data provide compelling evidence that national residence has been a significant and stable force shaping the relative distribution of wages (alone, national location explains between 67.9% of the cross-sectional variation of world wages in 1982 and 78.7% in 2009). But the data also indicate that in the last twenty years, some sectors of the world labor force have experienced significant upward mobility, led by producers of tradable goods in low-wage regions. We argue that a sociological perspective can contribute to a better understanding of these processes by critically assessing the role of definitions of the “skilled” and “unskilled” in the construction of categorical social differentiation globally
The second part of the paper draws on the latest two surveys (2009 and 2012) to evaluate the impact of the 2008 crisis across the world. Our data suggest that producers of tradable goods in poorer cities have continued to gain ground relative to both (a) workers in non-tradable activities within those same cities, and (b) tradable goods producers in high-wage cities. In other words, our data provide substantial evidence that wages in the core and the periphery have tended to converge quite significantly over the past five years. Drawing on these results, we argue that critical paradigms on world inequality and stratification tend to underestimate the extent to which poor or “peripheral” areas, once having such a status, might undergo transformations that generate upward mobility. Instead, we argue, critical perspectives should make a greater effort to theorize how world-historical changes in recent decades, including the 2008 crisis and its aftermath, might be allowing underprivileged populations to gain significant ground relative to more privileged populations around the world.
Somjita Laha (University of Manchester) “Spatial Movement of E-waste as Capital Flow”
The contemporary patterns of production and consumption in the age of information capitalism are matched by globally unprecedented waste generation. The latest challenge to the issue of waste management is posed by toxic electronic and electrical waste or e-waste. In its global trajectory, this waste material transcends sectors, regions and countries along the path of least resistance covering formal realm of waste management (characterised by strict environmental legislations) in advanced countries to often end up in the informal processing operations (usually outside the regulatory orbit) in the emerging and developing economies (Puckett & Smith 2002).
The specifics of e-waste processing in different countries are not disjoint but linked in a global network where formal and informal agents perform diverse functions. Together, these actors and their activities create a single system characterized by material transfer, economic transactions and financial arrangements. Hence the international e-waste movement and management network has no definite beginning or end and should be understood as an uninterrupted exchange of material, finance, knowledge and information. The existence of such a waste network further shows that commodities are materially stable & unchanging (Gregson et al., 2010), since they embody changing notions of value in their post-consumption phase.
Despite the presence of a unified stream of e-waste worldwide, various understandings of waste as resource in different geographical settings and socio-cultural milieus account for spatially differential treatment of e-waste. This spatial variation can be further attributed to the level of industrial development, institutional structure as well as history and practice of waste management in a country. E-waste is not an end-point in the production, consumption and disposal of electronic equipments (Lepawsky & McNabb 2009), rather in this paper, its stream has been understood as a progression of industrial capital following the Marxian exposition of circuits of capital. E-waste functions as a resource which flows along the circuit of capital assuming various forms as money capital, commodity capital and productive capital in different moments of its disposal, reuse and recycling.
This paper looks at e-waste management in Europe (Netherlands and Belgium) and India to understand the spatial movement of e-waste as capital, connecting the formal recycling industries and the informal, frequently backward operations. The internationalisation of capital is exemplified in the globally integrated processes of e-waste generation and treatment. The research uses a GPN (Global Production Network) framework to map the international trajectory of e-waste along the reverse supply chain to situate the informal sector of e-waste processing in relation to the formal and the broader context of the capitalist economy. Additionally, it illustrates the transmission of e-waste in terms of the Marxian circuits of capital and thereby upholds the political economy perspective of the original World-Systems Theory. Such a connection to the dynamics of capitalist growth and accumulation has been missing from the GVC (Global Value Chain) approach with its narrow focus on the organization and the coordination of globally dispersed manufacturing processes. Besides, studies in the value chain literature have typically been applied to the production of a particular good or a service since the point of its inception bit have been rarely extended to the post-consumption stage of waste generation, reuse and reclamation (notable exceptions Brooks 2012, Lepawsky & Billah 2011, Gregson et al. 2010, Lane et al. 2009). Also, this strain of analyses has rarely incorporated flows and interconnections between formal and informal economies. By emphasising the inter-linkages and dependencies between these two formal domains of e-waste processing, the paper questions the popular understanding of the practices and politics of waste disposal which often guide policy design.
Robert MacPherson (University of California, Irvine) "Antisystemic Movements in Periods of Hegemonic Decline:
Syndicalist Coalition-Formation in World-Historical Perspective"
Since 2010, the Eurozone debt crisis has resulted in unprecedented social upheaval in the states of Southern Europe. The crisis provided an opening for syndicalist unions, organizing on a radically democratic basis, to join with urban movements for participatory democracy to defend themselves from the damaging effects of austerity policies. This paper attempts to place syndicalist coalitional prospects in long-term historical perspective, analyzing syndicalism as an antisystemic movement whose specific trajectory and future prospects can be best understood by charting the movement as it has been affected by, and in turn helped shape, the processes and institutions of the world-economy. Using the incorporated comparative method and detailed process-tracings of syndicalist mobilization in Chile and Spain, the syndicalist movement in its earlier “glorious era” of the 1920s is compared with the current upwelling of syndicalist activity in the European semiperiphery. The results reveal how the regulative liberalism which undercut syndicalist prospects in the British and early US eras only prepared the ground for the current crisis. The institutionalized unions and liberal states that “solved” the interwar crises of global capitalism and neutralized the first wave of syndicalism now seem to be unraveling, encouraging coalitions of syndicalist and popular democratic movements.
Alessandro Morosin and Chris Chase-Dunn (University of California-Riverside) “Latin America
in the World-System: World Revolutions and Semiperipheral Development”
This paper discusses Latin America's changing role in the modern world-system and the contributions that it has made, and may yet make, to the contemporary world revolution. We review the ways in which earlier world revolutions have played out in Latin America and the contributions that Latin American populist and indigenous politics are making to the global justice movement. Our coding of Latin American regimes since 1980 finds some support for the hypothesis that progressive regimes that challenge neoliberalism are more likely to come to power in the semiperiphery. We argue that the rise in antisystemic movements and regimes over the past decade in this world-region can partly be explained by the history of U.S. hegemony in this region historically and throughout the neoliberal mode of global accumulation (1980s to the present day). The research reported in this paper is part of an effort to comprehend the nature of the New Global Left in its world historical context.
Carl Nordlund (Central European University) “Preceding and governing measurements: an
Emmanuelian conceptualization of ecological unequal exchange”
Defined as the chronic disciplinary trespasser among the social sciences, the recent combination of world-system analysis with ecological economics represents an interesting and promising incursion into the natural sciences. With both scholarly strands focusing on system totalities and interactions among component parts, resource distributions within such systems are deemed as more relevant than the conventional Hobbesian focus on the developmental trajectories of the, presumably independent, component parts. The particular novelty of this scholarly union is the biophysical lens provided by ecological economics: world-system studies at the intersection between the social and the material can shed new light on the most pressing and conflict-laden issues in the contemporary world-ecology, namely the sharing of planetary bounties and burdens.
One of the hallmarks of this disciplinary combination is the ecological approach to unequal exchange. Although a variety of interpretations exist, it is typically conceptualized as occurrences of monetarily non-compensated net transfers of biophysical resources or unequal sharing of environmental burdens. Using various metrics and methods to identify and measure this phenomenon, previous studies in this genre overall confirm its occurrence, to the benefit of the core.
Although yielding interesting findings per se, the typical conceptualizations and operationalization of ecological unequal exchange in this genre have some significant shortcomings. First, even though the concept explicitly revolves around exchange, very few studies analyze actually-occurring exchange on the world market. Instead, assumed to reflect such exchanges, national indicators of resource consumptions often constitute the empirical data. Secondly, the concept is typically used to signify the occurrence of such net transfers of biophysical resources, rather than more comprehensive theories of the underlying mechanisms that lead to such occurrences. Jorgenson, however, is an exception in this regard: by correlating the structural position of countries in the world-system with the presumed effects of such exchanges, Jorgenson does propose a structural theory of ecological unequal exchange. However, thirdly, even though contemporary studies in this genre dutifully refer to Arghiri Emmanuel, they are not concerned with theories on factor cost differentials that characterize the original theory of unequal exchange.
This paper presents a network-analytical framework that combines the original Emmanuelian theory of unequal exchange with Jorgenson’s structural theory of ecological unequal exchange. Focusing explicitly on primary commodity trade, analyzing both the monetary and the biophysical dimensions of such flows, it is argued that such flows represent allocations of the third Ricardian production factor, i.e. land/resources, among nationally-bound commodity chain segments. The structural positionality of trading countries are subsequently established using the formal role-analytical tools found in social network analysis. These network-analytical findings are subsequently contrasted with the cost-resource ratios for this particular production factor. Thus, whereas Emmanuel analyzed cost differentials among countries for the first production factor, i.e. labor, the suggested framework depicts ecological unequal exchange as cost differentials of the third Ricardian production factor as possibly related to positionality within the world-system.
Applying this framework on longitudinal trade data for primary commodities, the paper traces occurrences of Emmanuelian ecological unequal exchange during the last three decades.
Mario Davide Parrilli (Basque Institute of Competitiveness & and Deusto Business School)
Khalid Nadvi (University of Manchester) and Henry Wai-Chung Yeung (National University of Singapore)
“Local and Regional Development in Global Value Chains, Production Networks and
Innovation Networks: A Comparative Review and Challenges for Future Research”
Globalization as a process has developed exponentially over the past twenty years, generating multiple and opposite effects for local and regional development (LoRD). This has created both new opportunities as well as raising new threats for local actors, both public and private. This paper considers the prospects for local and regional development in this context. It does this through a comparative review of three critical analytical frameworks that have been used in recent years to examine the changing dynamics of globalization and their consequences for local production systems, namely global value chains (GVC), global production networks (GPN) and global innovation networks (GIN). We provide an overview of these distinct approaches, identifying their strengths and weaknesses. Our argument is not that any one of these approaches is necessarily ‘better’ than the others, but rather that to formulate a more complete and dynamic territorial perspective on regional development in the context of globalization there needs to be an attempt at (eclectically) integrating elements of these three distinct frameworks. The article then goes on to show how such an integrated analytical framework might raise new challenges for future research on the transformative prospects for local and regional development within the context of globalisation.
Daniel Pasciuti and Beverly J. Silver (Johns Hopkins University)
“Developmentalist Illusion Redux?”
In the 1970s, the rapid economic growth of a group of semiperipheral countries—ranging from Brazil and Mexico to South Africa and Poland—was seen by many as evidence that the income gap separating middle- and high-income countries was being closed, and as an invalidation of the world-systems perspective’s emphasis on core-periphery polarization and the existence of a stable middle (sempierpheral) zone. But this “catching up” period proved to be ephemeral. As Arrighi and Drangel (1986) empirically demonstrated for the period from 1938-1983, the upward mobility of the 1970s was followed by a sharp relapse—the so-called lost development decade of the 1980s—during which the core-semiperiphery-periphery gaps were firmly reestablished.
Today, we are living in another period in which the trimodal distribution of world income appears to be breaking down—this time, with a group of rapidly growing peripheral countries (e.g., China and India) moving closer to the middle-income group. Prognostications that China will shortly catch up with the income levels (total and per capita) of the Untied States are rampant, fostering the spread of different forms of “the world is flat” theories. The fundamental question we address in this paper is whether the latest “catching-up” will prove to be as ephemeral as it was in the 1970s—a prelude to another “lost development decade”—or whether we are witnessing a fundamental transformation in the overall distribution of wealth and power on a world-scale.
To answer this question we empirically examine the structure of world income inequality using GNIPC (FX conversion) data from the World Bank for 1960-2010. First, replicating and updating Arrighi and Drangel (whose data only went up to 1983), we plotted histograms of world income per capita for each year, identifying the clustering of states (modes), and classifying countries within a core-semiperiphery- periphery hierarchy. Next, using minimum distance estimation procedures we identified statistically significant changes in the world distribution of income. We compared each year in the dataset to one another (as well as to a theoretically ideal trimodal distribution) using both the Cramer-von Mises and Kolomogrov-Smirnov tests, generating dissimilarity matrices —that is, a distance matrix of pairwise distinction. From these matrices we were able to (a) identify years in which the distribution departed significantly from the trimodal ideal type and (b) group years into distinct historical phases of world-economic stratification.
We find that over the last decade (2001-2010) the peripheral mode—which had been stable for many decades—fractured into three clusters of countries, with the top two clusters moving closer to the semiperipheral group. Whether this “catching-up” is fundamental or ephemeral cannot be determined by simply projecting a linear trend into the future. The final section of the paper engages in a theoretically informed comparison of the world-historical contexts of the two periods of “catching-up”—the 1970s and the 2010s—in order to assess whether we are on the verge of a “developmentalist illusion redux” or an impeding “great convergence.”
Thomas E. Reifer (University of San Diego) “The Battle for the Future Has Begun: The Reassertion of Race, Space and Place in World-Systems Geographies and Anti-Systemic Cartographies”
In the last few decades, leading world-systems analysts, notably Immanuel Wallerstein and Giovanni Arrighi, have argued that after some 500 to 700 years of evolution, the capitalist world-system is undergoing fundamental transformation. Indeed, a host of other authors argue that given current trajectories and instabilities accompanying today’s discontinuous changes, either a new system or systems will emerge, or at the very least that future trajectories of geo-economic regions and the global system will differ in fundamental, albeit unknown ways, from past developments.
Yet as Wallerstein noted in The Modern World-System, Volume I (1974, 2012: 9),
“…the proper understanding of the social dynamics of the present requires a theoretical comprehension that can only be based on the study of the widest possible range of phenomena, including through all of historical time and space,” calling for a unidisciplinary approach to the study of social change (emphasis added). In this same volume, Wallerstein wrote of two major watersheds in world history, the Neolithic Revolution and the creation of the modern world-system. And yet, Arrighi and Wallestein themselves, have for the most part not heeded this call to analyze planetary and human evolution over this broader time period, focusing instead largely on the capitalist world-system, and earlier geo-economic regions, primarily Western Europe and East Asia.
Longer periods of human evolution, from the Paleolithic to the present, have instead been analyzed by a host of other scholars, including Perry Anderson, Alfred Crosby, Christopher Chase-Dunn, David Christian, Jared Diamond, Mike Davis, Enrique Dussell, Kent Flannery, W.E.B. Du Bois, Jack Goody, William McNeill, Bernard Magubane, Charles Mann, Walter Mignolo, Joyce Marcus, Maria Mies, Stephen Pyne, Anibal Quijano and Edmund Wilson. This paper brings together recent theoretically informed empirical studies on human evolution over the longue duree, with a focus on the Neolithic revolution and the modern world-system, as well as on antisystemic movements aiming to transform this system into a more democratic, peaceful and egalitarian world order(s).
Particular focus is devoted to mapping possible futures for hegemonic powers and capitalism and socialism over the longue duree, including through examining Arrighi, Hopkins and Wallerstein’s Antisytemic Movements, their subsequent works, and Perry Anderson’s essay, “The Ends of History.” The paper will also focus on related works that seek to map prospective trajectories of the global system and alternative visions of the good society, including the prospects for capitalism and (eco)socialism, such as that by Walter Benjamin, Norberto Bobbio, Terry Boswell, Christopher Chase-Dunn, Seyla Benhabib, Norberto Bobbio, Mike Davis, John Dewey, Martin Luther King, Jr., Martha Nussbaum, Saskia Sassen, Amartya Sen, Tupac Shakur and Roberto Unger. Finally, the paper relates this entire inquiry about humanity’s past and possible alternative futures to cutting edge work in the natural sciences about systemic chaos and transformation, most especially the work of Nobel Prize winning chemist Ilya Prigogine, his colleague Isabelle Stengers and the mathematician Ivar Ekeland, all of whom have been particularly influential in Immanuel Wallestein’s conceptualization of the present crisis of the capitalist world-system and the possibilities for its future transformation(s).
Anthony Roberts (University of California-Riverside) “Neo-Corporatism in the World Economy:
A Cross-National Analysis of 18 OECD Countries, 1970-2005
In general, this article addresses whether the European neo-corporatism is sustainable in the
current world economy and polity. A major and ongoing discussion amongst policy-makers in
OECD countries has been on whether economic policy should promote labor market flexibility
over maintaining tripartite management of labor markets. In this discussion, academics are
mainly in dispute over whether these market institutions are either path dependent or they are
being fundamentally transformed by globalization. Therefore, the main purpose of the article is
to empirically adjudicate the fundamental contention in the comparative and global political
economy literatures on whether globalization is causing a convergence in national institutions or
whether they are resilient to international normative and competitive isomorphism. First, the I
assesses whether the intensification of global production and the industrialization of the Global
South, along with emergence of the World Polity, have resulted in an erosion of neo-corporatist
institutions. Second, I attempt to identify whether these processes have reduced the militancy of
organized labor, which hinders the capability of organized labor to maintain these institutions.
Lastly, I evaluate whether these effects of globalization are moderated by unobserved nationallevel
factors. Empirically, this article addresses these important issues based on the results of
fixed-intercept (fixed-effects) and random coefficient regression models for a time-series-crosssectional sample of 18 OECD countries observed from 1970-2005.
Based on the findings , the competitive pressures of global production are indirectly
causing a decline in both corporatism and industrial conflict through its deleterious effects on
industrial employment and unionization. Additionally, instead of promoting corporatism and the
militancy of organized labor, the emerging international norms of the world polity appear to
reduce corporatism and labor military. In general, the adoption of ILO conventions appears to be
only ceremonially given the decline in corporatism. Lastly, there is substantial cross-national
variation in how countries manage these isomorphic pressures, which suggests that national-level
factors moderate the effects of globalization. Overall, the results indicate that globalization is
causing a convergence toward liberalized and flexible labor market and a reduction in labor
militancy. However, the competitive and normative isomorphic pressures of the world economy
and polity are delayed or partially resisted by national-level factors, which suggests that
globalization is causing an incremental change towards neoliberalism in OECD countries.
William I. Robinson (University of California-Santa Barbara) "Policing the Global Crisis."
The immense structural inequalities of the global political economy cannot easily be contained through consensual mechanisms of domination. As crisis escalates, global elites have developed repressive mechanisms of transnational social control to contain the real and potential rebellion of the global working class and surplus humanity. Western military interventions, spurious wars on drugs and "terror", systems of mass incarceration, urban militarization, militarized policing, criminalization of immigrants and Third World youth, new modalities of spatial apartheid and global green-zoning, panoptical surveillance and data monitoring, manipulation of images and meaning through new global circuits of information and cultural production - these are some of the mechanisms of transnational social control as hegemony, in the Gramscian sense of consensual domination, breaks down and as we move to what Poulantzas referred to as "exceptional states." Moreover, policing the global crisis generates new accumulation opportunities for the Transnational Capitalist Class so that an economic logic militarized accumulation becomes fused with a political logic of worldwide preemptive repression and coercive social control.
Robert Ross (Clark University )
“Evidence for a race-to-the bottom in the global apparel industry”
This presentation is part of an ongoing dialogue about the “race to the bottom” in international labor standards, sometimes more broadly referred to as “social dumping.” Ross and Chan, in a series of 2003-4 papers argued that without some global regulation, e.g. a social clause in the WTO agreement, labor standards would be eroded and the head to head competition between China and Mexico for the S apparel market would be an illustration. Using year 2000 data they showed the advantage in labor cost -- and control – that Chinese production sites had over Mexican ones. At the time of their original formulations imports from each of these countries had roughly equal shares of the apparel market – around 15%. Since then, while the competition continued, restraints on imports to either the EU or the NAFTA countries which had been imposed by the Multi-Fiber Arrangement (MFA) were abolished. Now Chinese imports are about 32% of US imports and Mexican market share has shrunk to about 6%.
It is in this context that a challenge to Ross and Chan’s thesis arises. In a meticulous paper Robinson attempts to show that China’s advantage stems more from exchange rate manipulation than from lowered wages. This paper engages that controversy by an up-to-date analysis of the sources of US imports (with some corollary data from the EU). Among other things the analysis shows a thoroughgoing post-MFA rotation to all Asian sources, and internal redistribution from higher wage Asian to lower wage Asian sources. The Race-to-The bottom, alas, is alive and well in the global apparel industry.
The data is mainly from the OTEXA (the Department of Commerce’s Office of Textile and Apparel) online import database which allows analysis of country origin by both dollar and volume; some use is made of the Eurostat’s. Other information includes a systematic accounting of media reports of factory fires in Bangladesh as a case of racing to the bottom.
If time permits and an undergraduate research seminar is productive enough—both low probability- the paper will address the distinctive difference between this discourse among sociologists and that among political scientists on the concept of a race to the bottom.
Matthew R. Sanderson (Kansas State University) and Michael F. Timberlake (University of Utah)
“Bringing Migration Back In: A Cross-City Comparative Analysis of the World Urban System”
From its inception, world city researchhas focused onidentifying networks of relations linking cities in a world urban hierarchy and exploring how position within this system affects structural changes within cities. Economic measures have been privileged as indicators of position, or power, in the world urban system. Most world cities research uses organizational ties (e.g., firms’ headquarters and back offices and subsidiaries) or other economic measures (e.g., airline passenger flows or advanced producer services firm densities) to identify a city’s position in the world urban system.
Yet position in the world urban system is also an outcome of non-economic linkages. Migration is the most prominent example. International flows of people generate non-economic linkages between places and, by furthering the accumulation and concentration of capital in cities, they constitute another indicator of position in the world urban system. However, although it was featured as one of the original theses of the world city hypothesis (Friedmann 1986) and was prominent in early research (Sassen 1984, 1988, 1991), migration has been relegated to a much lesser role in world cities research over the past twenty years (Samers 2002; Benton-Short, et al. 2005).
We attempt to bring migration back into world cities research. Using a unique city-level dataset, we describe the world urban hierarchy in terms of international urban migration (Benton-Short, et al. 2005). We then empirically investigate the association between international urban migration and economic measures of position in the world urban system for up to 80 cities across the world. The purpose is to systematically evaluate the salience of migration as a component of world city formation and as an indicator of position, or power, within the world urban system. By reintroducing migration, our study extends and refines previous research in the world cities literature and provides a foundation for future research on migration in world urban system.
Beverly Silver (Johns Hopkins University) (see Pasciuti and Silver; Karatasli, Kumral, Scully, Silver and Upadhyay
David Smith (University of California-Irvine) (see Sowers, Ciccantell and Smith; Choi Duncan and Smith)
Elizabeth Sowers (University of California-Irvine) Paul S. Ciccantell (Western Michigan University) David Smith (University of California-Irvine) and Paul Almeida (University of California-Merced)
“Comparing Critical Capitalist Commodity Chains in the Early Twenty-first Century:
Opportunities For and Constraints on Labor and Political Movements”
There have been a number of critical historical opportunities for labor to exert power by interrupting long distance flows of commodities at the extraction, processing, and transport stages. This vulnerability has been used by workers in these industries to gain higher wages and better working conditions and to achieve political goals in national and international arenas. In an earlier paper, we began an examination of the opportunities for and constraints on efforts by labor and other organizations to take advantage of these vulnerabilities in commodity chains, focusing particularly on containerized manufactured goods, coal, and iron ore, and on how these commodity chains are affected by potential conflicts in these industries resulting from growing hegemonic rivalries.
In this paper, we build on this earlier analysis by expanding on our analysis of the logistics sector that supports containerized manufactured trade, the global petroleum industry and the potential for North American energy independence to transform this commodity chain, and air transport for business and leisure travel. In each case, we discuss possibilities and challenges for labor and political organizing to disrupt capital in these key commodity chains. We identify the "stakes" in each commodity chain by demonstrating the vulnerabilities on which labor and political organizations could capitalize, which usually stem from the capital intensiveness and global integration of each critical commodity chain. These vulnerabilities are the factors which form the most basic opportunities for organizing in these sectors. Our analysis further suggests while that transport and raw materials remain vulnerable nodes in capitalist commodity chains, there are also constraints and challenges to be faced by labor and social movement organizations that might seek these sectors out as locations to exert power in the world economy. As such, we also identify key factors within each critical commodity chain that pose challenges to organizing efforts. In the logistics sector, we focus on issues such as a highly varied and spatially distant workforce. Where energy is concerned, we discuss the possibility of North American energy independence. For air travel, we highlight the growing scale of this industry, its criticality via rapid business travel to the operations of firms and states across the world economy, and the economic value of the air travel and linked tourism industries in many locations.
We end our analysis with an overall assessment of whether or not the contemporary moment is one where labor can capitalize on interrupting flows of commerce at the points of extraction, processing, or transportation.
Jason Struna (University of California-Riverside) “Transnationally Implicated Labor Processes as
Transnational Social Relations: Workplaces and Global Class Formation”
If social class is determined in part by relationships between labor and capital at the point of production, then in situ analysis of workplaces and work processes remains an essential mode of elaborating class theory. Insofar as many worksites are implicated in transnational commodity circuits that form networks of relations among capitalist firms and their agents, as well as observable connections between workers in different geographic contexts and configurations, we should expect the transnational elements of these relations to influence the experience of class-life for workers on the shop floor and beyond. Workplace ethnography thus provides a useful means of interrogating these assumptions as they potentially unfold in real life. This essay presents evidence obtained from preliminary participant-observation via three-months’ employment on the floor of a transnationally owned and operated warehouse and distribution center that contracts for a major US-based retailer in Southern California. First, the essay assesses the degree to which transnational command and control over the labor process is observed by workers through their use of physical capital linked to other geographies by information technology and transportation. Second, it assesses the degree to which workers are aware of the transnational ownership and management of the facilities in which they work through shop-floor conversations, as well as internal memoranda and written materials available to lower-echelon workers. The essay concludes with an analysis of how these two factors – labor’s use of systems that are transnationally commanded and controlled in the production process, and workers’ cognizance of transnational labor-capital relations – affect class theorization under conditions of contemporary capitalist globalization.
Tang Wei (Shanghai Academy of Social Sciences)
“Cities and the Transformation of the Global System”
The current world economy is experiencing a transformation of spatial organization and technological & social institutions, and global system is gradually getting fragmented. At the same time, we see cities becoming engines of economic growth as well as centers of increasing political significance—as can be observed by the American Occupy Movement. Therefore the evolution of relationships of cities, sovereignty and global system needs to be examined. As twin forces of globalization and local development challenge national sovereignty, city entities directly enter into the global system through diverse actors, namely multinational corporations, governmental bodies, international bodies and non-governmental bodies which eventually construct different type of city networks. These city networks coalesce via “space of flows”, cities themselves becoming nodes for self-sustaining networks.
Self-sustaining global city networks transform global system basically through global cities, city diplomacy and norm diffusion.
Global cities, as centers of gravity for the global system, carry strategic resources which are historically manifested as strategic trade routes, core technologies, and producer services—all of which fall within the category of commerce. As climate change and other environmental issues come to the fore, the fusion of commerce and environmental issues are becoming more important. Strategic resources cannot be separated from national powers, and as global cities increasingly control the flow of those resources, they must also govern responsibly. Thus global cities and national restructuring are becoming intertwined to promote the advance of capitalism under the Washington Consensus, having great impact on global governance.
Although city diplomacy does not have clear legal status, cities may participate in international affairs, and incorporate those relationships into local policies. City diplomacy has become an important way to provide global public goods, and play an increasingly important role in institutional change. It is also augmented that cities as are hubs of technological innovation and production can also be the source of a range of risks associated with the use of nuclear materials, greenhouse gas emission, and the like. Managing these risks will trigger new forms of cooperation on the world stage. Cities could also bring moral hazards, in which cities would need to take accountability for their respective global impacts and determine their obligations accordingly. Under this circumstance, national governments should adjust their policymaking processes to incorporate the diplomatic power of their cities.
Cities could also act as agents of knowledge innovation and norms diffusion. Cities may through local-central channels express ideas to the national authorities, and from below draw insights from civil society. Climate change is an good example to illustrate how city networks use its knowledge to influence nation’s norms for acting on low-carbon issues, as well as how it can have other soft impacts within the international system.
Considering China’s rise, the diplomatic power of Beijing, Shanghai, Hong Kong and other major Chinese cities should be recognized by the central government as mechanisms to promote the country’s overall internationalization strategy. Doing so would help nurture and develop China’s strategic resources that have a significant impact on the global system.
Michael Timberlake (University of Utah) (see Sanderson and Timberlake)
Peter J Taylor ( Northumbria University), Ben Derudder (Ghent University), Michael Hoyler (Loughborough University) and Pengfei Ni (Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, Beijing)
“Vital positioning through the World City Network: advanced producer service firms as strategic networks, global Cities as strategic places”
Sassen’s identification of global cities as ‘strategic places’ is explored through world city network analysis. This involves searching out advanced producer service (APS) firms that constitute ‘strategic networks’, from whose activities strategic places can be defined. 25 out of 175 APS firms are found to be strategic and from their office networks, 45 cities out of 526 are designated as strategic places. A measure of ‘strategic-ness’ of cities is devised and individual findings from this are discussed by drawing on existing literature about how APS firms use specific cities. A key finding shows that New York and London have different levels of strategic-ness and this is related to the former’s innovation prowess and the latter’s role in global consumption of services. The strategic-ness of Johannesburg, Mexico City, Palo Alto, and leading Chinese and German cities are also discussed in terms of the balance between production and consumption of advanced producer services.