Institute for Research on World-System University of California, Riverside IROWS Working Paper #1 World State Formation: Historical Processes and Emergent Necessity* A revised version of this paper was published in Political Geography Quarterly, 9,2: 108-30 (April) 1990. Christopher Chase-Dunn ABSTRACT Recent studies of processes operating in the modern world-system imply that the continued existence of the interstate system -- the system of multiple, competing, and unequally powerful states -- may be a luxury which humanity cannot afford. The continuation of the legitimacy of warfare as a method for resolving disputes is incompatible with the survival of our world civilization and perhaps also with the survival of life on Earth. This paper examines theories which purport to explain the longevity and structural basis of the contemporary interstate system. And that discussion has implications for the possibilities of developing a world polity which can prevent the usage of weapons of mass destruction. * I would like to thank Peter Weinstein and Sam Bedinger for their comments and criticisms. Why is it important to once again consider the possibility and desirability of a world state? This is a topic which usually comes up following periods of great conflict among core states. After World War II, in addition to the birth of the United Nations, there was considerable support for a world constitutional convention which would create a true global sovereignty with the power to outlaw warfare among states (Brinton, 1948; Pinder, 1988:119-21). Indeed, Arnold Toynbee (1967) argued that the interstate system and the balance of power mechanism was an "anarchy by treaty" which legitimated warfare as a normal mechanism for resolving disputes, and which would, in combination with modern weapons of mass destruction, destroy our civilization. Toynbee surmised that it might have been preferable in the long run if Napoleon's effort to politically unify the European core states had been successful. Why might such claims be raised again now? Recent research on the relationship between processes of economic growth, warfare, and the rise and fall of hegemonic core powers implies that, despite the enormous destructiveness of modern weaponry, it is entirely possible that hot war might once again break out among core states. Joshua Goldstein's (1988) important study of the relationship between Kondratieff waves, the intensity of warfare, and the rise and fall of hegemons, suggests that the conventional wisdom about the unthinkability of all- out warfare among the "great powers" is based on a misunderstanding of the global political economy, and that indeed, the world will enter into a danger zone in the early decades of the next century. While some recent developments probably lower the probability of warfare within the core, other long-run cyclical processes and trends of the world-system will increase the likelihood of war. Most importantly, the decline of United States hegemony and the return of a multipolar distribution of power among core states destabilizes the interstate system. My own assessment of the combined interaction of these cycles, trends and other recent developments leads me to guess that the probability of future core war may be as high as 50/50 (see Chase-Dunn and O'Reilly, 1989; Bergesen, 1985 and Goldfrank, 1987). If this is so it makes sense to once again consider the desirability, feasibility and likelihood of constructing a world state which would have the ability to outlaw and prevent warfare. In order to understand what reproduces the contemporary interstate system and possible structural tendencies toward global political integration I will review some of the recent comparative research on political integration, state formation, and empire formation. In order to know how our global political economy works we need to compare it to earlier intersocietal systems in order to discover similarities and differences in the processes of political integration. Size and Number of Polities The system of states is taken for granted by observers of modern social order because it has existed and expanded for at least five hundred years in connection with Europe's rise and the formation of a globally integrated political economy. Indeed, Paul Kennedy's (1987) recent historical study of uneven economic development and changes in military technology assumes that the interstate system is a structure which will not change in the future. But a longer-run perspective reveals that a decentralized system of multiple states, and especially such a long-lived one, is an historically constructed institution, not an inevitable, natural or timeless form. Like markets and money, an interstate system is created and sustained by ongoing socio-economic processes. The anthropologist Robert Carneiro (1978) estimates that the main trend over the last ten thousand years has been toward the enlargement of the average size of politically sovereign units and the decrease in the total number of such units (see Figure 1). As paleolithic human groups became less nomadic they settled into politically autonomous villages. As these villages increased in size they would "hive off" and some of the people would migrate to new areas. This process led to the occupation of more and more areas by human societies and to the increase in the number of politically autonomous units. The process of chiefdom formation, which began during the neolithic era with the invention of horticulture, led to the political integration of formerly separate villages. While the hiving off process continued to create new villages in some regions, in other regions the process of chiefdom formation decreased the number and increased the size of politically integrated groups. With the development of irrigated agriculture and urbanization the process of "primary" or "pristine" state formation furthered these trends, and developed the first class-based, state-based societies. This occurred without the influence of already existing states in only a very few places on Earth --Southern Mesopotamia, Egypt, the Indus River valley, China, Mexico and Peru. The coming of the state, a specialized organization monopolizing legitimate violence, and the birth of class society, was accompanied by the emerging dominance of a new mode of production. Stone age villages and chiefdoms were integrated primarily by normative relations of consensually defined rights and obligations, usually organized as kinship relations of sharing and reciprocity. The emergence of class society was accompanied by a new mode of mobilizing social labor, the application of politically organized coercion based on the monopolization of necessary resources by an exploiting class. This state-based mode of production [called the tributary mode by Amin (1980) and Wolf (1982)] was articulated with normative relations, religion and kin-based metaphors, and later with forms of market exchange. But it was the dominant mode of production in all states and empires prior to the emergence of the dominance of capitalism in the Europe-centered world-economy in the sixteenth century AD. The spread of political integration took the form of "secondary state formation" (Price, 1978) and the trend toward larger and fewer political units was continued through the process of empire formation, the unification by conquest of formerly autonomous states. Though this occurred very early in Egypt, we know little about it. The other early case of empire formation occurred in Sumer (Southern Mesopotamia) where an interstate system composed of city-states was conquered by Sargon of Akkad c.2340 BC. Rein Taagepera's (1978) study of the territorial size of empires since the third millennium shows rises and falls over time, and the largest increases come in great jumps which approximate a step function (see Figure 2). Thus the trend toward larger and fewer autonomous political entities is not the smooth curve depicted by Carneiro's estimates. Rather there is both a cycle and a stair-case trend. Empires rise and fall. They are built up by conquests and then they decompose into less centralized forms (either interstate systems or feudal structures based on very small militarily competing units). Some of the upswings of empire formation occur on a much greater scale than ever before, creating political entities vastly larger than any previously existing. The changes in scale are the consequence of changes in the technologies of power (Mann, 1982), increasing economic productivity and economic integration of larger areas. Empires expand over territories in which agricultural intensification has occurred and encompass networks of trade. And the expansion of empires acts to further economic integration by pacifying large areas. Though economic integration and political integration interact positively, political boundaries rarely correspond exactly to the boundaries of economic networks. Empires increased in size in the stair-case fashion, with the very largest being the colonial empires of certain European core states. A single global network of economic exchange eventually emerged, but the world polity remained structured as an interstate system with multiple sovereignties in its core. The decolonization of Africa, Asia and Latin America actually decreased the average size of politically sovereign states. Carneiro (1978) predicts, based on his extrapolation of the trends toward increasing size and decreasing number of politically autonomous units on Earth over the last two thousand years, that global state formation will almost certainly occur sometime during the next millennium, and most probably by about AD 2300. This prediction assumes, however, that we are able to prevent nuclear annihilation before that time. Carneiro's method ignores the smaller ups and downs, the stair-case nature of the trend, and the important differences between processes of political integration across different types of society and modes of production. Though his description of the broad trends of political development is roughly accurate, his explanation, a general evolutionary "principle of competitive exclusion," ignores important changes in the processes of political centralization/decentralization which have occurred over time. Very long run comparisons are helpful in order to understand the ways in which the modern world-system is similar to, or different from, earlier intersocietal systems. I argue below that the contemporary structural characteristics and dynamic processes which reproduce warfare are fundamental features of the systemic logic of the contemporary world-system, and therefore we need to understand how modes of production (fundamental systemic logics) have been transformed in the past in order to approach the problem of future transformation in more than a utopian fashion. All this implies a closer look at the cycles and trends of political centralization in the rise and fall of chiefdoms, states and empires. First let me clear up some matters of terminology. In what follows I will use the language of the world-system perspective with a few minor alterations. Thus, an interstate system is a set of interacting and competing states in which no single state is capable of dominating all the others. An empire is a state apparatus which overarches formerly sovereign states. A world-system is a network of material exchanges and political-military interactions among societies in which the processes of development are substantially self-contained. Thus a world-system may be organized politically as an interstate system or an empire, or it may contain more than one empire if they are economically interlinked and/or regularly engaged in political-military competition. State- based world-systems all have core/periphery hierarchies in which "more developed" core regions interact with "less developed" peripheral regions, but the nature of these core/periphery hierarchies differ across world-systems. Interstate systems differ with regard to the type of states involved, and the relative distribution of economic and military power among the constituent states. In the modern world-system we speak of the rise and fall of hegemons, which means that the core of the interstate system is sometimes dominated by a single hegemon (a situation which is termed "unicentric"), and at other times power is more evenly distributed ("multicentric"). But interstate systems are always more multicentric than empires. A world- system may also be composed of more than one empire, or of one empire and a number of smaller states. Central Civilization An important recent contribution which brings a broad set of comparisons to bear on contemporary world politics is that of David Wilkinson (1983, 1984, 1985, 1986a, 1986b, 1987). Wilkinson digests the literature on rosters of civilizations in a way which produces a sensible and useful chronograph of the emergence of what he calls "Central Civilization." His definition of world-system boundaries is based on sustained political-military competition. In this he differs from those civilizationists who define their units in terms of cultural homogeneity. Using the criterion of sustained political/military interaction, Wilkinson paints with some detail the linkages formed over the last 5000 years by which twelve separate urbanized civilizations became merged into a single global world-system. Wilkinson explicitly does not utilize boundaries based on networks of material exchange. Consideration of this other important criterion of world-system boundaries would substantially alter both the broad outlines and the details of the picture which he paints. Wilkinson (1983) carefully distinguishes between "states systems" -- what I have above called interstate systems -- and "universal empires," a situation in which a single empire has conquered all significant opposing states within the boundaries of the existing world-system. Using these two types, he creates a roster of states systems and universal empires and maps them onto his civilizational chronograph to determine their frequency and longevity. By his count there have been about twenty-three universal empires with an average duration of around 200 years each, and thirty-two states systems, and though there are uncertainties, Wilkinson (1986a:3) supposes that "States-systems seem on the whole to be longer-lived than universal empires." Though Wilkinson prudently refuses to estimate the durations of seventeen of the states systems, usually because of uncertainty regarding the dating of their beginnings, he does estimate the longevity of fifteen of them (Wilkinson, 1986a:Table 2). These vary in length from 60 to l748 years, with the average being about 380 years. The most long-lived states system is the contemporary one, which Wilkinson dates as beginning with the fall of the Roman universal empire in AD 235. In a study entitled "The kinematics of world-systems" Wilkinson (1984) uses his chronograph to evaluate the proposals of several comparative civilizationists with regard to the transitions between states systems and universal empires. He concludes that Toynbee's revised contentions are supported: "The early political forms of civilizations are states systems ...; universal empires are distributed more toward the later epochs. But states systems may recur at any time in a civilization's lifespan... Although they will ordinarily be displaced in due course by a universal state ..., most states systems so abolished are in time re-established..., if only then to be re- abolished..." (1984:9). In other words, world-systems alternate back and forth between states systems and universal empires. Wilkinson then goes on in a series of papers which consider the factors involved in these transitions, and the conditions which facilitate the longevity of both states systems and universal empires. Of most relevance here are his conclusions regarding the conditions promoting the stability of states systems: an open frontier, population mobility, cultural heterogeneity, and cheap and defensive military technology. Broken topography can form barriers to the exercise of long-range political domination and facilitate the formation of new states beyond the reach of a power center. Carneiro (1970) and others (Mann, 1986) have described a condition of territorial "circumscription" which was important to the formation of primary states based on irrigation in river valleys. Outmigration by groups seeking to "hive off" was prevented by surrounding territories incompatible with the new form of agricultural production. This kind of barrier is important to the process of political centralization, but changes in productive and transportation technology alter the dimensions of such barriers. New forms of communication, integration, and military organization change the spatial limits of power. Wilkinson also discusses the general consequences of states systems: rapid innovation, preservation of sociocultural heterogeneity, and relatively higher levels of warfare. Universal empires are seen as repressive, less innovative, homogenizing, and relatively pacific. The core of states systems are defined as an oligarchy of five or ten "great powers," some of which sometimes obtain the status of "dominant power." A dominant power is "a Great Power which either seems to be nearly able to dominate all other states, including the other Great Powers, or to be trying to do so, or both" (Wilkinson, 1985:22). Wilkinson's work is important for a number of reasons. He certainly confronts the big questions. His perspective is sufficiently broad and generalizing to confront the problem of similarities and differences between the modern world-system and earlier world-systems directly. Because of his long- run scope of comparison he is able to conceive of fundamental structural alternatives to the contemporary interstate system. There are, however, some matters of theoretical emphasis which cause important aspects to be overlooked. Modes of Production A minor quibble is based on Wilkinson's sharp dichotomy between universal empires and states systems. By showing that interstate systems before the contemporary one have often been long-lived, Wilkinson rightly counteracts the implications of Wallerstein's typology of world-empires and world- economies, which implies that earlier interstate systems were only very temporary structures on the way to world-empires. For Wallerstein only the contemporary interstate system is a stable political structure, and thus the modern world-system is the only stable "world-economy," defined as a world-system with an interstate system rather than a single overarching empire (which Wallerstein calls a "world- empire"). While I think that Wallerstein's insights about the relationship between capitalism and the interstate system are correct (see below), it is incorrect to deny the existence of earlier, fairly stable and long-lived interstate systems (see e.g. Modelski, 1964 and Walker, 1953). On the other hand, Wilkinson may well go too far in the other direction because of the way in which he has defined universal empires. Imagine that there is really a continuum of possible degrees of concentration of power within a world-system, with a single centralized empire at one extreme and a very decentralized feudal structure at the other. In between really multicentric states systems and universal empires there are cases in which there are two big empires interacting, one large empire and one or more states, and etc. I suspect that several of the cases which Wilkinson has classified as states systems are rather cases of this latter kind. In other words he has dichotomized close to the universal empire extreme, whereas if he trichotomized he would find fewer really multicentric interstate systems like the modern one. This would probably lower his count of states systems and his estimate of their average longevity, and it would emphasize somewhat more the longevity of the contemporary interstate system. This is only a minor problem. More fundamental is the following. Wilkinson does not see that differences across time in the importance of different modes of production affect the processes of political integration, and he emphasizes political-military power as the major form of domination in all socio-economic systems. Since he excludes stateless, classless societies from the category of civilizations there is no need to deal with the kin-based mode of production and the rise and fall of chiefdoms. There is no discussion of the effects which capitalism has on political integration. It is as if the game of competition, conflict and cooperation had not changed its fundamental structure in any way which would significantly effect the processes of political centralization/decentralization. The consequences of this state-centric theoretical approach are many. Wilkinson's list of the sequence of "dominant powers" since AD 235 in the states system of Central Civilization (Wilkinson, 1985: Table 4) has some important differences from the rosters produced by other analysts of the hegemonic sequence. To his credit, the temporal scope and the list of dominant powers is consistent with his clearly stated theoretical premises, which makes it easy to see what has been done and to find fault with it. I agree completely with the temporal scope of the comparison, and with the description of Central Civilization as being a larger unit of which Europe was a part (see also Abu-Lughod, 1989). Most theorists begin their analysis of this system later because they have inherited a Eurocentric view of history which defines the "Orient" as a backward region of despotism, and Europe as the birthplace of freedom. To his credit, Wilkinson is sensitive to this issue of civilizational ideology, stemming from Herodotus, Montesquieu, and to be found even in the works of some neo-Marxists such as Perry Anderson (1974b). I would only add that we should study Europe's involvement in larger economic networks as well as its political/military interactions. A social scientific reason to focus on Europe, rather than one based on civilizational prejudice, has to do with the fact that capitalism first became dominant within a regional core in Europe. It was this -- the growth of market forces, the commodification of land, labor and wealth -- which enabled Europe to outgrow and outshoot the empires of the East. In these empires there had been capitalism too, but though market forces and merchant wealth sometimes challenged the political arrangements, they had not been able to obtain sufficient political power within the semi-commercialized empires to institutionalize commodity production as the major mode of accumulating wealth. Politics remained in command. The exceptions were autonomous city states usually in semiperipheral regions or in the interstices between empires. In these -- Dilmun, Assur, Byblos, Sidon, Tyre, Carthage, Venice, Genoa, the Hansa cities, Malaka, etc.--merchant and production capitalists held state power, but their states operated in a terrain still dominated by tributary empires or feudal polities. I partly disagree with Wilkinson's explanation of the longevity of the states system in Central Civilization. He correctly points to the usual conditions which are favorable to states systems: broken terrain and fine- grained ecology, an open frontier with easy escape, and cultural heterogeneity. He adds an additional factor, an institutionalized reaction to threats to sovereignty which has taken the form of a counter- strategy -- the Grand Alliance. Wilkinson observes that the most frequent method by which dominant powers have created universal empires is what he calls a "duck shoot." The "rogue" dominant state picks off the other Great Powers one by one, taking care not to attack on too many fronts at once. The counter- strategy is for the other Great Powers to come to the aid of the one that has been attacked. This is, of course, the balance of power mechanism, which for Wilkinson is not simply a timeless game-theoretic logic of multipolar competition in which alliances are allowed, but is rather a culturally learned and institutionalized response. It is alleged that this counter-intervention strategy, backed up by the willingness of the other powers to engage in "General War" in order to prevent a dominant rogue from absorbing one of the sovereign great powers, is an institution which is unique to the modern European states system, and which is a major factor accounting for its longevity. The longevity of the interstate system of central civilization must, in my view, be explained by different factors over time. If we follow Wilkinson's dates, the period from 235 AD to the l2th century was a period of devolution of political power and of economic networks in Europe and the geographical shift of dominant state power "back East". According to Pirenne (1980) the decline of the European economy didn't really come about until the rise of Islam turned the Mediterranean into a "Moslem Lake," cutting off the long distance trade of Europe with the East. Political and economic involution in Europe led to the "manorial economy," and feudalism, a very decentralized version of the tributary mode of production. This was based on a synthesis of Roman and Teutonic cultural institutions (Anderson, 1974a), and was fertile soil for the growth of capitalist trade and production when the long distance trade started up again. The very decentralization of the polity and the "parcellization of sovereignty" (Anderson, 1974a) created great latitude for market forces and frequent interstices within which merchants and commodity producers could find political protection. Many of the medieval cities of Europe were similar to the merchant city-states of old, except that the tributary mode of production within which they operated was itself fragmented and unable to repress the growth of merchant wealth or to prevent the escape of serfs to the cities. The social inventions which make capitalist commodity production possible -- money, credit, commodified labor, price- setting markets, contract law, etc. -- were present within the semi-commercialized tributary empires, especially the Roman Empire, but they had not dominated the logic of production and reproduction as they were to do once imported and planted in the fertile and unconstrained soil of medieval Europe. There had been feudalism in other places at other times without the florescence of capitalism. Mann (1986) has claimed that the cultural integration of elites by the ideology and organization of Christendom provided a "normative pacification" which facilitated the development of market forces and agricultural technology. But earlier interstate systems and feudal structures had shared religious ideologies, and though this may facilitate communication, cooperation and alliances, these effects do not lead to exceptionally strong market forces in the absence of opportunities for long distance trade or the other institutional elements necessary for a market economy. It was the semiperipheral position of certain regions within Europe in Central Civilization and the larger multicentric Eurasian prestige goods economy (in which commercialized relations and the institutional and cultural artifacts of capitalism had already been developed), which made it possible for capitalism to become a dominant regional mode of production for the first time. European feudalism, unlike earlier decentralized polities, was in the right place at the right time. It was the growth of capitalism which provided the resources which enabled kings to centralize power sufficiently to create the European states, and thus the European interstate system. The first part of the "longevity of the states system" in Central Civilization since the fall of Rome was thus a period in which parts of Europe became semiperipheral relative to the core states of Byzantium, the Arab Caliphates, and the Islamic Empires. This was followed by a period which saw the upward mobility of parts of Europe based on the development of market forces, the strengthening of the European states, and the creation of a regional interstate system with several core nation-states at its center. The continuing stability of the interstate system in the Europe-centered world-system has been primarily based on the effects which the institutions of capitalism have on the process of the rise and fall of hegemonic core powers. Capitalist commodity production allows owners of capital to accumulate wealth by the production and sale of commodities. This form of accumulation has different implications for the activities of states than does the tributary mode of production, in which political organization itself is the most central institution which facilitates accumulation. In societies dominated by the tributary mode, the state and state-enforced monopolies and relations of production (serfdom, slavery, helotry, etc.) are used to gather tribute and/or taxes. If markets and commodity production exist, they are usually articulated with, and dominated by, the logic of political competition and state-based coercion. Success in such a system goes to those who are best able to organize institutions of political power and coercion. Historical capitalism is not a system in which state power is abolished or in which states never interfere with market forces. Rather it is a system in which the most successful competitors use state power to facilitate capitalist accumulation. This does not mean that taxation and tribute are abolished, but rather that they are utilized to support the search for profit-making opportunities in the world market. The capitalist state is not a state which is uniformly controlled by capitalists, nor is it a state which never interferes with market forces. The most successful states, those that have become hegemons, often use state-based coercion both to reproduce the institutional basis for capitalist accumulation and to extend the opportunities of national capitalists to make profits elsewhere. The "ideal" of the laissez faire state has never existed except as a political ideology which one group of capitalists has used against an older group with more state-supported privileges. Even the most successful capitalist states have systematically used state power to create and sustain conditions for profitable accumulation. Free trade is the ideology of successful hegemonic powers who have a significant comparative advantage in production costs. But to get to that position every upwardly mobile country has engaged in protection of those strategic industrial sectors which would otherwise perish from the competition of imports. I do not argue that every state in the Europe- centered world-economy is a capitalist state, but rather that the logic of capitalist accumulation has become increasingly significant as a determinant of state policy, and that the most successful states have been the ones which have bent state power to the purposes of gain through production and trade. A relevant distinction which is often made in histories of the European interstate system is between those states which pursue a "continental" policy and those which pursue a "maritime" one. Thus Venice, Portugal, the Netherlands and Britain are said to have used their naval power at the behest of international trade, while the Habsburgs, France, and Germany pursued a policy of attempting to conquer neighboring territory. The "continental" strategy can in some ways be understood as a throwback to the tributary mode of production, an approach which was successful in transforming many precapitalist world-systems into universal empires. As a result of his emphasis on military power alone, and his definition of a dominant power as one that is trying to take over other core states, Wilkinson ends up with a rather unusual roster of the sequence of dominant powers in Central Civilization. Though his list is not restricted to the state that is most powerful at any one point in time, he still does not consider Portugal or the Netherlands to have been dominant powers. Germany, Japan and the Soviet Union are classified as dominant powers. Wilkinson is not considering states whose power was primarily naval. Thus his list ignores precisely those types of power which have been the most significant in differentiating the modern world-system from earlier tributary world-systems. Perhaps, because he is looking for states that might try to transform the interstate system into a universal empire, he focuses on those states that have engaged in aggressive land wars. The Hegemonic Sequence Modelski and Thompson's (1988) roster of "world powers" similarly ignores any consideration of modes of production. They focus exclusively on "global reach," the ability to project power over great distances by controlling the seas. "Continental" efforts are defined as local or regional conflicts which are alleged to be irrelevant to the struggle for power at the top level of the international system, a struggle which is fought out between navies. Even though Modelski and Thompson are not concerned with the development of world capitalism they produce a sequence of "system leaders" which is quite similar to Wallerstein's designation of hegemons. This is because of the interaction between their focus on seapower and the maritime strategy of accumulation through trade. Control of trade routes has been important in all state-based world-systems, but once capitalism becomes the dominant mode of production the strategy of avoiding the overhead costs of direct political domination while gathering wealth by means of commodity production makes control of the cheapest form of transportation -- shipping --crucial to success. Thus seapower becomes the most important form of power in the world market. The Dutch, British and American hegemonies have been based on their unusually strong development of commodity production within the home market and for export. State power has always required "economic" resources, but these resources have most successfully been acquired in the modern world-system by utilizing state power to facilitate profitable commodity production. While capitalist states, in the above sense, had existed before, they had always been minor players in a larger arena. The Dutch hegemony was the first time a capitalist state was also a great power in the core of a regional interstate system. Certainly the United Provinces of the Netherlands was not the kind of "dominant power" that Wilkinson has in mind. It was rather a maritime and naval hegemon pursuing the strategy of profitable trade, production and investment. The Dutch case may be seen as intermediate in the transition from Venice to Great Britain and on to the United States. The size of the home market of the hegemon has increased dramatically as a proportion of the whole world market. The process of the rise and fall of hegemons is a feature of the modern world-system which distinguishes it from earlier world-systems. In addition to the "duck shoot" pattern, Wilkinson finds that in six of the twenty cases in which a states systems was transformed into a universal empire there was a pattern of "prefounders" in which "one Dominant Power began a process of attack, conquest and annexation; but partway through what looked like a successful cursus another power overtook, overcame and annexed the first, and then went on to complete the unification process which its victim had begun" (Wilkinson, 1985:29). In the recent history of Central Civilization the process of uneven development and challenges to the interstate system has been different. The most successful states in the modern world- system have not tried to create a universal empire and this is a major difference from precapitalist systems which needs to be explained. The three hegemons (Netherlands, United Kingdom, United States) have acted to support and maintain the interstate system, even during their periods of decline. The challenges to the interstate system have come from certain other upwardly mobile states trying to aggrandize their standing by taking over other core states. Wallerstein (1974) argues that the Habsburg attempt in the l6th century to dominate the European core was an effort to transform the nascent capitalist world-economy into a world-empire, but Kennedy (1987:35) argues that "despite the occasional rhetoric of some Habsburg ministers about a 'world monarchy,' there was no conscious plan to dominate Europe in the manner of Napoleon or Hitler." Indeed, the Habsburg approach to expansion was primarily based on alliances cemented by marriage, a form of political expansion more akin to chiefdom-formation than to the military conquests which formed the tributary empires. If this was the last gasp of the tributary mode of production in Europe, it was a weak gasp. The same cannot be said for Napoleon or Hitler. They do fit Wilkinson's criterion of intention to create a universal empire. But they lost and the interstate system was saved because they were unable to overcome the resistance of the economically strongest countries, and because they were unable to rally sufficient support from other states. Why are the strongest states in the modern world-system -- the hegemons -- uninterested in conquering other core states? Part of the reason is that these are the most capitalist states in the sense that the national capitalists who control the state gain and sustain their wealth primarily through commodity production. Freedom of trade and the ability to move capital from less profitable to more profitable investments are very important to capitalists. The interstate system allows for capital mobility and prevents a centralized global state from exerting political control over investment decisions. Thus I have argued that the interstate system is a necessary structural basis for the capitalist mode of production (Chase-Dunn, 1989a). It is not hard to understand why a rising hegemon supports the interstate system, but what about a declining one? Shouldn't there be a temptation toward universal empire in a situation where other core powers are gaining a competitive advantage in production but the old hegemon still has a preponderance of military power? Indeed a number of observers have noted that declining hegemons do try to prop up their position by expending more resources on arms (Thompson, 1989; Goldstein, 1988; Kennedy, 1987), a response which often simply exacerbates their economic decline. But a military buildup is not necessarily an effort to conquer other core states. It is striking that no hegemon has ever undertaken a course toward direct global rule, despite the opportunities which have existed following world wars in which more aggressive states have been defeated. The most important reason for the lack of interest shown by declining hegemons toward universal empire is that the institutions of international capital investment make it possible for the dominant capitalist groups within declining hegemons to spread their capital into those rising powers which would needs be conquered in order to form a world empire. This also is part of the explanation for the vacillation of declining hegemons regarding tariff protection and a rationalized national industrial policy. With their capital now invested where profits are higher, in other states and in international finance, the capitalists within the hegemon are uninterested in either world domination or costly efforts to rehabilitate the declining national economy of the hegemonic state. This is one of the main reasons why decline is not reversible. This explanation for the stability of the interstate system need not exclude the possibility that "world culture" and the institutions of diplomacy may have also played a stabilizing role. It may be, however, that the more complete institutionalization of the balance of power mechanism in the modern interstate system stems, at least in part, from the nature of the dominant mode of production and the desiderata of the most powerful class. Wilkinson's critique of the Wallersteinian meaning of hegemony (Wilkinson, 1988) is revealing about his own perspective. He radically separates the economic aspects of domination from the political/military aspects. Indeed, his conception of economic centrality does not involve any notion of domination. He calls those states that are economically advanced "forereachers." These are states which have a "great productive, commercial, and financial competitive edge, profitability, wealth, and prosperity relative to the other states in a system" (Wilkinson, 1988:39). It is implied that, as in neo- classical economics, there is no exploitation involved in such advantages. This kind of status is contrasted with Wilkinsonian hegemony, which means the ability to have one's way in political matters, "unquestioned supremacy, a really great margin of power over other states, the ability (unequivocally demonstrable only by the act) of imposing its rules and its wishes throughout the system" (Wilkinson, 1988:39). Having defined economic and political-military hierarchy thus, then Wilkinson goes on to show that the Netherlands, Great Britain and the United States were never hegemonic (in his sense) over other core powers. His definition of hegemonic is much stronger than his definition of "dominant power" -- both the USA and Great Britain manage to make it into that category. The exceedingly strong definition of hegemony applies only to those dominant powers who are on the road to universal empire, and thus it is completely inappropriate to the modern world-system. But that only brings us back to the question as to why that is so. I have already outlined my answer above. To summarize this first section: -- a long term view of the development of political integration leads to the prediction that a world state will emerge at some time in the next millennium unless there is a global disaster. -- the development of political organization has been cyclical and stair-like, with an oscillation between interstate systems and universal empires. -- this pattern has significantly altered with the coming to dominance of capitalism such that the most successful states are no longer the ones seeking to create universal empires. Even declining hegemonic core states support the multicentric interstate system because of the way in which opportunities for capitalist accumulation affect the motivations and political activities of the most powerful and wealthy groups within them. A World State? What are the implications of the above for the prospects of an emerging world state? I have already indicated that I believe that a world state has become a necessity. In order for our species to survive we must soon devise a way to control the use of weapons of mass extermination. The argument that these weapons are so destructive that they prevent their own use ignores the previous history of the use of weapons of "unthinkable" destructive power in World Wars I and II. The fact that there has been no war amongst core states since 1945 does not prove that the nuclear stalemate prevents such warfare. Immensely destructive wars have rarely followed upon one another closely. Rather, as Goldstein (1988) has conclusively shown, there has been a cycle of war severity (the number of battle deaths per year) with an approximately sixty year period which has operated in the European interstate system since AD 1495. The decline of United States hegemony is likely to continue to the point that the interstate system will be seriously destabilized. The continuation of the Kondratieff wave of economic boom and bust and other trends will create a situation in which the great powers are again likely to engage in warfare with one another (Chase-Dunn and O'Reilly, 1989). Goldstein (1988) shows that, contrary to what many world-system scholars have supposed, intense core wars are more likely to occur during the later period of Kondratieff upswings than during downswings. The next upswing, due to begin in the 1990s, will see increased tensions, but the remaining hegemony of the US will probably delay severe tensions. The coming of a much more multicentric distribution of economic and political/military power toward the end of the upswing in the second decade of the next century will be the most critical period of vulnerability. Recent steps toward negotiated disarmament between the great powers is certainly good news, but treaties are almost certain to be broken when tensions increase. A more stable guarantor of peace would be a world confederation of states with the power to inspect the military forces of single states and to overcome by force any force which might be brought against it. How big the armed forces of the world state would need to be is a function of how large the remaining nation-state forces are. If these are reduced in size, the size of the federal peace-keeping force could also be reduced. Admittedly the prospect of additional concentration of power in a world in which power is already concentrated is a somewhat frightening prospect. Undoubtedly there would be potential for abuse. On the other hand, the glorious freedoms produced by the interstate system have been overrated by the liberal internationalists. I do not advocate order for its own sake, nor do I believe that the State is the most perfect expression of human reason. These beliefs are not required in order to see that we may have reached a point at which the freedom to make war is far too costly. But what would be the minimal necessary institution which could prevent warfare? Obviously such an institution would need to be able to control the production of large scale weapons of mass destruction and to be able to counter with force any illegal use of force. This describes a state -- an institution which controls legitimate violence. Such an institution need not impose cultural uniformity. It need not centralize decision-making over most realms of life. It is quite compatible, in principle, with consumer sovereignty, and the private or nation-state control of major investment decisions. It would require some power of taxation, but that could be constitutionally limited to the purpose of supporting the bare necessities of collective security. That such a constitutionally minimalist world government might pose a threat to desireable freedoms at some point in the future I can admit. But the finality of species annihilation certainly outweighs this possibility. Let us hope that we have the opportunity to campaign for civil liberties in a future world state. How might such a world state come about? Obviously the major pattern of the past, conquest by a rising dominant power, is impossible under contemporary conditions. Paul Kennedy (1987) implies that future warfare among the great powers might be limited to "conventional" weapons, but can anyone imagine that nuclear weapons would not be used if available to a state which was losing such a war? If warfare could be bounded by such good sportsmanship we would already be much closer to a world society free from the threat of annihilation. It is significant that no known whole world- system has been politically unified by a process of confederation. All universal empires have been formed by conquest. The confederations of formerly sovereign states, and indeed most alliances between states, have occurred in the context of a larger system in which confederation was undertaken as response to external threat. As Ernst Haas (1966:107) says, "Fear of a common enemy is an absolutely necessary precondition for integration of military organizations: without the Soviet Union there would have been no NATO." If world state formation by conquest is now out of the question because of the immense destructiveness of weaponry, we must examine the possibilities for peaceful confederation. The fact that this has never occurred at the level of a whole system before implies that the historical cases may have only tangential implications regarding the problems which will be encountered in the effort to create a global confederation. But the long-run comparisons are still important because they enable us to see clearly the differences as well as the similarities. One major difference between confederations of the past and a future global confederation is the matter of external threat. States have managed to act in concert in the face of either threats of conquest or economic domination. The integration process in Europe has been influenced by both factors, but economic competition has recently become the most salient. Single European states do not have "home markets" large enough to be able to compete for a larger share of core production in the capitalist world-economy given the scale of production in leading industries. This motive for confederation might encourage regional alliances elsewhere, but it is unlikely to lead to a global state. If the trend toward regional confederations were to spread, and if this proceeded beyond customs unions toward actual unification of political-military apparatuses, the outcome would be an interstate system composed of larger states, not a global state. Nevertheless, the experiences of institution- building in the EEC and other regions have some lessons which are relevant to the politics of global confederation. As Haas (1966:119-29) points out, many of the conditions, including external, cultural and political homogeneity, convergent economic interests, etc. which encourage regional integration, are nonexistent or far weaker at the global level. While the United Nations has been somewhat successful in global institution-building around some issues, it has been much less successful at others, especially the most crucial ones involving collective security, arms control and UN peace-keeping forces. Haas (1966) also surmised that future UN potential successes in the area of promoting national economic development might actually exacerbate the problem of international organization by creating stronger, more autarchic and politically independent national economies. Written in the 1960s, this prediction seems anachronistic now. The success stories in national development have not been primarily due to UN efforts, and while UN efforts in the realm of international trade and investment do still seem stronger than in the realm of military integration, the striking thing now is how little recent progress has been made in any problem area. Indeed, with the decline of US hegemony, international economic stagnation, monetary disorder, Third World debt, and pressures toward protectionism the UN seems to have a smaller role than it did in the earlier period of expansion. This was becoming evident even before the attacks by the Reagan administration. As with earlier international organizations (the Concert of Europe, the League of Nations), the United Nations flourished in the period following hegemonic war and then declined as the interstate system became more multicentric. But this has been more an upward spiral than a cycle. The United Nations is certainly better organized, better supported, and more extensively and effectively involved in international relations than its forbearers. Nevertheless the process of relative decline which they experienced is obviously occurring with it as well. The trends and cycles of the capitalist world- economy are slowly creating a more and more centrally unified world polity. The transnationalization of capital, growing international economic interdependence, and greater need for global economic and ecological coordination would probably create a world state eventually. The problem is that these cycles and trends have always involved wars among core states. We can not hope for additional global state formation following another core war because one more core war is likely to be the last. Instead, the world-system cycles must be transformed. What are the other implications of the long term analysis presented above? Carneiro's theory of primary state formation is based on the "circumscription" hypothesis. People will run away from increased political centralization and hierarchy if they have an alternative. Part of the motivation to stick it out is positive and part is negative. The peasants of the Sumerian core states could have run off into the desert, and some probably did. But for most the life of a peasant in an agricultural economy was preferable to the nomadic pastoralism which would have been their lot if they had chosen to leave. Circumscription in the global political economy is much more complete. For the present and the medium-run future there are no more frontiers. Even New Zealand is likely to succumb to the nuclear winter. Our escapes are constrained to the realm of fantasy. This entrapment ought to be a powerful motive for devising a way to construct a world state and for mobilizing the political power necessary to protect us from ourselves. The problem here is that the topic is hard to keep in mind for long because it is so painful. It is far easier to contemplate the distant past or an imaginary future. The psychology of escape dilutes the potential impact of the circumscription factor. This is a problem which has been confronted to some extent by those who focus on the psychology of imaging a peaceful future (see Frank, 1962; Boulding, 1988). As with other topics which stimulate high anxiety, it is best approached in manageable bits. The most common response is to turn away, to deny, to focus on the children or the coming of Spring. Wilkinson will point out that universal empires are not forever. The average longevity he found was about two hundred years. Even a confederation, which will be more legitimate than any conquest empire, will probably not last forever. This prospect is somewhat disturbing because the weapons of mass destruction may be dismantled, but the knowledge of how to build them will be maintained, and even more destructive technologies will be invented. In some future interstate system these will likely be employed. The global state will only have to last long enough for our species to spread to other planets and to create self-sustaining environments. Then, at least, an Earthly holocaust will not eliminate us all. This avenue of escape will not be available prior to the next window of vulnerability, however. A global state which became effective within the next twenty years and remained effective for at least l00 years would probably do the job. Political Strategies In such an urgent situation the minimalist approach mentioned above would seem to recommend itself. Do only what is necessary. Mobilize the broadest constituency possible. Don't tag on anything which might slow things down or provide a basis for resistance from any quarter. But the structural analysis of the world-system implies that the world population is not likely to be homogenous with respect to its propensity to support a world state. And a "lowest common denominator" appeal may not appeal to anyone. My explanation of the reproduction of the interstate system focuses on capitalism. Others have claimed that capitalism is the basis of modern warfare, but my reconceptualization of the nature of the capitalist mode of production as it operates in the global political economy (See Chase-Dunn 1989a: Chapter l) points to some new aspects. While capitalism is not the pacific mode of production described by Schumpeter (1955) and others, it does prevent the formation of a world state by providing an alternative form of accumulation. This, ironically, reproduces the structural basis and legitimacy of warfare. The dynamics of the capitalist world-economy produce the cycle of war among core states. Transformation But is it necessary to transform the mode of production in order to interrupt this cycle and to create a world state? This is an important question because it may be much harder to transform the capitalist mode of production than to reform it, especially within the relevant time frame. The minimalist strategy might be able to mobilize capitalists and core states, while a more radical solution will engender their opposition. While the radical approach may be more appealing to some workers and some non-core states, it could exacerbate the tensions which raise the probability of core war. If there is a tradeoff between peace (survival) and justice, most would favor the former. No one has a long run interest in species suicide, but short run interests will undoubtedly stand in the way of creating a world state. The optimal political strategy needs to take into consideration the current ideological and interest structures as well as the organizational requirements necessary to prevent core war. In order to answer the question about reform or transformation we need to know more about the possibilities for transformation. Transformation to what? Is it possible to have a capitalist world state? Is the only alternative some new version of a tributary world empire? What is the difference between a tributary state and a socialist world government? A world state in which capitalism continued to be the dominant mode of production would be likely to move in the direction of socialism because movements which arise in opposition to capitalist exploitation would focus on a single political apparatus. In the interstate system such movements focus on the national state. The possibility of capital flight from successful political claims or wage gains operates as job blackmail on workers and fiscal blackmail on state managers. Nation-states in which workers organizations or other movements (ecological groups, etc.) successfully place constraints on capital usually find themselves at a competitive disadvantage in the larger international political economy. This pits workers and their political representatives in different nations against one another. In a world state, even a limited confederation, international standards and global collective rationality would eventually place constraints on capital mobility and move in the direction of socialism. Of course constraints on capital mobility would also be a feature of a tributary world empire. One big difference between the interstate system and an empire is that monopolies are usually temporary and limited to political subdivisions in an interstate system. A single overarching state apparatus makes system-wide monopolies possible. Politics rather than commodity production is the main game, and innovations in productive technology are less rewarded. So what is the difference between a tributary and a socialist state? Wilkinson (1988), following Quigley (1961) and Wittfogel, equates the two. Politics is in command. Markets may exist, but they operate within bounds set by political relations. Tributary states, however, operate on the basis of institutionalized coercion which facilitates class exploitation and domination, while a truly socialist state is democratic, collectively rational and egalitarian. Collective rationality involves the planning of major investments for balanced development, and the planners need to be accountable to democratic controls. The feasibility of such a global political structure is enhanced by developments in communications technology and planning tools such as linear programming. Obviously a socialist world government would threaten many current holders of wealth and power. But it would be a great improvement over the contemporary system for the great majority of the human population. It would not be necessary or desireable to overcentralize. Markets are useful mechanisms for many purposes, and local and state political authorities could remain responsible for many functions. My vision is close to Galtung's (1980) multilevel, self-reliant, culturally pluralistic, minimally centralized system with a world level of government to guarantee the peace and to facilitate more balanced development. This would not be the end of history, but continuing struggles among interest groups would be carried out in ways that do not threaten the survival of the species. Reform While I think that a socialist transformation is feasible (and desireable), it may not be possible within the relevant time frame outlined above. Thus we also need to more closely examine the possibilities for reform. Obviously some reform in the right direction is possible. Recent moves in the direction of disarmament prove this. The superpowers have an interest in reducing the cost of the arms race. How far this can go is the question. A negotiated disarmament among great powers would certainly make it harder for war to break out, but would not provide the safeguards needed to prevent rearmament in a period of renewed tensions. Capitalism itself has created the technologies which facilitate global political integration. Cheap transportation and communications, as well as the long-run trend toward economic interdependence are factors in favor of a world state. I have argued elsewhere (Chase-Dunn, 1989a: Chapter 5) that the interstate system tends to reproduce nationalism and national culture, and thereby undercuts the formation of world culture. Nevertheless, there is a growing level of global consensual culture, and, though this has not played much of a role in the processual dynamics of the world-system so far, its future importance is increased by the necessity of a consensual approach to global state formation. This makes the analysis of what Augelli and Murphy (1988) call "international civil society," the non-governmental international organizations which try to formulate global ideological consensus, extremely important. What about the possibility of a global capitalist state? It is implicit in what I have said above that I do not think such a structure would be very stable. Once workers, environmentalists, etc. begin to orient their political activities toward a single center capital's avenues of escape will narrow. On the other hand, we can imagine features of a possible world state which would facilitate the continued operation of capitalism. A world federation which was constitutionally limited from interfering with major investment decisions and which left labor and environmental legislation to the constituent substates would continue to be a structure in which job blackmail could operate. This can be seen in existing nation-states with a federal structure. But once the possibility of concerted political action at the global level exists I believe that a trend in the direction of further collective rationality will operate. The politics of socialism will no longer be so easily disrupted by nationalism and capital flight. There is a huge literature on international "regimes," transnational relations, international organization and institution-building at the global level which is relevant to the topic of possible reforms which could lead to the strengthening of the United Nations. The need for the World Court and international law to be provided with "teeth" is well known. The extent to which the UN's own constitutional structure is a limitation on further strengthening is less often discussed. Formed during a period of decolonization and the ascendancy of international liberalism, the UN Charter sanctifies nation-state sovereignty to an extent which fetters further centralization to some extent. It is a compromise between the Grand Alliance and a real world state. Thus part of what needs reforming is the UN itself. Multilateral negotiations over "international regimes" show that there are structural factors in the distribution of support for truly collective global approaches. Stephen Krasner's (1985) study of four major issue areas is interpreted as revealing a pattern of "the Third World against global liberalism." But, as with the politics of other stratified polities, the actors with fewer resources support a centralized regulatory and universalist approach, while the most powerful and wealthy actors support a "liberal" approach controlled by those who have the ability to pay. The rub here is that the least powerful are the most likely to support strengthening the UN, while the most powerful are the least likely. And, as is obvious, when the one nation/one vote principle begins to strongly influence the organizational activities of the UN agencies, the "great powers" will pick up their marbles and go home. The path of enhancing the formal controls of the most powerful states over the UN does not work because it is these states that are most resistant to increased centralization of power. Implications What is the way out? Even the reformist path seems to have major obstacles. It is ironic that the very structures which have been created in the past to move toward world state formation are now, in part, constraints on further movement. In this context a more radical strategy may have greater likelihood of success. After years of Reaganism, Thatcherism, deregulation and austerity the world may be ready for a new effort toward supply-side transorganizational socialism in which states and firms take a more active role in promoting both well-being and productivity. The new detente makes it more difficult for the US to paint a repressive policy toward its "backyard" as anti-Communism. Changes in the Soviet Union and China toward a more democratic form of socialism undercut the equation between politically organized collective rationality and totalitarianism. The movement toward disarmament needs to be pushed on toward the strengthening of the collective security mechanisms of the UN and maintaining democratic controls over those mechanisms. The peace movement itself, now tailing the negotiators, must realize that a world state is necessary and must strongly support its creation. This means the popularization of our knowledge of world-system cycles and trends, and the findings of Goldstein (1988). Historical works such as that of Kennedy (1987) need to be written organized around the structural dynamics of the world-system. And further basic research is needed into the ways in which transformations of modes of production have occurred in earlier world-systems. If these seem like poor prescriptions to follow from the cataclysmic nightmare portrayed above I apologize. Better to light one candle......REFERENCES Abu-Lughod, Janet. 1989. Before European Hegemony: The World-System, AD l250-l350. New York: Oxford University Press. Amin, Samir. 1980. Class and Nation: Historically and in the Current Crisis. New York: Monthly Review Press. Anderson, Perry. 1974a. Passages From Antiquity to Feudalism. 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