The Social Foundations of Global Conflict and Cooperation: 

Waves of Globalization and Global Elite Integration, 19th to 21st Century


Thomas E. Reifer and Christopher Chase-Dunn

Institute for Research on World-Systems

University of California, Riverside



(Submitted to NSF Sociology Program, August 15, 2003. v. 7-15-03)


Project Summary

        This research studies the relationship between the social foundations of waves of globalization, democratization, global elite integration and global conflict and cooperation from the nineteenth to the twenty-first centuries.  The main hypothesis is that the changing social foundations, contours and strengths of elite integration and related forms of unequal civil, political and social citizenship, were important contributors to fault lines of conflict in the previous globalization backlash, and that analyzing these can help us to predict where conflicts are most likely to emerge today. 

The research will analyze and delineate the social foundations of elites cross-nationally, the largest regional and international organizations, and the most powerful individuals, families, firms, states and international organizations for selected countries in the core focusing on ten targeted years: 1840, 1860, 1880, 1913, 1929, 1950, 1970, 1980, 1995, and 2003. The links among these actors will be examined to determine the degree of their transnational and international connections, the nature and strength of these ties, their social foundations, and the network patterns of connections and empty spaces. This will enable the tracking of changes in the strength of global organization among the most powerful actors, and the changing nature and network patterns of these ties. The project will use structural equations modeling, network analysis and GIS mapping to compare the patterns of ties in the late nineteenth century with the patterns of conflict that emerged in the last globalization backlash. This will allow assessment of the relationship between the social foundations of globalization, democratization, global elite integration, and global conflict and cooperation.

Three inter-related research designs will be used. The first focuses on analyzing a subset of elites selected from key core countries, the second is cross-national and will include all the countries and colonial regions of the world where comparable data on welfare or warfare-welfare states, other important aspects of socioeconomic and political structure, and links can be found, and the third focuses on the largest regional and global international organizations, including firms, military, political, governmental and civil society groups.


Intellectual Merit.  Waves of globalization have led to the formation of transnational ties among elite families, social classes and large firms and growing movements for democratic citizenship; and to nationalist resurgence, racialized social imperial expansion, militarized forms of masculinity and increasing global conflict. An asymmetrical form of British-led globalization during the nineteenth century led to a massive backlash ushering in World Wars, Bolshevism, fascism and the Great Depression.  After World War II, there was a renewal of transnational ties among elite families, social classes and large firms, along with movements for democratic citizenship, with the U.S. as hegemon. Whether the current wave of globalization will repeat the worst features of the earlier cycle, replete with resurgent racialized ethno-nationalism and global military conflict, may well rest on the social foundations of global elite integration today.  A more thoroughly integrated global elite, based on broader social foundations cutting across lines of race, class, gender, nationality, and civilizations, may be able to prevent the kind of chaos that characterized the last wave of globalization. Conversely, instability and conflict can be expected if elite power rests on increasingly narrow and militarized social foundations and related forms of exclusivist identities typical of periods of hegemonic decline and globalization backlash. The results of this study will have important implications for contending theories of modern social change, especially the globalization and global capitalism schools, while also addressing the role of unequal forms of civil, political and social citizenship - stratified by race, ethnicity, gender and nationality - in global conflict and cooperation.


Broader Impact. This research will improve upon the basis for assessing probabilities, causes and potential terrains of future global cooperation, competition and conflict. The research databases, animated global maps on the project web site and publications will provide valuable data for students, scholars, NGOs and public policy makers.  This will help improve understanding of the social foundations of global conflict, and initiatives to promote greater equality, democracy, inclusive forms of civil, political and social citizenship, and global cooperation.



Project Description


      This study compares waves of globalization, democratization, global elite integration and related forms of global conflict and cooperation from 1840 to 2003. The research focuses on the social foundations of national and transnational wealth and power groups, as well as on the national, regional and international institutions organizing and structuring their activity and consciousness (see Katzenstein 1996a, b, c; 1997a, b).  The project will study the changing social foundations and degree of global elite integration, including patterns of connections and alliances among the wealthiest and most powerful people and organizations in the world over the last 163 years.

      Producing data on the changing social foundations and contours of global elites and the intensity of their integration over time will allow us to determine the relationship between global elite integration and global conflict and cooperation and to estimate future fault lines along which conflict is likely to develop and their probabilities.  Our hypothesis is that the social foundations of elites, and related waves of globalization and elite integration are important factors in structuring the patterns of global conflict and cooperation.  Here, we develop a theoretical model and set of empirically testable propositions about this relationship between elite social foundations and global conflict and cooperation.


Background.  The British hegemony of the 1800s saw a tsunami of international trade, investment and global integration that peaked in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries (Bairoch 1996; Haggard 1995; O’Rourke and Williamson 1999).  Yet growing inequality, intensified uneven development, and elite reaction to the growth of democratic movements heightened global instability and violent conflict (Arrighi 1994; Snyder 1991; 2000: ch. 3; Polanyi, 2001; James 2001).  During this period, the spread of commercialized trade disrupted economies dependent on domestic production, vastly increasing inequalities between the rich and the poor, and stimulating movements for self-protection against such threats to livelihood and security (Polanyi, 2001; van der Pijl, 1984; Arrighi, 1990a, 1994; Silver and Arrighi, 2003).  The structural contradictions afflicting autocratic states with overgrown military-corporate complexes and narrow domestic economic bases such as Germany made them fertile grounds for reactionary ideologies such as fascism and highly vulnerable to democratic disintegration and aggressive war (Arrighi 1990a: 38-45; Neuman, 1966: 201-202; Elias 1996; Hobsbawm 1987; Semmel 1960; Kehr 1973; 1977; Calleo, 1978; Rueschemeyer, Stephens and Stephens, 1992; Newton, 1997).  A premium was put on war preparedness and modernization of military-corporate complexes requiring global resources, as the turbulence of world market and interstate competition worked to the temporary advantage of those power of elites that wanted to pursue aggressive foreign policies (Snyder, 1991: ch. 3). 

      By the late nineteenth century, racialized social imperialism, along with elite ideologies and practices of war preparedness and militarized masculinity became the order of the day  (Goldstein 2001; Theweleit, 1987; Elias, 1996; Pearlman, 1984; see Hutchinson 1996).  The resultant world wars and revolutionary waves were symptomatic of the rising politico-economic and military competition that contributed to, the breakdown of the world-economy (Polanyi 2001; cf. Skocpol 1979; Shanin 1985; 1986).  Such waves of globalization and global polarization have been closely associated with the narrowing of the domestic and international social bases of declining hegemons (Arrighi, 1994; Arrighi, Silver, et al., 1999; see also Phillips, 2002). 

      A large body of literature has demonstrated the close relationship between rising levels of proletarianization, economic development, military conflict and democratic citizenship rights (Weber, 1961: 240; PS, Winter 1985, Seymour Martin Lipset, Laurily Epsteinch. 2; Vanhanen, 1997; Marshall, 1973; see Arrighi, 1990a; 1990b; Klinkner, 1999).  In terms of military participation, ruling elites have found it necessary to extend citizenship rights to national subjects in exchange for the latter taking on obligations of military service.  This was noted long ago by Max Weber (1961: 240) and systematic comparative research has borne him out (Andreski, 1968; Giddens, 1987: 233; Mann, 1986; Dehio, 1962; Downing, 1992; Rueschemeyer, Stephens and Stephens, 1992).  In the late nineteenth and early twentieth century, the growing socialization of war-making and state-making laid the material basis for the democratization of both citizen-soldiers and shop-floor citizens whose cooperation became increasingly important for national elites. The expansion and generalization of civil, social and political citizenship rights in the core countries, and to a lesser extent in the non-core was crucial in the reconstruction of the global system on new and enlarged social foundations under U.S. hegemony. But the forms of democratic citizenship that emerged were stratified to varying degrees by race/ethnicity, class, gender and nationality, with profound implications for the form and trajectory of global elite integration.

      What is important for our purposes is the relationship between these unequal systems of citizenship, forms of integration, and global conflict and cooperation.  Elite social groups with interests in overseas expansion or activist foreign policies have traditionally had to form coalitions with other powerful constituencies, including subjects and citizens, in order to pursue their aims.  The frequently tenuous nature of these political coalitions often helped prompt aggressive foreign policies, for as many comparative historical studies have shown, "domestic insecurity of elites is one of the most important causes of war" (Rosecrance, 1963: 306; see also Levy, 1989; Arrighi, 1990a; Snyder, 1991; Mayer, 1967; Newton, 1997).  Specifically, the promotion of strategic myths needed to build these coalitions often increased the power of those groups favoring aggressive foreign policies.  Such politico-economic dynamics played central roles in both the British and U.S. cycles of globalization and related forms of militarization (Snyder, 1991: 17; 2003; see Freeland, 1985; Levy, 1989; 1998; 2002: 34-35; 2003; see Davis, 1986; see Trubowtiz, 1998).

      Additionally, "quasi-states" in the periphery and semiperiphery often lack the capacity for social inclusion. Political struggles over wealth and power in non-core countries have thus caused violent conflict within and across often porous borders, especially if major race/ethnic, class, national or religious differences can be exploited (Jackson, 1990; Fearon and Laitin, 2003; also Chau, 2003).  Here, poverty and increasing population growth, rising demand for scarce resources, the legacies of colonialism, rapid geopolitical change and increasing intranational and global inequalities have fueled growing conflict within and between states (Mamdani, 1996; Young, 1994; Calder 1997; Klare, 2001; Arrighi 1990a; 1991; Murdoch 1980; Waseem, 2000; Woodward 1995).  In an age of declining resources, power elites often resort to narrow ethno-national/religious identities and definitions of citizens and the nation, accompanied by scapegoating of internal and/or external enemies, to achieve or maintain power, thus contributing to increasing instability and conflict (cf. Snyder, 2000; see Arrighi, 1990b: 34-35; see Manza and Brooks, 1999).  Thus, the changing social foundations of elites in hegemonic cycles plays a major role in global conflict and cooperation.

      By 1945, many U.S. and European elites had come to understand that volatile currency fluctuations and speculative capital flows played an important contributing role in the breakdown of England’s liberal global economic order, recurrent depressions, the rise of fascism, world wars and global revolutionary waves (Gardner 1969: 75-76; Arrighi, 1990a; see Polanyi, 2001). These concerns led these elites to create a liberal international economic order replete with governed markets that provided tangible benefits to workers in the core and a modicum of state-led nationalist development in the Third World.  This compact was a fundamental part of the real but uneven expansion of civil, political and social citizenship rights across the globe (Arrighi 1990a, b, 1994).  In this vision, that of a “global New Deal,” full citizenship rights were to be generalized to the core.  At the same time, development was to allow the world's poorer states to catch up with standards of wealth and the full extension of citizenship rights achieved for the largely white working classes and middle strata of this zone. However, the U.S. hegemony's promise of full citizenship and high mass consumption in the core and self-determination and development in non-core zones had definite limits.

      After World War II, while many in the U.S. labor movement sought universal social provisions, the lack of basic citizenship rights for blacks in the South and people of color more generally posed an insurmountable obstacle to such a vision (Davis, 1986; see Lichtenstein, 1995; see also Iton, 2000; see also Du Bois, 1969).  Moreover, the fiscal nationalism of the conservative coalition ruled out Congressional passage of aid necessary for the continued reconstruction of Europe and Asia after the Marshall Plan (Borden 1984).  Yet by playing upon military nationalism, U.S. elites were able to convince Congress to vastly increase military spending during the Korean War, though much of this money was actually used to buy goods from Western Europe and East Asia.  Military spending became a form of welfare for corporations and upper-class constituents.  At the same time, Cold War military spending provided for the containment of U.S. enemies and allies, the latter as semi-sovereign states and regions, while providing the military forces to protect U.S. allies and to implement a global policy of counterrevolutionary violence to ensure an Open Door for U.S. and allied transnational capital in the Third World.[1]  Military spending was much preferred by U.S. elites to other forms of social expenditure as it was possible to get it from Congress, and moreover helped to deflect a vibrant labor movement seeking universalistic social provisions and greater race, class and gender equality at home, by allowing for its incorporation instead as a junior partner in the overseas expansion of U.S. state-corporate power (Lipsitz, 1994; Buhle, 1999; Rathbun, 1996; see Lichtenstein, 1995; see Steppan-Norris and Zeitlin, 2002).  

      Instead of universalistic social provisions, organized workers were forced to negotiate private welfare provisions tied to firms, propped up by a permanent war economy (Davis, 1986; see Hacker, 2002; see Minns, 2001).  This ensured that U.S. social provision would be uniquely stratified by race, class, gender (see Campbell, 1997: 107; see Orloff, 1993; 1996; Mettler 1998; Mink 1995; Quadagno 1994; Epsing-Anderson 1990: ch. 3).  Instead of universalistic forms of social citizenship, military-service related government transfers, notably veterans’ benefits, the watershed GI Bill of Rights and low-interest loans, went primarily to white male citizen-soldiers.  Entitlements such as Social Security and unemployment went to shop-floor citizens, initially largely white males, who also benefited from military-subsidized private welfare states tied to firms.  Second-class, means-tested benefits, stigmatized as “welfare” went to the most oppressed—notably women, persons of color, and the white working poor more generally.[2]  These different forms of social provision and political attitudes towards overseas intervention among national elites and populations are arguably related.  U.S. specialization in providing core military protection subsidized U.S.’s allies in Western Europe and Japan, leading them to provide more funds for universalistic forms of social welfare provision. 

      The rise of this U.S. New Deal warfare-welfare state—and its stratification, by race, class, gender and nationality—has played a key role in shaping elite and popular attitudes towards military versus social spending, based upon the real or expected benefits different groups receive from such programs.  Not surprisingly, there has long been a race and gender gap on military versus social provisions as well as questions of foreign policy and war and peace more generally, with women and persons of color more supportive of social programs and the peaceful solutions towards international conflict rather than tradition U.S. policies of postwar interventionism.  According to two leading political sociologists, though there are gender gaps in policy preferences among men and women cross-nationally, in terms of extent and significance, "No similar 'gender gap' has developed in other democratic polities" (Manza and Brooks, 1999: 128; Norris, 1988; see also Davis, 1986: 284-289).

      This seems in line with the hypothesis as to the interrelation between the social base of elites, unequal forms of civil, political and social citizenship, and their relationship to elite integration and related forms of conflict and cooperation we aim to test as part of our study.  US military spending plays an integral role in propping up racialized and gendered structures of the warfare-welfare state and the overseas expansion of US state-corporate power at one and the same time.  The resulting cleavages on a variety of social issues and restructuring of the political economy has been integral to the development of hegemonic social blocs - as with the rise of the New Right, right turn of the Eastern Establishment in the 1970s and 1980s - that have been able to continue high levels of military spending and overseas intervention for domestic and global purposes.  Here, elites saw high military spending as a way to curb greater spending on health, education and human resources, while maintaining US military predominance and global hegemony (Reifer 2002).

      Thus, just as the old exclusive White Anglo Saxon Protestant (WASP) Establishment reaped the fruits of the inflated capital values of a bygone era in the 1920s, so too did the rise of a broad based U.S. New Right in the 1970s and 1980s, aim to valorize the accumulated gains of corporate capital and the broad propertied strata (Davis, 1986: 302, 157-255, 284-289; 2002: ch. 13; see also Jenkins and Brents, 1989; see also Baltzell, 1987). This new hegemonic social bloc, solidified by resentments generated in part by the stratification of U.S. social provision by race and gender, included the more privileged segments of the white ethnic working classes and middle strata (notably those in the U.S. South), arrayed against workers of color, labor, the poor and the Third World (Davis, 1986; 2002: ch. 13 Gordon, 1994a, b; see also Manza and Brooks, 1999).

      We expect research on these questions to help address Jack Levy's (1998: 143) challenge, heretofore unmet in the literature:  "Theories of patriarchy might also help answer the...question of variations in war and peace, if they identified differences in the patriarchal structures and gender relations in different historical contexts, and if they incorporated differences into empirically testable hypotheses about the outbreak of war."  We aim to compare different forms of racialized and gendered social relations, notably in unequal welfare and warfare-welfare states, and to relate these to testable hypothesis about forms of elite integration and global conflict and cooperation.

      Of course, such a study has to take into account the changing functions and unintended consequences of elite policies.  Take the following example, crucial to our conceptualization of the broadening and narrowing of the social foundations of U.S. hegemony.  Originally, U.S. military Keynesianism (a form of welfare for the military-corporate complex and upper class constituents) provided a stimulus to the U.S. and global economy.  Military expenditures provided funding for advanced technologies (semiconductors and so forth) (see Markusen and Yudken, 1992).  Such programs thus propped up both U.S. corporate profits and the overseas projection of US military power.  Yet over time, the growing costs associated with such policies, in the context of increased global economic competition, led to a fiscal crisis of the New Deal warfare-welfare state and associated world order.  During World War II and the early Cold War years, U.S. military spending was based on progressive taxation of corporations and the rich. This was accompanied by limitations on pecuniary accumulation, including federal regulation and anti-trust efforts (see van der Pijl, 1984; see Davis, 1986).  Here was the social basis of the rise of the New Deal world order:  reform at home and support for socioeconomic reconstruction and limited forms of nationalist development abroad.  Fixed exchange rates, by limiting large fluctuations in currency exchange rates and speculative capital movements, had provided the basis for forms of expansion consonant with the politico-economic and social objectives of the New Deal (Gardner, 1969; Helliener, 1994; Ingham, 1994; Block, 1977).  Yet in the early 1970s the U.S. was forced to scrap the Bretton Woods agreements on pegged exchange rates that it had created after World War II.  Increasingly, the regressive financing of vastly expanded U.S. military expenditures through borrowing on the global capital markets, rather than expanding the New Deal world order through taxation on corporate profits and the rich, led instead to its ongoing demise (see Arrighi, 1994; Broad 1988; see also Steinherr, 1998; 2000; Davis, 1986; 2002: ch. 13; Eatwell and Taylor, 2000; Eatwell 1993; Blackburn, 2002).[3]  This account suggests a reciprocal causality between changing elite social foundations, including via unequal systems of citizenship (as in the New Deal warfare-welfare state), and related forms of globalization, global elite integration and global conflict and cooperation.

      Scholars from the “democratic peace school” argue that interstate conflict among core powers is a thing of the past (Gissinger and Gleditsch 1999; Oneal, Oneal, Maoz and Russett 1996; cf. Brown, Lynn-Jones and Miller, 1996; cf. Walt 1999).  Recently, however, Jack Snyder (2000) has argued that weakly embedded forms of democratization, in terms of the norms of democratic procedures and governed markets, can promote extreme forms of nationalism and hence intra and interstate conflict, as with the rise of fascism in Germany and the escalating warfare that has gripped many formerly Communist states of Europe.  This raises real questions about Russia, China, and the democratic stability in core powers jettisoning governed markets that helped to embed these states within a thick web of institutions (Snyder, 2000; UNHDP; 2002a, b; Reddaway and Glinsky 2001).

      A growing number of experts contend that the global system recurrently breaks down not so much from rising challengers as because declining hegemons resist adjustment and accommodation to new entrants (Calleo 1987: 142).  David Calleo (2003a, b) recently raised concerns that U.S. unilateralism is putting it on a collision course with Europe and Asia, in a clash involving disputes about global governance, U.S. military power and competing models of capitalism and social citizenship provision (Minns, 2001). 

      Hegemonic stability theorists hypothesize that declining hegemons attempt to use their remaining strengths to pursue more unilateral advantages that have fewer collective benefits for the rest of the world. This typically exacerbates rivalry within the core, causing uncertainty, instability, and increasing competition and conflict in the world economy and the interstate system.[4]  This narrowing of the benefits that flow from the policies of the declining hegemon is arguably what we are seeing in the U.S. championing of neoliberal policies and military unilateralism which some fear could spark another round of intra-core conflict and/or global chaos (see also AJIL, 2002; see Mearshimer 2001).[5]  Yet despite these dangers, many theorists today hypothesize that global elite integration and/or related processes of globalization represent a fundamental change in the world-system away from great power conflict (Sklair, 2001;Held, McGrew, Goldblatt and Perraton 1999; Rosenau 1990).

      In particular, theorists of the globalization and “global capitalism” schools have noted the qualitative leap in global economic integration and related processes of global elite formation. This is alleged to be due to enhanced intercontinental transportation and communications technologies and is exemplified by the growing share of world production and trade carried out by transnational corporations, a complimentary global city system, and the emergence of other supranational organizations in a global civil society. All this lends support to the notion that major interstate conflict is a thing of the past (Sklair, 2001; Robinson 1996, 2001; Ross and Trachte 1990; Kowaleski 1997; Hardt and Negri, 2000; cf. Sassen, 2001; cf. Gowan 1999).  In contrast, other scholars, including world-systems analysts, put more emphasis on continued competition among rival global centers and U.S. power (Gowan 1999, 2000 a,b, 2002 a, b; Carroll and Carson 2002; Agnew 2001).

      Today, transnational class formation has increasingly become an option for masses and elites, as evidenced by the annual gathering of global business and political elites at the World Economic Forum (2000), which stimulated the birth of the World Social Forum - a global meeting of progressive non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and political activists - and regional social forums, and a host of related protests against transnational institutions and core states.  All this suggests the rise of new forms of global class and identity formation by both elite and subordinate groups (Bello, 2001; O’Brien, Goetz, Scholte and Williams, 2000; Cohen and Rai, 2000; Lubeck and Reifer, forthcoming).

      There is a growing literature on national and transnational class formation and related processes of global conflict and cooperation.[6]  And yet, there is a serious lacuna in this literature—the absence of conceptualization and measurement of global class formation and elite integration, including through military cooperation and unequal systems of social citizenship.[7]

      Here, the analogies and differences in the construction of elite social bases in the nineteenth to twentieth centuries have important implications for the likely trajectory of global cooperation and conflict in the twenty-first.  A major structural difference is the much greater extent to which the U.S. has relied on "defense" as a mean of generating support from domestic constituencies and regional elites for the national and global project of U.S. hegemony.  By taking on the role of global policeman the U.S. allowed other core states to construct political coalitions on social foundations that were substantially demilitarized, most especially Germany and Japan.  The elites in these countries have thus been in a relatively poor position to bargain, as U.S. elites have become increasingly unilateralist.  This fact, combined with the still great politico-economic and military power of the U.S., will likely slow down the emergence of core challengers, as least via the old military rivalry route.  In the nineteenth century, England had a small military based on a large navy, a small army and foreign military forces, notably in India, but it never specialized in the world policeman role to the extent that potential contenders abandoned their military capability.  Thus challengers quickly turned their rapidly growing politico-economic and military capability towards a violent confrontation with British global and regional power.

      Three alternative futures seem most likely:

      1.   A New Round of U.S. hegemony.  Restoration of U.S. economic hegemony based on new lead industries - such as information technology and biotechnology - facilitates global leadership on the basis of a newly widened coalition of elites and workers in world industries affected by these technologies.  The returns from these profitable new industries make possible a new global New Deal, with the restoration of multilateralism in the core and developmentalism in the non-core.

      2.   Renewed Interimperial Rivalry.  Continued U.S. relative economic decline combined with path dependency on the military and financial power leads the U.S. to use these to pursue increasingly narrow unilateralism aims, stimulating competing core and rising semiperipheral powers to arm to defend their own interests.  In all likelihood, this will take quite some time due to the extent to which other core powers have relied on the U.S. world policemen role.  Eventually, though, competing core powers such as Germany and Japan (perhaps as part of larger regional or supranational structures such as the European Union) build up their military capabilities and a renewed situation of multicentricity emerges in the core that eventually results in hegemonic rivalry and world war among core states.

      3.   Global elite formation.  A narrow group of elites supports the U.S. in its use of military and financial power to sustain global dominance against the protests of rival elites and populations that are increasingly exploited or excluded from the benefits of an unequal and asymmetrical form of globalization.  The U.S., including through U.S.-dominated supranational institutions, becomes a de factor world state representing large-scale corporations, a large military and perhaps a civil service bureaucracy.  As the global system becomes reconstituted on increasingly narrow and militarized social foundations, transnational social movements rooted in global civil society and working in conjunction with elite contenders from select states and regions, challenge top down globalization through a combination of mass protest and the putting forward of alternative frameworks for global governance based on broad social foundations, across lines of race, class, gender, nationality and civilizations.

      We will use the results of our research to estimate which of these future scenarios are more likely to actually occur, specifying what our study of the changing social foundations of global elites over a long-historical period has to say about the future trajectory of the global system.  The above narrative explains the pressing need to study the changing social foundation of global elite integration and its relationship to global conflict and cooperation.


Prior NSF-supported Research on Globalization

Christopher Chase-Dunn  SES-0077975 "Trajectories and Causes of Structural Globalization: 1800-2000" Amount: $129,898 PERIOD: September 1, 2000 through August 31, 2002.

      This proposed study builds upon our earlier research on the trends and trajectories of global integration at the Institute for Research on World-Systems (IROWS) at the University of California-Riverside. This earlier project studied the trajectories of economic and political integration in the whole world-system since 1800. The research proposed here expands upon this work by studying transnational and international relations and by examining the changing contours of ties as well as trends in their overall density. Our research on the trajectories of trade and investment globalization has found strong empirical support for the contention that globalization occurred in waves that have been interrupted by periods of deglobalization (Chase-Dunn, Kawano and Brewer 2000; also Doyle 2003).


Research Plan

      This project will conceptualize, operationalize and measure global elite formation and its changing social foundations over the last 163 years, analyzing changes in the extent and spatial distribution of economic and political/military power among families, firms, and national states, as well as among supra-national and truly global proto-state organizations (the Concert of Europe, League of Nations, U.N., World Bank, IMF, OECD, Organization of American States, NATO, NAFTA, European Community, European Union, ASEAN, APEC, Group of 8, Warsaw Treaty Organization, World Trade Organization and so forth).  We will study the geographical dimensions of these structural changes, including links and divides occurring along core/semiperiphery/periphery, regions, and across civilizational, race/ethnic, class and gender lines.  We will also draw on comparative typologies of welfare and warfare-welfare states, stratified by race, ethnicity, class, gender and nationality, and examine what relationship if any, they have to political dynamics related to global conflict and cooperation (see Epsing-Anderson, 1990; see Minns, 2001; see Williams, 1995; Blackburn, 2002).

      The main theoretical approach that motivates this research proposal is the world-systems perspective, an institutional materialist and historically informed structural approach.  The world-systems perspective supplies an alternative approach to the globalization and global capitalism schools on the origin and character of the global wealth and power elite (Wallerstein 1979; 1991; Arrighi 1994; Chase-Dunn and Hall 1997; Chase-Dunn 1998).  In this view, the modern world has been integrated by a set of international and transnational institutions and relations for centuries, not mere decades.  National development and national class formation have occurred within a larger arena of global geopolitical and geoeconomic competition, in which transnational elite alliances have been crucial.  Moreover, inequalities of race/ethnicity, class, gender, nationality and related forms of citizenship have been central to global dynamics, as world-system analysts and a host of scholars from a variety of differing theoretical perspectives have long argued.[8]  There has been something akin to a global capitalist class and class structure, albeit one rooted in national locales and often exclusivist identities of race/ethnicity, gender, civilizational beliefs and practices, for centuries in the an sich (objective) sense.  This global capitalist class is undoubtedly more integrated now than it has ever been during previous phases of globalization, but the question remains:  how much more is the global wealth and power elite integrated today than in times past?  Moreover, is the transnational capital class integrated enough and are its social foundation broad enough (including along the crucial regional, civilizational axes, as well as divides of race/ethnicity, class, gender and nationality) to prevent growing global instability and conflict? This project addresses these questions by studying the degree and trajectory of global elite integration.

      Both a comparative historical and formal quantitative approach to the problem of global elite formation and its changing social foundations over the centuries will be used.  Our close study of the top elites in the core will allow us to use the methods of quantitative social network analysis for those elites that we study and their ties elsewhere.  We will also read the socioeconomic and political histories of these countries so as to place our findings on ties in a relevant comparative historical framework.

      We will analyze all three networks—elite, cross-national and international—separately and compare the results, examining how closely the structure of elite links reproduces or deviates from the structure of cross-national links.  And we will also compare the network of international organizations and their ties with the cross-national and elite networks to locate convergences and divergences.

      This project will also determine whether a principal claim among many theorists of globalization—i.e., that a bona fide global wealth and power elite did not really take shape until sometime in the last half-century—has merit on its own terms.  The world-systems perspective does not deny that the recent wave of transnational integration (and global elite and class formation) has likely attained a greater level than earlier waves.  But the question of the slope of the upward trend is an important one, as is the issue of whether or not the level of integration attained will be great enough to prevent the escalating chaos that has been a recurrent feature of global backlashes (Boswell and Chase-Dunn 2000).[9]

      Here, we need to add a complicating factor—the distinction between symmetrical (equal) and asymmetrical (unequal) ties.  The hypothesis about the pacifying effects of elite ties is really about symmetrical ties of interdependence. Power-dependence relations may not have the same kinds of pacific effects, and indeed sometimes they may exacerbate conflict.  So we need to distinguish in our study of transnational ties between those that are horizontal and those that are hierarchical.

      We hypothesize that symmetrical forms of international economic integration based on broad social foundations and relative equality and interdependence within and across nations lowers the probability of conflict. It is analytically and empirically possible to distinguish transnational linkages of elite individuals and international economic ties among states.  International economic integration refers to the density of international trade and investment relative to the overall size of the world economy. This is the world-system level variable that has been the main focus of the NSF-sponsored project that we are now just completing (See Prior NSF-Sponsored Research above). A more integrated and interdependent international system based on broad social foundations, creates a peace interest when the integration is symmetrical and crosscuts potential axes of conflict.  We will be able to determine the degree of consonance between the social foundations of elites, the structure of elite transnational ties and the structure of international ties, and if the latter two are somewhat different we may be able to see how they separately are related to the patterns of international and intranational conflict.

      International political integration refers to the density of international (regional and global) political and organizational ties among national societies. When such ties crosscut international axes of political and economic conflict they reduce the probability of conflict. The destructiveness of military technology creates incentives for peace between powers in the core, other things being equal.

      The factors that are hypothesized to increase the probability of conflict work through the intervening variable of economic instability and increasing inequality, which we posit are related to the changing social foundations of world hegemonies and related forms of unequal forms of citizenship and elite competition (O’Rourke and Williamson 2000; Davis 2001; Klare 2001).

      Our research plan is to examine the cross-temporal relationships among world-system indicators at each of our targeted time points, and to study the relationships between the patterns of global elite integration, their social foundations, and the conflicts that emerged during periods of globalization backlash. Thus we need to measure both world-level and national level indicators.  Though our main research effort will focus on delineation of top actors, the measurement of transnational and international ties and their relationship to elite social foundations, including unequal forms of citizenship, we will operationalize other factors hypothesized to cause conflict or cooperation, as testing our hypothesis requires that we control for changes in these variables.

      The very different social base of U.S. hegemony and related forms of integration leads us to expect continued sustained conflict between semiperipheral, peripheral and core states and related supranational institutions such as the IMF implementing austerity programs, with the U.S. playing a leading role, including through military support for local elites.  The crucial elite linkages to scrutinize are between transnational and local capital and related networks of elites between the core, semiperiphery and periphery (Evans 1979; 1995).  Given the combination of growing inequality and the related path-dependent centrality of post World War II U.S. military expenditures in the changing domestic and global foundations of its hegemony, high levels of global instability and conflict will likely continue.  Asymmetrical integration is likely to result in continued high level of rebellion and social conflict in dependent states in the periphery and semiperiphery, due to the negative effects of politico-economic and military dependency in terms of equality/inequality, democracy, state capacity and highly unequal class structures, though increased inequality in the core is likely to generate increased conflict as well (Boswell and Dixon, 1990; see also Rueschemeyer, Stephens and Stephens, 1992; Arrighi 1990a).

      Our model also makes sense of the observed decline in overseas intervention by the rest of the core powers over time and continued high levels for the U.S.  We hypothesize there will be growing non-military conflict in the core over unilateralism in military, financial and trade matters, as U.S. leadership is transformed into a more exploitative form of domination (see Minns 2001; Silver and Arrighi 2003; Blackburn 2002). In terms of elite ties, we expect to see extensive business ties between core multinationals, and those in the periphery and semiperiphery, along with close military and related elite ties, with periodic core interventions to stop nationalist, leftist or extremist political movements seeking greater control over resources (Klare, 2001; Nitzan and Bichler, 1995; Bichler and Nitzan, 1996; Borden 1984).  Generally speaking, in areas that have high levels of foreign direct investment and trade, crucial resources, and/or those areas integral to the U.S. program of rebuilding regional cores and ensuring an Open Door for their peripheral and semiperipheral areas) should see high levels of internal conflict and core-semiperipheral conflict (Borden, 1984; see also Bornschier and Chase-Dunn, 1985).


Conceptualization and Measurement of Global Elite Integration

      For reasons of feasibility we will propose three inter-related research designs. The first focuses on a subset of elites despite our wish to study the whole world. Realistically, we cannot complete an in-depth study of the elites of every country of the world in a two-year project. So we have selected key countries, though our unit of analysis remains the whole world-system. The second research design is cross-national and includes all the countries and colonial regions where there are comparable data on welfare or warfare-welfare states, as well as other important aspects of socioeconomic and political structure, and links (see Epsing-Anderson, 1990; see Minns, 2001).  Because of the long tradition of cross-national research and efforts to create comparable indicators, the study of the attributes of and links between national societies will not be as difficult as is the study of individual elite persons.  Our third research design analyzes the largest regional and global international organizations, including firms, military, political, governmental and civil organizations.

      There are many difficult conceptual and theoretical problems that are raised by the analysis of the global class structure: the definition of transnational relationships, the meanings of class when the analysis is focused on the world-system as a whole rather than on national societies, the relationships between class structure and consciousness as they intersect and interweave with ethnicity, religion, civilizational cultures and the core/periphery hierarchy; the question of class formation, and the issue of the boundaries between different classes. For now this proposal develops a frankly empiricist and theoretically eclectic approach that will allow research on global elite integration to proceed. But we intend to confront and address these conceptual issues as we digest the results of our research.

      As with other efforts to measure globalization (e.g. Chase-Dunn, Kawano, and Brewer 2000), the estimation of a global characteristic needs to take into account the changing size of the whole system. There are more transnational interactions now than in the nineteenth century. There are also more within-nation interactions because the world population and the world economy have become larger.  It is the relationships between types of interaction and the size of the whole system that must be studied.

      The boundaries between classes are usually fuzzy and so an effort to study the whole global capitalist class would quickly encounter the sticky problem of where to draw the line between the capitalist class and other classes.  We will avoid this conundrum by focusing on only a stratified sample of the very top segment of the global elite and the most powerful organizations in the system.


Delineating Top Actors

      The project will study individuals, families and organizations (including firms, states and international organizations) in the core societies of the world-system. Ideally we would like to study the whole world-system because that is the theoretical framework of our analysis. But for reasons of feasibility will need to restrict our study of elite ties to selected countries. We will sample both individuals and firms in the core, while looking at a larger share in the two hegemonic powers during the relevant periods. This is necessary, because we want to capture the most powerful and wealthy persons and institutions in the hegemonic core states (U.K. and U.S.), whose trajectory conditions much of the evolution of the global system, while capturing other relevant actors and institutions in the rest of the core.  We will study both the wealthiest and most powerful individuals as determined by the modified reputational method (see below). This is because it is often the case that individuals such as attorneys play crucial roles despite that they may not occupy formal positions in firms or states. Studying international organizations is particular critical for looking at the evolution of forms of global integration in the world-system, their relationship with elites at the national and regional level and their impact on broad patterns of conflict and cooperation.

      Hence, we will study the transnational linkages of the top 20 a) wealthiest individuals or families, b) most powerful private individuals, c) public organizations, and d) private organizations and firms for the hegemons (Britain from 1840 to 1945, the U.S. from 1880 to the present). For the rest of selected core we will examine—France, Germany (later the European Union), Italy and Japan—we will study the top ten of these same groups in each country.  Then we will study how transnationally linked these actors were with one another and with elites in all other countries in ten targeted years: 1840, 1860, 1880, 1913, 1929, 1950, 1970, 1980, 1995, and 2003 and the top ten international organizations during these periods.

      We would like to also closely study elites in the noncore because challengers to the power of core states frequently come from the semiperiphery and alliances with semiperipheral elites are important components of cooperation and competition within the core. For reasons of feasibility limitations we will not be able to target the most powerful individuals and organizations within non-core societies. But we will study the links between core elites with individuals and organizations in the non-core and those features of national social structure plausibility related to conflict. We will thus include all the transnational ties of the elite individuals and organizations that we target within the core countries we are studying regardless of where in the world-system these ties lead. In that way we will include ties to the semiperiphery and periphery without examining directly the most powerful and wealthy individuals in each non-core country.  We will be able to ascertain the most important alliances and enmities that structure emerging global conflicts by focusing on the core societies.  We will begin our investigation in 1840 because we need a base line from which to appreciate the rise of transnational linkages during the nineteenth century. It would be desirable to start earlier, but again the limits of feasibility impinge.

      Determining the identities of the wealthiest persons is not a simple process. Forbes magazine lists the world’s billionaires yearly since 1985.  The methodology employed by Forbes for valuing the assets of people is as follows:  for billionaires with publicly traded fortunes, net worth is calculated using share prices and exchange rates; for privately held fortunes they estimate what companies would be worth if they were public. They also include, when possible, the value of art collections and real estate.  Fortunes are measured in U.S. dollars.  For earlier periods, we will gather data from a variety of primary and secondary sources.  Once a plausibly complete list of the wealthiest individuals has been assembled, the task of studying transnational and international connections can begin.

      We will employ a variant of Floyd Hunter’s (1980) reputational technique to help us delineate both the most powerful and the wealthiest individuals. We will utilize specialized Internet list-serves to identify prominent historians for particular periods and regions, and these we will ask to designate and rank the ten most powerful individuals and the ten wealthiest individuals in the state we are studying. When there are disagreements we will revisit our informants and reread the relevant specialized historical literature to resolve the inconsistencies. 

      We will examine the most powerful individuals. This will include private individuals deemed by historical specialists to have wielded great power and also those who hold top authoritative positions in each of three kinds of organizations:

§         Firms (public and private, industrial and financial) and private organizations (think-tanks, foundations);

§         National states; and

§         International organizations (all kinds, regional and global).

      Because power is more difficult to measure than wealth our decisions about which institutions (and individuals) to include will necessarily be less reliable than designating top-wealth actors (above). The project will study four groups in the core and semiperiphery (possibly with overlaps), respectively

§         The 20 (hegemon) and 10 (other core) wealthiest;

§         The 20 and 10 most powerful private individuals as judged by historical specialists;

§         The 20 and 10 in top positions in the world’s largest firms and private organizations;

§         The 20 and 10 in top positions in the most powerful states;

§         The 20 and 10 in top positions in the most powerful public organizations.

      Determining which organizations to include will be a matter of combining different indicators of financial, political, military and reputational power. Indicators for firms will include number of employees, yearly gross revenues and other indicators of financial size. To determine the top firms in the global economy in the most recent decades, we will employ Fortune magazine’s annually published data on the size (determined by revenues), industry, and headquarter country of the 500 largest global corporations.  Recently, researchers have employed these lists as sources for studying changes in the distribution of economic sectors across countries (Bergesen and Sonnett 2001). These data were first made available from Fortune magazine in the mid 1950’s.  For periods prior to this we will utilize other sources of information on large corporations such as the Moody’s directories and Dun and Bradstreet.

      For states we will include all sovereign states and colonial regions for which we can find relevant information, coding the firms and states according to their place in the hierarchy of the world-system (Kentor, 2000a, b). The long tradition of cross-national comparison means that we need not be so concerned about feasibility when we turn to the study of national societies and their states. We will utilize available datasets that indicate demographic, political and economic importance such as total population, level of urbanization, total government revenues and budgeted expenditures, sovereign territorial size, size of armed forces, total military expenditures, total GDP and GDP per capita (Banks 1997; Maddison 1995; 2001). Due to the comparability of its indicators Mitchell’s International Historical Statistics 1750-1988 will be a valuable source for data from 1840 to 1988. For international organizations indicators of importance will include number of employees, size of armed forces, total military expenditures, yearly gross revenues, total budgeted expenditures, other indicators of financial size and estimations of their broad impact in the global system (Murphy 1994).

      We will geocode all the actors that we study so that we can use methods of spatiotemporal analysis that explicitly take account of spatial distances among actors. We will also produce Geographical Information System (GIS) global maps based on our linkage and conflict data, and will utilize interoperable TimeMap® software (Johnson, 2000)[10] to produce animated maps that show changes over time. These will be published on a project web site and made available to the entire world, and will be incorporated into other web-accessible digital libraries such as the Alexandria Digital Library and the Electronic Cultural Atlas Initiative.


Delineating Transnational and International Ties

      Having delimited our targeted elite and organizational actors as indicated above, the project will study the transnational and within-nation linkages among these actors and their other international links.  Transnational linkages of individuals include family ties such as international marriages, educational ties such as studying abroad by individuals or their immediate families, business ties such as investments abroad, political ties such as memberships in international organizations.  Intermarriage between groups is an important form of intergroup integration in nearly all world-systems (Chase-Dunn and Hall 1997: 135).  In kin-based systems kin groups create political and economic alliances primarily by means of intermarriage. In modern complex systems family structures complement other institutional arrangements, but they still remain an important aspect of the informal linkages that create trust among both elites and masses (Zeitlin and Ratcliff 1988).  And we may find interesting differences in the forms of linkages that are related to civilizational, linguistic and racial differences among elites. The institutions of informal association have long been examined as an important aspect of national class formation (e.g. Domhoff 1998; Baltzell 1979, 1987), but this kind of analysis is also important to the examination of transnational class linkages. For example we hypothesize that trans-civilizational and trans-racial alliances are primarily bureaucratic rather than kin-based.

      For firms, transnational connections will be ascertained by studying the number and location of foreign and domestic subsidiaries, the nationality of members of control boards, international joint ventures or strategic alliances, and international mergers.  Dun and Bradstreet’s Who Owns Whom and Moody’s annual corporate directories will provide the necessary information to determine these transnational connections. Carroll and Fennema (2002) study interlocking directorates of global firms and Carroll and Carson (2002) study their connections with global policy groups. We will study interlocking directorates of the world’s largest firms using the techniques of quantitative network analysis.  For states and international organizations, transnational linkages will be ascertained by studying the value and distribution of investments abroad, the amount of imports and exports, as well as centrality and density in international transportation and communications networks. Information on international trade links will be provided by the European Historical Statistics 1750-1970, by the Foreign Commerce Yearbook for 1930-1950, and by the World Bank’s World Tables for 1970-1990. The IMF’s Balance of Payments and International Financial Statistics are two additional sources that will be used for studying international financial links during the post WWII era.  For the targeted years between Word Wars I-II, the League of Nations’ annual statistical publications will be useful. For international organizations the relative strength of transnational connections will be indicated by the scope and distribution of operations (regional or global) and by the extent of membership.

      As mentioned above, we need to make the distinction between symmetrical and asymmetrical transnational ties and related forms of integration, as these are likely to have profound impacts on patterns of elite conflict and cooperation (Simmel 1950, 1955; Coser 1956; Levy, 1989).  Our study of the behavior, cultural milieu, policy currents, social foundations and trajectories of elites in comparative historical perspective will complement the structural and quantitative aspects of our research.

      We will also study the structure of interstate and colonial linkages among the core and non-core regions using data on exchanges of diplomats, material on signatories and participants in international treaties and related regimes, imports and exports, international investments, and memberships in international regional and global organizations.  Here we also need to be cognizant of the possibility that some ties may be hierarchical rather than interdependent. The Treaty of Versailles is a classic example of an asymmetrical relationship among core states (see Newton 1997).  Any tie that follows a conflict in which one side defeated another should be scrutinized for elements of hierarchy.


Research Questions and Analyses

      The first kind of analysis will involve the study of changes over time in the social foundations and strength of transnational ties between and among members and blocs of the global wealth and power elite.  A central question to address is whether these ties of integration between and among the global elite exhibit waves of connectivity similar to the waves of economic globalization found in our parallel studies (which track pulsations of transnational trade and investment over time). This will require the construction of comparable estimates of the degree of elite integration for each of our targeted time points and the analysis of change over time for the whole system.  Answers to these questions will have implications for the probabilities of future political tensions and military conflict.

      The second analysis will examine changes in the strength of different kinds of ties.  For example, is intermarriage a more important mechanism of global elite integration in the nineteenth century than in the twentieth?  What are the temporal trajectories of different means of global class formation such as intermarriage, educational links, transnational investment partnerships, interlocking directorates, and so on?  Our data sets will enable us to track the temporal trends of different kinds of links. And we will be able to see if linguistic, racial and civilizational differences between elite individuals are related to the types of links and the structural holes in which elite links do not occur.

      A third kind of data analysis will compare the different groups of actors to see if there are differences in their trajectories of transnationalization.  For example, do wealthy individuals and families, the leaders of big private firms, and the heads of powerful political organizations display synchronous trajectories of global integration, or are there leads, lags or counter cycles?

      For each individual (in our four classifications), firm, or national state and international organization, we will devise scores registering the strength of their global connectivity.  This will make it possible to study the causes of variation in the strength of transnational ties using characteristics of individuals and the larger entities with which they are linked.  This will allow us to explore questions such as, do wealthier individuals have more or fewer transnational ties, and does this relationship change over time?  How are transnational ties related to varying firm size and business sectors?  How is core/semiperipheral status (wealth and military power of states) related to transnational integration?

      Not only will the project examine the intensity of transnational ties between the units of analysis included in our study, but also it will crucially examine changing network patterns (i.e., spatial contours) of individuals, economic and political organizations.  Waves of integration are not likely to be homogenous across regions.  Analysis of the directionality of transnational ties will enable us to probe questions such as, along which geographical axes do the stronger ties prevail?  Where do the families, firms, and states of core regions have more exclusive ties and where are there significant overlaps in the ties of core countries with semiperipheral regions?  What about the configuration of connections between the leading families and firms of the core and the territorial jurisdictions of the core countries themselves? Critically, our project will ascertain the changing terrain of bloc formation among the world’s wealthiest and most powerful individuals, firms and political units.

      The project will also study the changes in the network patterns linking our several targeted groups of actors to one another. What are the relationships among the largest firms and states and how does this change over time?  Is there a shift of centralized power and wealth away from Europe to the Americas and to Asia over the last 160 years?  Does this shift work the same way for the wealthy and powerful individuals, firms and states, or are there important exceptions among these?  Do these changes indicate that the basic nature of the world-system is undergoing fundamental change or are these changes just another phase of the modern world-system?  What has been and will be the impact of global elite formation and integration on regions, nations and world-system zones?  We will employ our geocoded data to produce GIS global maps for each targeted time point, and link these using interoperable TimeMap® standards (Johnson 2000) for web presentation of animated maps, showing changing transnational and international links and conflicts over time.

      The final part of the analysis will examine the hypothesis that changing social foundations of elites and related forms of global elite integration affect conflict and cooperation. We will do this by examining the relationship between the densities and patterning of elite ties with the outbreaks of interstate conflict and by examining the relationships over time between changes in the overall intensity of elite integration and the level of global conflict. Do the patterns of transnational and international linkages formed during the great wave of nineteenth century globalization predict the topography of interstate and intrastate conflict that emerged during the globalization backlash? To determine this we will utilize our network datasets to construct rectangular data matrices using national societies as the unit of analysis. Then we will employ structural equations modeling to test the hypothesis that transnational and international ties are related to patterns of conflict.

      Our geocoded network patterns of transnational and international ties will enable us to control for distance in examining the relationships between elite ties and emergent conflict. Arguably individuals and countries close to one another are both more likely to develop ties and to come into conflict because of border disputes. By taking into account the actual geographical locations of individuals, organizational headquarters and countries we can see how propinquity alters (or does not alter) the relationships between networks and conflict and inferences about causal relationships among these.

      Our hypothesis that the social foundations, contours and strengths of elite ties was an important contributor to conflict in the previous globalization backlash will be evaluated by examining the degrees of fit and taking into account other alleged causes of conflict. If the elite ties hypothesis is borne out we will use the contours of contemporary national and transnational elite connections to suggest where conflicts are most likely to emerge during the backlash against globalization.

      As noted above, we hypothesize that there has been a major transformation in the structure of militarism and patriarchal relations in the transition from British to U.S. hegemony. In the nineteenth century all the contending core elites and their social bases were organized as military powers. In the late twentieth and early twenty-first centuries this role has been taken up increasingly exclusively by the U.S.  Many other core powers have become organized around economic competition in the absence of strong military structures and concomitant gender ideologies, though this could change.  The U.S., with its very different trajectory, is likely to continue to employ its comparative military advantage in the global system.  A violent reaction to this within contending core powers will be delayed by the fact that some core powers have to varying degrees institutionalized relatively anti-military political cultures (notably Germany and Japan). Yet over time, upwardly mobile semiperipheral powers such as China or core rivals threatened by U.S. unilateralism may emerge as politico-military and socioeconomic rivals (Calleo, 2003b).  Such a possibility will be examined based on our collected data and assessment of the likely future alternatives for the trajectory of the global system.  The datasets we construct for this project will be widely disseminated for use by other scholars through the Institute for Research on World-Systems (IROWS) project website and the Inter-University Consortium for Political and Social Research (ICPSR).


Network Link Datasets

      The project will construct datasets for each targeted year on five groups of individuals in the core and semiperiphery, respectively.

1)      The 20 (hegemons) and 10 (other core) wealthiest individuals and/or families

2)      The 20 and 10 most powerful private individuals as determined by historical specialists;

3)      The CEO’s of the top 20 and 10 private firms or organizations

4)      The heads of states in the core

5)      The directors of 10 most powerful international organizations

We will also construct datasets for each targeted decade on

1)      The top 20 and 10 most powerful firms

2)      All the states in the core

3)      The 10 most powerful international organizations

We will analyze these data to study the nested and overlapping networks of the most wealthy and powerful individuals, organizations, and territorial jurisdictions in the world-system. We will use SPSS version 10 (statistical analysis software) and UCINET (network analysis software) to (1) construct and organize our datasets, and (2) perform the analyses and answer the questions described below.

Operationalizing Conflict

      The project will compare the structure of ties among individuals, organizations, states and colonies in the nineteenth century with the conflicts that emerged in the globalization backlash. Our main source of data on conflict will be the “correlates of war” project’s datasets on intra- and interstate conflicts (Singer n.d.).  As noted, democratic movements can have mixed effects on conflict. Elites often undertake military adventures abroad to deflect domestic conflict at home. We will thus also examine the relationship between global elite integration and patterns of labor unrest as operationalized by Silver (1995, 2003).  We will also code core and non-core countries, demarcating differences between weakly and thickly institutionalized democracies and study their relationship to global conflict. We will study the relationship between transnational and international ties and peaceful or conflictive relations.

Operationalizing Intranational and International Inequalities and Democracy

      Distributions of household income inequality are available for many countries in the last few decades, enough to make possible crossnational comparative research on trends of intranational inequalities. For earlier years we intend to utilize the approach to estimating intranational inequality developed by economic historians O’Rourke and Williamson (2000:175), which makes a ratio of estimates of the wages of unskilled urban workers with the GDP per worker hour. This will allow us to estimate changes in within-country inequality for many countries since at least 1880.  International inequality will be studied by examining the coefficient of variation of national GDP per capita, using the most recent estimates of GDP and population produced by Angus Maddison (1995; 2001).

      In order to study the democratization of states we will utilize the coding of Tatu Vanhanen (1997: Appendix 5), who estimates the level of democratization since 1850 for many states, recoding them according to whether they are thoroughly or weakly embedded.

Operationalization of Global Economic Instability

      To examine the effects of changing elite social foundations on global economic instability, and the degree to which this is an intervening variable in transmitting the effects of other variables to conflict we will operationalize economic growth rates using the GDP and population estimates of Maddison (1995; 2001).  We will also gather data on exchange and interest rates fluctuations and financial crises, as well as the proportion of world economic activity devoted to trade and production versus finance.


Research Project Time Line:  Start April 1, 2004 Finish March 31, 2006

Year 1:  Acquire data and construct datasets that identify links for each targeted decade. Build bibliographies on elites for each world region studied.

      Set up a Global Elite Integration Research Internet Collaboratory to facilitate communication, bibliography and data sharing among IROWS team members and with researchers at other universities.

Year 2: Collect linkage international linkage data for each targeted decade.

      Analyze the networks of international and transnational organizations, and territorial jurisdictions in the world-system. Formulate tentative answers to research questions.

      Begin production of interoperable project web site based on TimeMap® standards for presenting global animated maps show changes in transnational and international linkages over time.

      Researchers present conference papers, incorporating feedback and begin final analysis.

      Finish analysis, present papers, write journal articles and start book on global elite integration.

      Make the datasets available for distribution on the IROWS website ( and contributed to the Inter-University Consortium for Political and Social Research (ICPSR).  Announce the availability of the final version of the project web site, Global Integration and Conflict since 1840.

      The resulting databases, interoperable project web site and publications will provide learning opportunities for students and be disseminated to academics, NGO's and makers of public policy interested in issues of global conflict and cooperation, with a view towards improving understanding and initiatives to promote greater equality, democracy and global cooperation.

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[1] As William Borden (1984: 16) puts it in his fundamental study:  "The American policy to integrate Third World primary producing economies within the capitalist industrial economies dictated the pattern of postwar American intervention in South and Central America, the Caribbean, the Middle East, Africa, and, most noticeably, in Southeast Asia.

[2] Key works here are Campbell, 1997; Gordon, 1994a, b; Brown, 1999; Cohen, 2003; Metter, 1998; see Orloff, 1993; 1996; Manza, 2000a; 2000b; Mink, 1995; Epsing-Anderson, 1990: ch. 3).  Though Civil War pensions (Skocpol 1992) have been investigated, later social programs for veterans -- a form of welfare for service in warfare -- have been "invisible" within the literature on the New Deal (Campbell, 1997).  Importantly, from a comparative vantage point, it appears that the U.S. is unique in this regard, for according to Campbell, (1997: 68-69), no other core country has such large provisions for veterans.

[3] Capital markets are where capital funds, namely debt and equity securities, are traded. This includes those in private placements and organized market exchanges (paraphrasing Barron’s, 1998: 82).  On the resurgence of high finance, see Smith, 1993: 87; Reifer, 2002; Canterberry, 2000; Hale 2001; Krugman, 1999; Millman 1995; Partony 2002; cf. Pfister and Suter 1987).

[4] See Calleo 1987: 142; 2003; Arrighi, Silver, et al. 1999; Spiro 1999; Gowan 1999; Steinbruner and Kaufmann 1987; see also Markusen, 1998; forthcoming; cf. Brzezinski, 1997. 

[5] In terms of geopolitics, there is a wide body of literature analyzing cycles of hegemony, military alliance systems, bloc formation and rivalry and global war in the world-system (Dehio 1962; Thompson 1988; 1992; Rasler and Thompson 1994: Modelski and Thompson 1996; Arrighi 1994; Arrighi, Silver, et al. 1999; Chase-Dunn 1998; Kennedy 1987; Su, 1995).

[6] See van der Pijl 1984: 1998; Stone 1984; Cannadine 1990; 1994; Soffer, 1994; Mayer 1981; Baltzell 1953; 1979; 1987; 1995: 1996; Mills 1956; Domhoff 1967; 1970; 1975; 1998; Putnam 1976; Jaher 1982; Zeitlin and Ratcliff 1988; Bourdieu 1996; Swartz 1997; Middlemas 1995; Kerbo and McKinstry 1995; Dodwell 1996; Scott 1997;Duus 1995; Hamashita 1984; 1988; 1993; 1997; Barkey forthcoming; Stone 1990; Paige 1997; Williams 1994; Cookson, Jr. and Persell 1985; Zwiegenhaft and Domhoff 1998; Useem 1984; Wright, 1997; 2000; Brunk, Secrest and Tamashiro, 1996. 

[7] See Held, McGrew, Goldblatt and Perraton 1999; Jones 1981; 1992; see Watt 1965; see also Calleo and Rowland, 1973; see Duchene 1994; Anderson 1996a, b; Aldrich 1995; 1997; 2001).

[8] The literature here is extensive.  For a sampling, see Balibar and Wallerstein, 1991; Wallerstein, 1991; 1988; Smith, Collins, Hopkins, Muhammad, 1988; Dunaway, 2001; 2002; Grosfoguel, 2003; Quijano and Wallerstein, 1992; Magubane, 1979; 1996; Diamond, 1999; Mies, 1998; Williams, 1995; Nagel, 2003; Huttenback, 1976; Frederickson, 1981; Glenn, 2002; Sellers, 1991; Schlesinger 1945. 

[9] This assumes that there is a sufficiently pronounced causal link between transnational class formation based on relative interdependence and equality and the attenuation of inter-core conflict. Several theoretical perspectives (e.g. hegemonic stability theory, democratic peace) support this contention generally. See the review and discussion in Chase-Dunn, Kawano and Brewer (2000).

[10] The TimeMap® Project ( provides an interoperable standardized methodological approach for recording data in time and space that allows for the easy production of animated maps that show changes over time (Johnson 2000).