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World-System An interdependent system of countries linked by economic and political competition.

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Presentation on theme: "World-System An interdependent system of countries linked by economic and political competition."— Presentation transcript:

1 World-System An interdependent system of countries linked by economic and political competition

2 World-system processes
CORE Industrialized capitalist countries or regions. PERIPHERY Exploited countries and regions (“poor”) SEMI-PERIPHERY Countries or regions with mixed processes. Both exploited and exploiters.

3 Results of World-System
The growth and strength of the Core is made possible by the exploitation of the rest of the world. The “poverty” in the Periphery is made possible by the exploitation by the rest of the world. Recent globalization has widened, not narrowed, the gap between Core and Periphery countries.

4 Globalization is nothing new (Flows of goods, capital, information)

5 World-System History European colonialism/ slave trade, 1500s-1800s
Industrial Revolution/ wage labor, 1800s/ early 1900s World War II/ Cold War/ decolonization, mid-1900s Neocolonialism/ multinational corporations, late 1900s

6 Why Europe? Early technical innovations Evangelical zeal
Armor, gunnery from wars among many small states Shipbuilding and navigation Evangelical zeal Crusades in Middle East Missionaries in Americas Law of Diminishing Returns Drive for gold/ money reached limits at home —Land divided by inheritance

7 Wars among small states


9 Elements of a map

10 Hegemony Domination over a region or the world
Not just political or military control Most pervasive is economic and cultural control

11 Leadership cycles (competitive struggles)
Netherlands and Portugal, 1400s-1500s Spain and Portugal, 1500s-1600s England and France, 1600s-early 1900s Germany and Japan, United States and Soviet Union, s United States and ……? 1990s-2000s European Union and East Asian bloc, 2010s ?


13 Industrial Revolution
Early-1800s Britain (Hearth) --from slave cotton Textiles, steam power, iron, canals Mid-1800s Diffusion to Germany, France, Belgium Steel, railroads, steamships, telegraph Late-1800s/ early-1900s Spread to much of Europe, US, Japan Electricity, oil, engines, roads, radio

14 International Division of Labor
Core (colonial powers) need resources, labor Periphery (colonies) has labor, resources Colonies had “comparative advantages” in natural resources The Core “underdeveloped” the Periphery, which was not “poor” of its own accord

15 Imperialism, 1914 Britain France Spain Portugal Italy Netherlands
Germany Russia U.S. Japan Italy

16 Geography Implicated Ethnocentrism and racism
Imperialism and colonialism Environmental determinism

17 Imperialism: Formal Colonialism
Colonies under direct control Core controls labor, resources, land Often indirect political rule through local leaders

18 Imperialism: Spheres of Influence
Core dominated, but not controlled, trade and resources British opium war in China

19 World War II Begins contemporary globalization
Sudden shifts in economic hegemony, political power Sudden technological innovations Sudden growth of transportation, communications networks

20 Late 1940s: U.S. dominant Sole possession of atomic bomb to 1949
Nagasaki Late 1940s: U.S. dominant Sole possession of atomic bomb to 1949 War destroyed industries of Europe, Russia and Japan U.S. finances reconstruction Frankfurt

21 Anti-colonial revolts
Colonial flags come down Asia, 1940s-1950s, Africa 1960s-1970s “Neocolonialism” continues Ex-colonial powers still dominate economies, resources, cultures

22 Cold War, 1949-1989 US-USSR “hot wars” fought in Periphery
Periphery states competed for aid Arms race depleted global social resources

23 Multinational corporations
Investments, activities transcend borders Subsidiaries in many Periphery/S-P countries Core domination, centralization outside state structure Cartoon on Standard Oil, 1904

24 World divisions, late 20th century
First World - Industrialized capitalist countries of Western Europe, North America. Second World - Centrally-planned “socialist” countries such as former Soviet Union. Third World - Ex-colonial nations such as India, Malaysia, Iran, Brazil, etc. Fourth World - Poorest nations (and indigenous communities)


26 “North/South” Divisions
Poor countries tend to be located in Southern Hemisphere. World Bank estimates more than 1.3 billion people (1/5 world population) live in acute poverty of < $1 (U.S.) per day. 70% women and children Self-Sustaining

27 Regions of the “World Village”
In a world village of 1,000: 333 East Asians 274 South Asians 132 Africans 120 Europeans 86 Latin Americans 50 North Americans 5 from Oceania

28 Household income Average annual income $4,890 600 poor 300 marginal
100 well-off

29 Ownership/consumption
200 richest villagers own and consume 80% of goods Other villagers own and consume remaining 20%

30 Material World: A Global Family Portrait
Iceland Guatemala Japan

31 Philadelphia Infant Mortality
Red area high than at least 28 “Third World” countries, including: Jamaica Cuba Costa Rica Malaysia Panama Sri Lanka South Korea Taiwan Uruguay Argentina Chile

32 The Core Industrialized capitalist countries, led by former colonial powers Centers of trade, technology, productivity. Examples: Western Europe, North America, Japan, Australia Exploit the Periphery and Semi-periphery.

33 The Periphery Poor, ex-colonial nations.
Tend to export resources and labor. Examples: Kenya, Bolivia, Pakistan, etc. Exploited by Core and by Semi-periphery

34 The Semi-periphery Partially industrialized ex-colonial countries.
Both exporters and importers of goods. Examples: South Africa, Brazil, Mexico, Taiwan, South Korea, etc. (parts of India, China?) Exploited by Core, but also exploit Periphery.


36 New International Division of Labor
Industrial growth of Europe and Japan Internationalization of economic networks New global consumer markets New global technologies

37 Industrial growth of Europe, Japan
European economic bloc Expanding to east, will it include western Russia? Japan, other East Asian states Four Tigers (Taiwan, South Korea, Singapore, Hong Kong) China as possible partner in new economic bloc? Relative decline of U.S. in “Tripolar Economy”

38 Internationalization of economics
TRADE “Free trade” agreements Standards “race to bottom” FINANCES 24/7 stock markets Mobile investments PRODUCTION Overseas “sweatshops” Core automating, losing industrial jobs

39 New consumer markets World products Media diffusion
Core luxury goods Media diffusion CNN, MTV, Hollywood Semi-periphery consumers Four Tigers, Oil states

40 New technological innovations
Microelectronics Personal computers Internet Satellites Aircraft Robotics (automation) Biotechnology Container ships/rail

41 Digital Divide Unequal access to telecommunications and information technology 80% of websites in North America 20% of population has 74% of phone lines

42 “Fast” vs. “Slow” worlds
“Fast” (20%) has access to telecommunications, consumer goods, arts & entertainment. “Slow” (80%) has limited access, more resentment of elites. Search for “sense of place” in both areas to lessen alientation.

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