World System Theory

Sparked from a backyard BBQ discussion the other night I became interested in a concept called “World System Theory”. Looking at the world’s problems and history from a 30,000-foot point of view, patterns start to emerge showing that global empires are not sustainable.

The basic economic organization of the world system consists of a single worldwide division of labor that unifies multiple cultural systems into a single economic system. Wallerstein suggests that the political framework in which this division of labor exists is not a formal world system but rather an interstate system manifest as a series of sovereign states that is a product of the world economic system. And, because of political fragmentation, no single state can dominate the world system. Therefore, the world market with its own internal logic can operate practically free of political control.

Be sure to scroll and read about Wallerstein’s three alternative models of political development:

  1. The Khomeni Option
  2. The Saddam Hussein Option
  3. The “Boat People” Option

Posted by Cameron Barrett at June 9, 2003 09:53 PM

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *