Immanuel Wallerstein, The Capitalist World Economy (1979), pp. 1-36

Summary:_Capitalism is a world economy, and within that countries occupy the positions of core, periphery and semi-periphery. One must examine the structural role that a country plays in the world-economy at a given time in order to explain the strength of various state machineries. The semi-periphery plays a political role more than an economic one, it prevents a unified contestation of the core as they are both exploited and exploiters.

 

 

== Notes ==

* Social system = defined by the existence within it of one division of labour – thus the only real system is the world-system.

* World systems come in two varieties

** One with a common political system (World-Empires)

** One without (World-Economies)

* How does one demonstrate the existence of a single division of labour?

** Specialization occurs in specific and differing geographic regions of the world economy

 

KEY: Capitalism involves not only appropriation of the surplus value by an owner from a laborer, but an appropriation of surplus of the whole world-economy by core areas.

* Capitalism was from the beginning an affair of the world-economy and not of nation-states.

 

The strengthening of the state machineries in core areas has as its direct counterpart the decline of the state machineries in peripheral areas. Why?

* The interest of capitalist landowners in the periphery lie in an opposite direction from the local commercial bourgeoisie

* Over the history of the modern world-system, it is clear that the strength of the state machinery in core states is a function of the weaknesses of other state machineries

 

_One must examine the structural role that a country plays in the world-economy at a given time in order to explain the strength of various state machineries._

* It is crucial to understanding that we understand the role of the semi-periphery, which allows the world-economy to run smoothly

* The semi-periphery plays the political role of mediator between core and periphery

* The economy could survive without the semi-peripheral role, but it would be far less politically stable

** The upper stratum is not faced with unified opposition from the others, because the middle stratum is both exploited and exploiters

* System is stable due to military strength and ideological commitment as well

 

The functioning of a capitalist world-economy requires that groups pursue their economic interests within a single world market while seeking to distort this market for their benefit by organizing to exert influence on states, some of which are far more powerful than others but none of which controls the world market in its entirety.

 

== POLI 647 Notes ==

* World-Empire vs. World-Economy (Capitalist)

* Imagines the world as if there was only one single division of labour

 

3 Structural Positions existed by 1640

* Core

* Periphery

* Semi-Periphery

 

The existence of the Semi-Periphery makes the interactions between the other two much smoother

* No unified opposition against the core -> Semi-periphery is both the exploited and the exploiter

 

Wallerstein highlights the importance of rooting analyses in a global perspective