The Age of Transition: Trajectory of the World System, 1945-2025

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Terence K. Hopkins
Palgrave Macmillan, Aug 15, 1996 - Business & Economics - 278 pages
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Everyone agrees the world is changing in the 1990s with the end of the Cold War and with a supposedly new globalization. But are these the essential changes? In order to see where the world is headed in the next quarter-century, it is crucial to analyse correctly where it has been since 1945. It is the contention of this book that the post-1945 world already saw its major moment of change in the years 1967-73, a moment in which there was a conjuncture of three major turning-points, each leading to a downturn. These comprise, in the short-term, the end of the world economic expansion in the current 50-year Kondratieff cycle; in the medium-term, the beginning of a decline in the dominant role of the USA; and in the long-term, intimations of a possible systemic disintegration of the 500-year-old capitalist world-economy. Separating out these effects, the book analyses what constitutes the long-term structural crisis of the world-system into which we have entered, and the very difficult period of transition which has begun.This concrete analysis of the coming decades in the light of the previous ones is a product of the world-systems analysis of the Fernand Braudel Center for the Study of Economies, Historical Systems, and Civilizations. The period 1945-90 is analysed in terms of six main vectors: the interstate system, world production, the world labour force, world human welfare, the social cohesion of the states, and the structures of knowledge. The book concludes with two global overviews: one for 1945-1990, and one assessing global possibilities, 1990-2025. It paints a picture of dark days ahead, but one in which there are real historical choices.
  

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Contents

Thomas Reifer and Jamie Sudler
13
World Production
38
The World Labour Force
87
World Human Welfare
117
The Social Cohesion of the States
148
Structures of Knowledge
178
The Global Picture 194590
209
The Global Possibilities 19902025
226
Bibliography
244
Index
272
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About the author (1996)

Terence K. Hopkins is the author of The Age of Transition and co-author of Anti-Systemic Movements.

Wallerstein studied at Columbia University, where he received his Ph.D. in 1959. His work has focused primarily on what he calls "world systems theory," which deals with the socioeconomic dynamics of global dependence and interdependence. As Wallerstein sees it, the wealthy nations of the world control and manipulate the destinies of weaker nations and keep them dependent. The world system is an outcome of historic global, political, and ideological forces leading to Western hegemony.

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