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The World System: Five Hundred Years or Five Thousand?

4.09  ·  Rating Details ·  11 Ratings  ·  2 Reviews
The historic long-term economic interconnections of the world are now universally accepted. The idea of the 'world system' advanced by Immanuel Wallerstein has set the period of linkage in the early modern period. But some academics think this date is much too late and denies a much longer interconnection going back as much as five thousand years.
Reframing the chronology
Paperback, 344 pages
Published November 14th 1996 by Routledge (first published August 17th 1994)
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Universal History

This collection is really superb! Andre Gunder Frank and Barry K. Gills (henceforth, F/G) argue, against established 'World-Systems' Theory, that there is in reality only one Eurasian 'World System' and that it began several millennia ago. They are here somewhat supported by the distinct positions of Ekholm and Friedman and also the rather separate 'Central Civilization' position of David Wilkinson. Parts I, II, and III lay out the argument while Part IV includes dissenting POV'
Mar 29, 2011 Alex rated it really liked it
A series of essays toward a really long duree world systems theory, requiring the expansion and blowing up of Marx's analyses in Capital - the world often has a singular heartbeat that goes like this: competition and expansion of production and appropriation at the top, massive social contradictions, resolutions and massive destruction of empires.

Lots of interesting rejoinders (Amin, Wallerstein, Abu-Lughod) about the role of area studies and area specialists, and how big of a theory one needs
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“The world system wide reality is the competitive dog-eat-dog war of all against all (à la Hobbes), in which only the few can win and the many must lose. And so it has been for millennia, thanks to the world system's unequal structure and uneven process, which Wallerstein helps us identify.” 0 likes
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