Wallerstein's Theory of Globalization

by Charles Alex Miller ; Updated September 26, 2017
The Internet has increased the rate of globalization drastically.

Globalization, or the joint, world-wide expansion of the world's economy, is a popularly debated topic among economists. Proponents of globalization say it brings new opportunities to everyone, while anti-globalization groups suggest it harms the majority of the world's population. One anti-globalization lobbyist, Immanuel Wallerstein, even suggests the world is on the verge of economical failure.

Immanuel Wallerstein

At the time of publication, Immanuel Wallerstein is a retired professor and expert on world affairs. He began his academic career at Columbia University, where he was awarded a Bachelor of Arts, Master of Arts, and Ph.D. degrees in 1951, 1954 and 1959, respectively. After receiving his Ph.D., Wallerstein taught at McGill University in Canada until 1976. He later taught at Binghamton University until he retired in 1999. While at Binghamton University, he was the head of the Fernand Braudel Center for the Study of Economics.

Globalization

A great deal of Wallerstein's professional work revolves around the idea of globalization. Globalization is essentially the process of increasing connections between the world's markets and businesses. The rate of globalization has increased dramatically in the 21st century because of the widespread use of the Internet and the increase in the infrastructure of telecommunications. Although globalization can create more business opportunities, it can increase competition, something that can ultimately hurt rivaling economies.

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World-System

The majority of Wallerstein's work focuses on the world-system. Wallerstein believes the world-system is composed of the core, the periphery and the semi-periphery. The core is the dominating economic power, the United States. The periphery provides raw materials to the core and relies on the core's expensive products. The semi-periphery is exploited by the core, like periphery, and, like the core, exploits the periphery. The world-system may have originated as early as 1500 AD as the result of new technological developments and frustrations with feudalism. New trade routes allowed European powers to extend their economic might to all corners of the globe until, Wallerstein argues, that globalization reached its limit in the 20th century because capitalism was finally able to reach all parts of the globe.

Wallerstein's Theories

Wallerstein has two main beliefs. He believes capitalism favors the core and discourages the growth of the semi-periphery and the periphery. He also believes future economic contractions will be invincible. In the past, recessions were fought by further global expansion, something Wallerstein now says is impossible. If changes are not made, Wallerstein argues capitalism will ultimately fail.

About the Author

Charles Alex Miller began writing professionally in 2010. He currently writes for various websites, specializing in the sciences. He is a full-time employee in the chemicals and environmental sciences industry.

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