Chaos and Governance in the Modern World System
In a period of dramatic transformation and upheaval, as we wonder what the future holds, this book reminds us that the world has undergone enormous ... Show synopsis In a period of dramatic transformation and upheaval, as we wonder what the future holds, this book reminds us that the world has undergone enormous changes before and that an understanding of those changes may tell us something about our own turbulent time. The authors look to two earlier periods that resemble the present in key respects -- the transition from Dutch to British world hegemony in the eighteenth century and the transition from British to U.S. world hegemony in the late-nineteenth and early-twentieth centuries. In each case, a system wide expansion culminated in crisis and systemic chaos; eventually, a new hegemonic power reorganized the system to solve the problems and contradictions that underlay the chaos. The authors find recurrent characteristics in these transitions, such as the resurgence of finance capital and the intensification of interstate rivalries and social conflict. They also recognize, however, how the present transition differs from the previous patterns. Among the anomalies are the proliferation of transnational organizations and communities, increased social conflict in driving systemic change, a geographical split between military and financial powers, and a shift in the processes of capital accumulation away from the West. Chaos and Governance in the Modern Worm System addresses controversies affecting a range of fields -- political, economic, social, and cultural -- concerned with global change. Though written from a world-systems perspective, it emphasizes the instability and adaptability of world capitalism and the role played by hegemonic states in periodically reorganizing the system.