Sunday, May 6, 2012

Global Stratification: World System Theory

In 1974 Immanuel Wallerstin first proposed an alternative explanation of global stratification to the colonial theory of the 19th century. According to this theory, industrialization was the key which led to four groupings of nations: core nations, semi-periphery, periphery, and external areal.

  • The first group, the core nations, were the nations that industrialized first and which grew rich and powerful. These nations include Britian, France, Holland, and later Germany
  • The second group, the semi-periphery, are nations located in the Mediterranean who were originally quite wealthy, but their economy stagnated because of dependence on trade with the core nations.
  • The third group, the periphery, are the eastern European countries who sold cash crops to the core nations.
  • Lastly, the external area, are those nations which were left completely out of the early development of capitalism. This includes mostly Africa and Asia, though modern developments of the economy have changed that dynamic.
The globalization of capitalism has created a network of relationships between national economies. Production and trade in one country are affected by social upheaval or trade policy in another and whatever happens to one nation has consequences for the rest of the world. We are now part of a World system.

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