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The Modern World System
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  1. The Modern World System

  2. The Emergence of the World System • The world system is the result of the increasing interdependence of cultures and ecosystems that were once relatively isolated by distance and boundaries. • Of particular significance to the development of the world system was the European Age of Discovery, wherein the European sphere of influence began to be exported far beyond its physical boundaries by means of conquest and trade.

  3. Influence of the Capitalist World Economy • The defining attribute of capitalism is economic orientation to the world market for profit. • Colonial plantation systems led to monocrop production in areas that once had diverse subsistence bases (beginning in the seventeenth century). • Colonial commodities production was oriented toward the European market.

  4. Wallerstein’s World System Theory • Wallerstein has argued that international trade has led to the creation of a capitalist world economy in which a social system based on wealth and power differentials extends beyond individual states. • The world system is arranged according to influence: core (most dominant), to semi-periphery, to periphery (least dominant). • The core consists of the strongest and most powerful nations in which technologically advanced, capital-intensive products are produced and exported to the semiperiphery and the periphery. • The semiperiphery consists of industrialized Third World nations that lack the power and economic dominance of the core nations (Brazil is a semiperiphery nation). • The periphery consists of nations whose economic activities are less mechanized and are primarily concerned with exporting raw materials and agricultural goods to the core and semiperiphery.

  5. Causes of the Industrial Revolution. • The Industrial Revolution transformed Europe from a domestic (home handicraft) system to a capitalist industrial system. • Industrialization initially produced goods that were already widely used and in great demand (cotton products, iron, and pottery). • Manufacturing shifted from homes to factories where production was large scale and cheap. • Industrialization fueled a new kind of urban growth in which factories clustered together in regions where coal and labor were cheap.

  6. England and France • The Industrial Revolution began in England but not in France. • The French did not have to transform their domestic manufacturing system in order to increase production because it could draw on a larger labor force. • England, however, was already operating at maximum production so that in order to increase yields innovation was necessary. • Weber argued that the pervasiveness of Protestant beliefs in values contributed to the spread and success of industrialization in England, while Catholicism inhibited industrialization in France.

  7. Industrial Stratification • Although initially, industrialization in England raised the overall standard of living, factory owners soon began to recruit cheap labor from among the poorest populations. • Marx saw this trend as an expression of a fundamental capitalist opposition: the bourgeoisie (capitalists) versus the proletariat (propertyless workers). • According to Marx, the bourgeoisie owned the means of production and promoted industrialization to maintain their position, consequently intensifying the dispossession of the workers (a process called proletarianization). • Weber argued that Marx’s model was oversimplified and developed a model with three main factors contributing to socioeconomic stratification: wealth, power, and prestige (see previous chapter).

  8. Industrial Stratification (cont.) • Class consciousness (Marx) is the recognition of a commonalty of interest and identification with the other members of one’s economic stratum. • With considerable modification, it is recognized that a combination of the Marxian and Weberian models may be used to describe the modern capitalist world. • The distinction, core-semiperiphery-periphery, is used to describe a worldwide division of labor and capital ownership, but it is pointed out that the growing middle class and the existence of peripheries within core nations complicate the issue beyond the vision of Marx or Weber.

  9. Poverty on the Periphery • With the expansion of capitalism into the periphery, most of the local landowners have been displaced from their land by large landowners who in turn hired the displaced people at low wages to work the land they once owned. • Bangladesh is a good example of this in which British colonialism increased stratification, as only a few landowners own most of the land.

  10. Malaysian Factory Women • To combat rural poverty, the Malaysian government has encouraged large international companies to set up labor-intensive manufacturing operations in rural Malaysia. • Factory life contrasts sharply with the traditional customs of the rural Malaysians. • Aihwa Ong has studied the effect of work in Japanese electronics factories on Malaysian women employees. • Severe contrasts between the work conditions and the culture of the women generate alienation, which results in stress.

  11. Malaysian Factory Women (cont.) • This stress has been manifested as possession by weretigers, which expresses the workers’ resistance, but has as yet effected little change in the overall situation. • Ong argues that spirit possession is a form of rebellion and resistance that enable factory women to avoid direct confrontation with the source of their distress. • Spirit possessions were not very effective at bringing about improvements in the factory conditions, and actually they may help maintain the current conditions by operating as a safety valve for stress.

  12. Open and Closed Class Systems • Formalized inequalities have taken many forms, such as caste, slavery, and class systems. • Caste systems are closed, hereditary systems of stratification that are often dictated by religion (the Hindu caste systems of the Indian subcontinent are given as an example). • South African apartheid is given as comparable to a caste system, in that it was ascriptive and closed through law. • State sanctioned slavery, wherein humans are treated as property, is the most extreme form of legalized inequality. • Vertical mobility refers to the upward or downward change in a person's status. • Vertical mobility exists only in open class systems. • Open class systems are more commonly found in modern states than in archaic states.

  13. The World System Today • World system theory argues that the present-day interconnectedness of the world has generated a global culture, wherein the trends of complementarity and specialization are being manifested at an international level. • The modern world system is the product of European imperialism and colonialism. • Imperialism refers to a policy of extending rule of a nation or empire over foreign nations and of taking and holding foreign colonies. • Colonialism refers to the political, social, economic, and cultural domination of a territory and its people by a foreign power for an extended period of time. • The spread of industrialization and overconsumption has taken place from the core to the periphery.

  14. The American Periphery • Thomas Collins compared two counties at opposite ends of Tennessee, both of which used to have economies dominated by agriculture and timber, but now have few employment opportunities. • The population in Hill County in eastern Tennessee is mostly white and opposes labor unions, which has attracted some Japanese companies to the county. • The population in Delta County in western Tennessee is mostly black and strongly supports labor unions, which has deterred companies from setting up factories in the county.

  15. Industrial Degradation • The Industrial Revolution greatly accelerated the encompassment of the world by states, all but eliminating all previous cultural adaptations. • Expansion of the world system is often accompanied by genocide, ethnocide, and ecocide.

  16. Colonialism and Development

  17. Imperialism • Imperialism refers to a policy of extending rule of a nation or empire over foreign nations and of taking and holding foreign colonies. • Colonialism refers to the political, social, economic, and cultural domination of a territory and its people by a foreign power for an extended period of time. • Imperialism is as old as the state. • Modern colonialism began with the Age of Discovery during which European nations founded colonies throughout the New World.

  18. British Colonialism • The search for resources and new markets to increase profits fueled British colonialism. • The first phase of British colonialism was concentrated in the New World, west Africa, and India and came to a close with the American Revolution. • During the second period of colonialism, Britain eventually controlled most of India, Australia, New Zealand, Canada, and large portions of eastern and southern Africa. • British colonial efforts were justified by what Kipling called “white man’s burden,” which asserted that native peoples were not capable of governing themselves and needed the white British colonialist to provide and maintain order.

  19. French Colonialism • French colonialism was driven more by the state, the church , and the military, rather than by business interests. • The first phase of French colonial efforts was focused in Canada, the Louisiana Territory, the Caribbean, and west Africa. • During the second phase of French colonialism (1870 to World War II), the empire grew to include most of north Africa and Indochina. • The ideological legitimization for French colonialism was mission civilisatrice (similar to “white man’s burden”): to spread French culture, language, and religion throughout the colonies. • The French used two forms of colonial rule. • Indirect rule refers to the French practice of governing through native political structures and leaders. • Direct rule refers to the French practice of imposing new governments upon native populations.

  20. Colonialism and Identity • Ethnic and political distinctions around the world were severely disrupted by colonialism. • For example, many of the modern political boundaries in west Africa are based on linguistic, political, and economic contrasts that are the result of European colonial policies in the region.

  21. Postcolonial Studies • Postcolonial studies refers to research that targets the interactions between European nations and the societies they colonized. • The term has also been used to refer to the second half of the 20th century. • The term may also be used to signify a position against imperialism and Eurocentrism. • The postcolonies can be divided into settler, nonsettler, and mixed. • Settler postcolonies include countries that are dominated by European settlers with only sparse native populations (e.g., Australia). • Nonsettler postcolonies are characterized by large native populations and only a small number of Europeans (e.g., India). • Mixed postcolonies refer to countries with both sizable native and European populations (e.g., South Africa and Kenya).

  22. Development • An intervention philosophy is an ideological justification for interference in the lives of natives, based upon the assumption that one is in possession of a superior way of doing or thinking. • British Empire – white man's burden. • French Empire – mission civilisatrice. • Economic development plans – industrialization, modernization, westernization, and individualism are desirable evolutionary advances that will bring long-term benefits to natives.

  23. Problems • Problems Associated with Narrowly Focused Intervention and Development. • Situations construed as problems resulting from an indigenous lifestyle may in fact be a result of the world system’s impact on that lifestyle. • The systemic effects of development projects may actually be harmful (e.g., tax and rent increases in response to raised income). • Narrowly focused experts are not as likely to be aware of the broad-spectrum implications of development schemes.

  24. The Brazilian Sisal Scheme • In the 1950s, Brazil’s government attempted to introduce sisal as a cash crop into the subsistence economy of the sertão. • Development increased dependence on the world economy, ruined the local subsistence economy, and worsened local health and income distribution. • Sisal and Child labor • http://www.globalmarch.org/cl-around-the-world/copy-sweat-toil95/brazil-sisal.php3

  25. The Greening of Java • Worldwide, the green revolution has increased food supplies and reduced food prices. • However, the emphasis on front capital and advanced technological and chemical farming allowed the bureaucratic and economic elites of Java to strengthen their positions at the expense of poorer farmers. • Ann Stoler’s analysis of the green revolution’s impact on Java suggested that it differentially affected such things as gender stratification, depending on class.

  26. Equity • A commonly stated goal of development projects is increased equity, which means a reduction in poverty and a more even distribution of wealth. • This goal is frequently thwarted by local elites acting to preserve or enhance their positions.

  27. The Third World Talks Back • Applied anthropologists have been criticized for ethnocentrism in their own approaches to development (see the reference to Guillermo Batalla). • Too much focus on multiple and micro-causes while ignoring major social inequalities. • Early projects were too psychologically oriented. • Too much focus on technological diffusion as the primary source of change. • Other critics have pointed out associations between anthropologists and certain government agencies.

  28. Strategies for Innovation • Kottak describes his comparative analysis of sixty-eight development projects, wherein he determined that culturally compatible economic development projectswere twice as successful financially as the incompatible ones. • Overinnovation refers to development projects that require major changes on behalf of the target community • Projects that are guilty of overinnovation are generally not successful. • To avoid overinnovation, development projects need to be sensitive to the traditional culture and concerns of daily life in the target community.

  29. Underdifferentiation • Underdifferentiation is the tendency to overlook cultural diversity and view less-developed countries as alike. • Many development projects incorrectly assume that the nuclear family is the basic unit of production and land ownership. • Many development projects also incorrectly assume that cooperatives based on models from the former Eastern bloc will be readily incorporated by rural communities.

  30. Third World Models • The best models for economic development are to be found in the target communities. • Realistic development promotes change, not overinnovation, by preserving local systems while making them work better. • The Malagasy example shows attention paid to local social forms (descent organization) and environmental conditions (e.g., taking livestock from strains adapted to a similar environment).