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International Relations - Essay Example

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Solving the Core-Periphery Problem: Wallerstein’s Theory of Semi-Periphery Introduction The world system is characterised by inequality. This global inequality is rooted in the gap between poor and rich countries. Such inequality, once implanted, is maintained and strengthened by forces of the global market, whereby the ‘core’ manipulates the economic system of the ‘peripheries’ to satisfy its own interests…
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International Relations
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Download file to see previous pages When this state of affairs took place in Europe, jobs were created for the increasing number of workers, but in poor countries, this economic manipulation has had a damaging impact, throwing a number of workers out of production. It thus impedes the launch into sustainable development and self-supported progress (Halevy 1981, 67-68). This is the inherent problem in the relationship between the core and periphery, which Immanuel Wallerstein attempted to resolve. But was he successful in resolving this problem? This essay thus tries to prove that he is indeed so. Overview of Wallerstein’s Theory of Semi-Periphery Immanuel Wallerstein tries to analyse and understand the growth of the West—the ‘core’—and the retarded growth of the third world—the ‘periphery’—as regards to world system governed by capitalistic structures which has facilitated economic penetration from the core to the periphery. As explained by Wallerstein, this world system which grew during the 16th century has shown the vital and extraordinary attribute of being economically integrated but politically disunited (Jackson & Sorensen 2007, 191). Earlier world systems were characterised by global empires where in massive stretches of lands, peopled by various racial/ethnic groups, were governed by a single political machinery. These empires were successful in acquiring huge quantities of surplus, for a while, by collecting taxes from faraway lands in return for political security (Jackson & Sorensen 2007, 191). Yet, eventually, the cost of sustaining this security (e.g. military expenses) exceeded the economic gains of exploitation and manipulation, and the systems were hence fated to collapse. On the contrary, the European world system has not been hindered by an overruling political body; thus its natural strength, stability, and flexibility. This system, on its own, has been able to acquire surplus which does not have to be used up on the preservation of world order; thus, it on its own has been a major contributor to the growth of capitalism (Baylis, Smith, & Owens 2008). An economic world system was not merely favourable for the growth of capitalism; it was a requisite of it. This is due to the fact that crucial, initial capital accumulation did not take place substantially in the ‘core’ where in capitalist structures in fact grew, but instead in the ‘periphery’, from which it was embezzled through the world system dynamics for the core’s interest and gains. Such initial capital accumulation in the periphery was facilitated because the capitalist ventures of landholders there had enhanced productivity by opening up ventures with low ‘per capita output’ such as major plantations (Halevy 1981, 68). Forced labour and cash crop, which supported these ventures in the periphery, was hence the important foundation for the preliminary growth of capitalism in core countries. The capitalist landholders of the periphery have been trading their products on a global market and thus have been in constant rivalry against each other. The benefits of high output or productivity that they have attained have consequently been equalised by their products’ lower prices. Their boosts in efficiency and higher ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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