The World Systems Theory | Approach to World
World systems theory (also known as world-systems analysis or the world-systems perspective) is a multidisciplinary, macro-scale approach to world history and social change which emphasizes the world-system (and not nation-states) as the primary (but not exclusive) unit of social analysis.
“World-system” refers to the inter-regional and transnational division of labor, which divides the world into core countries, semi-periphery countries, and the periphery countries. Core countries focus on higher skill, capital-intensive production, and the rest of the world focuses on low-skill, labor-intensive production, and extraction of raw materials. This constantly reinforces the dominance of the core countries. Nonetheless, the system has dynamic characteristics, in part as a result of revolutions in transport technology, and individual states can gain or lose their core (semi-periphery, periphery) status over time.
This structure is unified by the division of labor. It is a world-economy rooted in a capitalist economy. For a time, certain countries become the world hegemon; during the last few centuries, as the world-system has extended geographically and intensified economically, this status has passed from the Netherlands to the United Kingdom and (most recently) to the United States.
World-systems theory has been examined by many political theorists and sociologists to explain the reasons for the rise and fall of nations, income inequality, social unrest, and imperialism.
Core nations appear to be powerful, wealthy and highly independent of outside control. They are able to deal with bureaucracies effectively; they have powerful militaries and can boast with strong economies. Due to resources that are available to them (mainly intellectual), they are able to be at the forefront of technological progress and have a significant influence on less developed non-core nations.
These regions have a less developed economy and are not dominant in international trade. In terms of their influence on the world economies, they end up midway between the core and periphery countries. However, they strive to get into a dominant position of the core nation, and it was proved historically that it is possible to gain major influence in the world and become a core country.
These are the nations that are the least economically developed. One of the main reasons for their peripheral status is the high percentage of uneducated people who can mainly provide cheap unskilled labor to the core nations. There is a very high level of social inequality, together with a relatively weak government that is unable to control the country’s economic activity and the extensive influence of the core nations.
Importance of studying world-systems theory
The process of humankind evolvement is usually dynamic and due to many economic, political and social factors, the dominance of certain countries may shift rapidly over time, which in turn, regularly changes the whole picture of world economics. This gives a huge field for studying and makes a world-systems theory interesting and useful for the effective development of economics, society and the world in general.
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Why Is The World Systems Theory Important?
The process of humankind evolvement is usually dynamic and due to many economic, political and social factors, the dominance of certain countries may shift rapidly over the time, which in turn, regularly changes the whole picture of world economics.