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The Emergence of the Global Political Economy PDF

265 Pages·2003·1.15 MB·English
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THE EMERGENCE OF THE GLOBAL POLITICAL ECONOMY Given the current fascination with globalization and its possible implications, it is worth keeping in mind that the processes associated with globalization have been ongoing for centuries. They are not entirely novel or recent in origin. The book focuses on the emergence of a global political economy as early as the sixteenth century although even this development had been preceded by centuries of changes leading up to a closer economic integration of eastern and western Eurasia. Several themes are addressed. The political economic dynamics for the global system can be generalized but they are not timeless. Circumstances helped create a global political economy and, once created, it continues to evolve and undergo transformation. Some west Europeans played an important part in the emergence of the system but the ascendance of western Eurasia in the system cannot easily be attributed primarily to various “superior” attributes of western Europe. The major exceptions to this generalization are naval technology and military weaponry but it is also easy to exaggerate the role played by military superiority. A number of other factors were just as critical, if not more so. Once the system was created, a major dynamic for political change focused on a process of challenge developed. Although we do not always recognize the continuity of this process, the major wars of the past 500 years have been caught up and focused on questions of leadership succession in the global political economy. While we cannot assume that this process will go on forever, it is possible to sketch out its general parameters, and to use the historical tendencies to speculate about the future of the global political economy. The argument is not simply that the system is or has been governed by a cycle of periods of economic-political- military primacy, and leadership succession attempts, although that has been the case, but also that there are aspects of the dynamics that suggest a potential for further fundamental transformation of the global political economy. William R.Thompson is Professor of Political Science at Indiana University and a former co-editor of International Studies Quarterly (1994–98). He has previously taught at the University of California, Riverside, Claremont Graduate University, and Florida State University with visiting appointments at the Universities of Arizona and Minnesota. INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS AND HISTORY SERIES Edited by Jeremy Black How states operate internationally, the nature of conflicts that divide them, the instruments they employ to pursue their ideals and secure their interests are of paramount importance to historians and the study of history. The International Relations and History series explores the international system and international relations between countries and nation states from antiquity to the twentieth century. The series investigates themes such as the structure of international society, notions of statehood, national interest and the practicalities of conflict, competition and co-operation. Forthcoming titles: POST-WAR PEACE MAKING Philip Towle CODE OF CONDUCT: THE RULES OF INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS Ralph Menning FROM STATE FORMATION TO GLOBALIZATION Roland Axtmann THE AMERICAN CENTURY: THE FOREIGN RELATIONS OF THE UNITED STATES, 1900–2000 Nigel J.Ashton THE UNITED STATES AND LATIN AMERICA Joseph Smith THE EMERGENCE OF THE GLOBAL POLITICAL ECONOMY William R.Thompson London and New York First published 2000 by Routledge 11 New Fetter Lane, London EC4P 4EE Simultaneously published in the USA and Canada by Routledge 29 West 35th Street, New York, NY 10001 Routledge is an imprint of the Taylor & Francis Group This edition published in the Taylor & Francis e-Library, 2003. © 2000 William R.Thompson All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reprinted or reproduced or utilized in any form or by any electronic, mechanical, or other means, now known or hereafter invented, including photocopying, recording, or in any information storage or retrieval system, without permission in writing from the publishers. British Library Cataloguing in Publication Data A catalogue record for this book is available from the British Library Library of Congress Cataloging in Publication Data A catalog record for this book has been requested ISBN 0-203-45302-6 Master e-book ISBN ISBN 0-203-76126-X (Adobe eReader Format) ISBN 0-415-214-521 (hb) ISBN 0-415-214-53X (pb) CONTENTS List of figures vii List of tables viii Preface ix PART I Introduction and overview 1 1 K-waves, leadership cycles, and global war: an orientation 3 2 Evolutionary and coevolutionary considerations 22 PART II The ascendance of western europe 37 3 The 1490s: a question of evolutionary (dis)continuity? 39 4 The divergent coevolution of two eurasian regions 54 5 The military superiority thesis 74 PART III The leadership challenge sequence 101 6 The emergence of a challenge process 103 7 Mountains of gold and iron 119 8 Challenges in the active zone 134 v CONTENTS PART IV Structural change and evolution 157 9 Britain as a system leader in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries 159 10 The Anglo-American rivalry before World War I 188 11 Passing the torch in a manner of speaking: the system leader lineage 205 Notes 222 References 233 Index 246 vi FIGURES 1.1 Innovation, concentration and warfare 17 2.1 Coevolving parts of the whole 30 4.1 Chinese and west European population growth, 200 BC-1500 AD 62 8.1 A more intensive challenger model 145 9.1 British relative decline 184 10.1 US-British trade as proportions of their total trade 197 10.2 The British-US transition in leading sector leadership 198 10.3 Rational choice versus evolutionary approaches to rivalry analyses 201 11.1 Constant’s turbojet partial heritage 210 11.2 Commercial-maritime lineages 219 vii TABLES 1.1 Long cycles in global politics: learning and leadership patterns 8 1.2 The hypothesized relationship between the learning long-cycle and global lead industries 11 1.3 Predicted versus observed growth peaks in global lead industries 12 1.4 Global war coalitions 14 1.5 Attainment of global leadership and the timing of K-waves 16 3.1 Endogeneity/exogeneity and the uniqueness of Europe in representative explanations of European ascendancy 43 4.1 The presence or absence of certain critical factors in the transition of economic growth leadership from east to west 68 5.1 The timing of imperial expansion and contraction (measured in squared megameters) 95 8.1 Global lead economies 137 8.2 Principal challengers and outcomes 147 8.3 Testing the challenger model 148 8.4 The historical evolution of challenger strategies 150 8.5 Historical periods of capital accumulation and organization of companies with international activities 152 9.1 Attributes alleged to distinguish history and social science 163 9.2 Seventeen antistructuralist assertions about Britain’s role as a system leader 168 9.3 Paul Kennedy’s theory of structural change 170 9.4 Britain’s decline in naval power and leading-sector production 182 10.1 Anglo-American crises after 1783 191 10.2 Selected Anglo-American trade data 196 11.1 An illustration of selected technological lineages 209 11.2 Information technology dealt with horizontally and longitudinally 211 11.3 US net foreign capital input as a ratio of net domestic capital formation 215 viii PREFACE Book projects tend to have multiple origins and reflect several impulses. This one is no exception. It is my seventh book (counting authored, coauthored, and edited volumes) on the subject of world system development. Path dependencies being what they are, it should come as no surprise that I am continuing to work in this area. There is so much yet to be done that I doubt very much that it will be my last book on the subject. A second source, though, was Jeremy Black’s kind invitation to write something for this new series on historical topics. I think Jeremy thought it would be interesting to see if I could do a book without numbers in it. On my part, as a non-historian, the idea of getting a more direct access to historians and their students certainly had appeal. A third source can be laid at Jack Levy’s doorstep. Sometime around 1994, he invited me to do a paper commemorating the 500th anniversary of 1495 for an International Studies Association panel. The year 1495 did not mean too much to me but it was close enough to 1494, which did have meaning, for me to go along. Not only did it turn out that I was the only one to go along on the “1495” panel (everybody else on the panel wrote about something else), I ended up with a very long paper that I would either have to extend even further or else walk away from it altogether. That paper became the core of chapters 3 and 4 and, a few years later, encouraged me to try my hand at the related subject of chapter 5. There are four other sources. One was an aborted, coauthored project on the idea of challenges and challengers from the early 1990s that somehow never proceeded very far. Again, I had written a very long paper for my part of the project but the other chapters were never quite forthcoming. After a few of these situations, you begin to identify with the first man out of a World War I trench who chances to look behind him and sees that no one else is following. The rational thing to do is to get back to the trench as fast as possible. I’m afraid my inclination is to keep charging the “enemy,” with or without company. Chapters 6, 7, and 8 stem from that project. George Modelski has been trying to educate me for thirty years so far. I hope he does not abandon the project. His latest innovation has been in moving toward the development of an evolutionary paradigm for international politics. I find that I tend to resist his arguments at first and then ultimately become convinced that he was right all along. Speaking, no doubt, to the question of to whether some people ix

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