Saturday, 1 October 2011

Wallerstein and Kondratiev Waves

One of the theories of Superpowers in A level Geography touches upon Wallerstein's World Systems Theory; a theory rooted in the belief that capitalism will be replaced by a socialist economy, thus combined with the decline of the current hegemonic superpower, the US.

His theory rejected the notion of the 'Third World' claiming that there is only one world connected by complex networks & relationships (in essence, globalisation). In this one world, there is a lasting division of labour between the core, semi-periphery and periphery. In addition, Wallerstein's ideas fit into the economic concept of 'Super cycles', a theory developed by Nikolai Kondratiev.

Kondratiev argued that since the Industrial Evolutionary the capitalist economy has experienced 5 distinctive waves:

  • The Industrial Revolution 1771
  • The Age of Steam and Railways 1829
  • The Age of Steel, Electricity and Heavy Engineering 1875
  • The Age of Oil, the Automobile and Mass Production 1908
  • The Age of Information and Telecommunications 1971

Wallerstein argues that since the wars in Iraq we are due for another super cycle and another shift in superpower status!

Further reading: