Immanuel Wallerstein Quotes

Immanuel Wallerstein Quote, The second reason why we haven’t observed the growing gap is that
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The second reason why we haven't observed the growing gap is that our historical and social science analyses have concentrated on what has been happening within the 'middle classes' - that is, to that ten to fifteen percent of the population of the world-economy who consumed more surplus than they themselves produced. Within this sector there really has been a relatively dramatic flattening of the curve between the very top (less than one percent of the total population) and the truly 'middle' segments, or cadres (the rest of the ten to fifteen percent).

Immanuel Wallerstein

Immanuel Wallerstein Quote, The first and probably most fundamental aspect of this crisis is that
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The first and probably most fundamental aspect of this crisis is that we are now close to the commodification of everything. That is, historical capitalism is in crisis precisely because, in pursuing the endless accumulation of capital, it is beginning to approximate that state of being Adam Smith asserted was 'natural' to man but which has never historically existed. The 'propensity [of humanity] to truck, barter, and exchange one thing for another' has entered into domains and zones previously untouched, and the pressure to expand commodification is relatively unchecked.

Immanuel Wallerstein

Immanuel Wallerstein Quote, So much were employers of wage-labor unenthusiastic about proletarianization that, in addition
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So much were employers of wage-labor unenthusiastic about proletarianization that, in addition to fostering the gender age division of labor, they also encouraged, in their employment patters and through their influence in the political arena, recognition of defined ethnic groups, seeking to link them to specific allocated roles in the labor-force, with different levels of real remuneration for their work. Ethnicity created a cultural crust which consolidated the patterns of semi-proletarian household structures.

Immanuel Wallerstein

Immanuel Wallerstein Quote, To be sure, the use of force by one party in a
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To be sure, the use of force by one party in a market transaction in order to improve his price was no invention of capitalism. Unequal exchange is an ancient practice. What was remarkable about capitalism as a historical system was the way in which this unequal exchange could be hidden; indeed, hidden so well that it is only after five hundred years of the operation of this mechanism that even the avowed opponents of the system have begun to unveil it systematically.

Immanuel Wallerstein

Immanuel Wallerstein Quote, For the other end of the spectrum, the 50 to 85 percent of the
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For the other end of the spectrum, the 50 to 85 percent of the world's population who are not the recipients of privilege, the world they know is almost certainly worse than any their earlier counterparts knew. It is likely they are worse off materially, despite the technological changes. In substantive as opposed to formal terms, they are more, not less, subject to arbitrary constraints, since the central mechanisms are more pervasive and more efficient. And they bear the brunt of the various kinds of psychic malaise, as well as of the destructiveness of civil wars.

Immanuel Wallerstein

Immanuel Wallerstein Quote, Are there still other possibilities? Of course there are. What is important
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Are there still other possibilities? Of course there are. What is important to recognize is that all three historical options are really there, and the choice will depend on our collective world behavior over the next fifty years. Whichever option is chosen, it will not be the end of history, but in a real sense its beginning. The human social world is still very young in cosmological time. In 2050 or 2100, when we look back at capitalist civilization, what will we think?

Immanuel Wallerstein

Immanuel Wallerstein Quote, It is, let me say, at the very least by no means
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It is, let me say, at the very least by no means self-evident that there is more liberty, equality, and fraternity in the world today than there was one thousand years ago. One might arguably suggest that the opposite is true. I seek to paint no idyll of the worlds before historical capitalism. They were worlds of little liberty, little equality, and little fraternity. The only question is whether historical capitalism represented progress in these regards, or regression.

Immanuel Wallerstein

Immanuel Wallerstein Quote, Wars between states and people seem to have existed under all historical
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Wars between states and people seem to have existed under all historical systems for as long as we have some recorded evidence. War is quite clearly not a phenomenon particular to the modern world-system. On the other hand, once again the technological achievements of capitalist civilization serve as much ill as good. One bomb in Hiroshima killed more people than whole wars in pre-modern times. Alexander the Great in his whole sweep of the Middle East could not compare in destructiveness to the impact of the Gulf War on Iraq and Kuwait.

Immanuel Wallerstein

Immanuel Wallerstein Quote, But even in the absence of direct interference by those who had
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But even in the absence of direct interference by those who had the power to interfere, the process was usually aborted by the non-availability of one of more elements of the process - the accumulated stock in a money form, the labor-power to be utilized by the producer, the network of distributors, the consumers who were purchasers. One or more elements were missing because, in previous historical social systems, one or more of these elements was not commodified or was insufficiently commodified.

Immanuel Wallerstein