Legend: _____________ Arrows represent periods of equilibrium thought to increase velocity of trade, and to result at some threshold in phase transitions to more complex structures.


Inflation Figure from David Hackett Fischer, 1996. The Great Wave: Price Revolutions and the Rhythm of History. Oxford and New York: Oxford University Press. $35 (hardcover), ISBN: 019505377X. $16.95 (paperback), ISBN: 019512121X. see GILBERTO R. LLEONART's book review 1 and Kenneth Morgan 's review 2 for Fisher's findings about long-wave inflationary price revolutions, following periods of price stability, as a source of social conflict. What is missing that may be provided by complexity theory is an understanding of the effects of long periods of price stability in producing phase transitions in economic organization when trade velocities pass critical thresholds that lead to higher order reorganization and hence greater economic and social inequalities.

DRW: I was sufficiently interested several years ago in David Hackett Fischer's findings that I used the graph of inflation (which is shown above for Britain but is closely similar to his findings for equilibrium and inflationary periods throughout Europe in this period) as an illustration of recurrent historical processes for my undergraduate class in social dynamics and complexity.

At that time my interpretation of these processes was that periods of market equilibrium tend to lead to growing socioeconomic inequalities which in turn after a long time lag tend to generate the periods of conflict, warfare and violent unrest that Fischer emphasize in his book and that he saw as correlated with severe inflationary periods.

[I have changed my interpretation since then, having examined Turchin's data showing that periods of market equilibrium (especially this graph, which represents the value of pennies not silver, which lost value in these periods) correspond to crises and economic depression that occur when population hits carrying capacity. None of the rest of the discussion is informed by this new interpretation.]

It was in coming away from a conference (Feb 2004) on mapping globalization in the world system at Riverside, in which Giovanni Arrighi presented a paper, that I could envision how Arrighi's research might provide an hypothesis about political economic factors that might precipitate the formation of a stable economic equilibrium of significant duration, such as we see in Fischer's graph for the Renaissance, Enlightenment and Victorian periods of price equilibrium. Now, Arrighi is an eclectic historical sociologist who draws from Marx, Smith, Veblen, Weber, Schumpeter, Polanyi, Pirenne and Braudel, among others, and is one who takes issue, among others, with Wallerstein's tendency to use mechanically all sorts of cycles of dubious theoretical and empirical standing in an effort to explain everything, even when they obviously cannot. There is no reason to expect Arrighi's observations, data and interpretations to align with those of David Hackett Fischer about quite a different subject, that of market equilibrium and periods of inflation. Testing the match between Fischer's dates of equilibrium shifts and Arrighi's dates for shifts of 'hegemonic powers' ought to be valid in that they come from two quite independent sources.

Thus, returning from the conference, I went to my url for Fischer's graph (as presented above the initials DRW) to test the following hypotheses:
(1) The starting dates for Arrighi's hegemonic cities and their states (Genoa / Amsterdam / London / New York) coincide with the starting dates for Fischer's equilibrium periods.
(2) The dates at which Arrighi's hegemonic cities (and their states) are challenged and weakened by competitors will coincide with the transition dates between Fischer's equilibrium and inflationary periods.

Sources: Courtney Nelson 1996 Arrighi 2004 Silver 2004 conference papers 2004 for mapping globalization in the world system (UCR)

I have chosen to take a summary of Arrighi's obsevations from a secondary source (Nelson 1996) so that we get his views as they come through a critical rather than a totally sympathetic reader. This acts as a brake on my own possible bias in selecting elements from Arrighi that fit rather than contradict the hypotheses, which could be helpful in that I am the one formulating as well as testing the the hypotheses. Not having read Arrighi (1994), I do not know whether he has already argued for hypotheses (1) and (2) or variants of them in some way. I do think that these hypotheses would be, in the large, consistent with his arguments although probably not sufficiently refined to reflect his arguments in detail, particularly as regards economic versus political hegemony.

What follows in the evidence for and against hypotheses (1) and (2) that relate to: (a) do hegemonic city start-dates covary with start of long periods of economic equilibrium ? (b) do hegemonic city 'challenge' dates covary with the end of long periods of economic equilibrium and the start of significant periods of inflation ?

Hypothesis (1)

1298 Genoa fleet defeats Venetian, Genoa becomes economic hegemon

1610 Amsterdam: "For more than a century, from around 1610 to 1730, Arrighi finds the Dutch in a hegemonic position..."
Source: Nelson (1996) http://www.developmentstrategies.org/commentary/1996Arrighi/1996Arrighi.htm
(1648): Treaty of Westphalia, consolidation of Dutch hegemony
"Dutch power, based initially on control of trade in the Baltic region, expanded to include colonization in the Far East and control of the spice trade. Their seamanship allowed their commercial and financial talents to come into full flower. They succeeded in making Amsterdam the central entrepot of Europe, and also the financial center of the region. They opened the world’s first permanent stock exchange. Abroad, the Dutch government chartered commercial ventures with the power to exercise exclusive trading rights and sovereignty over large areas, especially the Dutch East Indies (Indonesia)."
(by 1730) "the very success of their trading and financial system attracted imitators who sought to establish profitable overseas territories and to route commodity and money flows through their own jurisdiction. This heralded the beginning of the mercantile system that undermined and eventually destroyed the Dutch world trading system. Mercantilism was coupled with industrialization. The Dutch, unable to compete, withdrew from trade and concentrated on high finance, the CM’ phase of Arrighi’s MCM’ formulation."
Source: Nelson (1996) http://www.developmentstrategies.org/commentary/1996Arrighi/1996Arrighi.htm

1797 British fleet defeats Dutch fleet at Battle of Camperdown. Britain establishes hegemony.
"The Dutch did well for a time financing both sides of conflicts between the French and the British, but their own power elite made the mistake of siding with the French against the British in support of the American Revolution. In retaliation, the British destroyed what was left of Dutch sea power, and gained access to Dutch overseas territories. London had been gaining on Amsterdam as a center for finance throughout the 18th century, and it gained clear superiority in the financial crisis that followed the Dutch defeat. The British took the lead in industrialization, making full use of the capital available in the City. Arrighi suggests that the finance capital available exceeded the uses to which it could be put domestically, leading the British to build and finance railways in many parts of the world and also leading to the production of modern armaments."
Source: Nelson (1996) http://www.developmentstrategies.org/commentary/1996Arrighi/1996Arrighi.htm

1919 "The British 'century' came to an end only when the World War exhausted its energies and drained its reserves, but its demise was signaled earlier, according to Arrighi’s formula. The world experienced its first great depression in 1873-96, following which British exports of capital soared to new heights. The British withdrew from trade and used their funds for the more profitable business of lending, mostly to finance the arms build-up in Europe in the latter part of the 19th century. An important byproduct of this diversion of capital from production to overseas loans was the adverse impact it had on working class incomes. Arrighi claims that working class incomes contracted in Renaissance Florence, the final expansionist stage of the Dutch era, and Edwardian Britain, even though those periods were the best of times for the bourgeoisie."
"Arrighi contends that Britain’s 'hegemony' rested upon the twin pillars of India’s balance of payments deficits to Britain and trading balances between Britain and Europe and North America. The fact that Britain entered the war well before the US, and that the US had restricted lending to all combatants during its neutrality, forced Britain to liquidate considerable assets in the United States at bargain basement prices in order to finance the purchase of armaments, machines and raw materials. Britain had also lent heavily to its poorer allies early in the war, leaving the US free to displace Britain’s role of chief investor and financial intermediary in Latin America and much of Asia. After the war, the US joined but did not replace Britain as the world’s financial clearinghouse. Both the dollar and the pound sterling became reserve currencies. British financial institutions continued to have the capacity and experience to manage the world monetary system, but the US institutions did not."
Source: Nelson (1996) http://www.developmentstrategies.org/commentary/1996Arrighi/1996Arrighi.htm
(1930) "Only the great depression of the 1930s succeeded in toppling British pre-eminence in world finance, and by then the US cycle was already firmly underway. By 1938, US national income was already about the same size as that of Britain, France, Germany, Italy and the Benelux countries combined, and three times that of the USSR. In 1948, it was more than twice that of the group of European countries and more than six times that of the USSR."
Source: Nelson (1996) http://www.developmentstrategies.org/commentary/1996Arrighi/1996Arrighi.htm

1945 "the cycle of US hegemony" begins "in the post-WW II period. (Most of the views in this section were not featured at the Summer Session seminar, and I would not wish to ascribe them to the presenters.) Arrighi sets the stage by asserting that Truman supplanted Roosevelt’s fanciful one-world ideal with the doctrine of two worlds, an aggressively expansionist communist one and the free world which only the US could organize for self-defense. [Arrighi, p. 177] Arrighi discusses the Bretton Woods monetary arrangements and the difference between the externally-oriented economy of hegemonic Britain and an “autocentric” economy with seeming objectivity, but throughout there is the spoken and unspoken assumption that this cycle of capital accumulation differs little from those that passed before; we are simply living through another turn of the Ferris wheel of greed."
Source: Nelson (1996) http://www.developmentstrategies.org/commentary/1996Arrighi/1996Arrighi.htm

DRW interpolation: In fairness to Arrighi, what he argues in his Arrighi and Silver (2001) article is that there has been a pendulum swing back and forth in the type and form of hegemony from extensive (Genovese diaspora in the city state period) to intensive (the Dutch in the nation-state period developing international corporate organization like the Dutch East Indies Trading company) back to extensive (British overseas colonization, another diaspora) and back again to intensive (the American international corporate model, which has its origins in the 1890s, as studied by Chandler).
Source: Figure 1: Evolutionary Patterns of World Capitalism, Arrighi and Silver (2001: 265). Arrighi, Giovanni and Beverly J. Silver (2001). 'Capitalism and World (Dis)order.' Review of International Studies 27, 257-279.

DRW further interpolation: The other element in Arrighi's analysis is that the alternation between the Venetian - Genovese - Amsterdam - London - New York hegemonies is also an alternation between state hegemony, operating through formal political hegemony and capital hegemony, operating through capital accumulation networks. His thesis is that successful implementation of each of these modes of amassing capital facilitates imitative competition which leads to eventual failure of the hegemon, but the successful replacement eventually succeeds by substituting or falling back upon antithetical form of capital accumulation. I will refer to this as his alternation hypothesis.

Nelson (1996) continues: "The motivation of US policies alleged by Arrighi is most difficult for an old cold warrior like myself to swallow. Arrighi reluctantly credits the US with being anti­colonialist, mainly in order to create larger world markets. The Marshall Plan, he holds, was the remaking of Western Europe in the US image. Point Four, the US foreign aid program, was designed to thwart the Soviets. The Korean War was a great relief to the US because it allowed us to build up our armaments and thus solve our liquidity problems. The Cold War was Truman’s invention. The US blocked Korean attempts to unify their country by intervening in their civil war. These opinions are found throughout Arrighi’s analysis of capital accumulation since the Second World War."
Source: http://www.developmentstrategies.org/commentary/1996Arrighi/1996Arrighi.htm
see below, concluding section, for Nelson's summary comments

Summary: Hypothesis (1)

DRW conclusion: In evaluating hypotheses (1) from this comparison of Fischer's results and Arrighi's observations as mediated by Nelson, what we find is concurrence of dates in three hegemonic transitions to price equilibrium: Venice - Genoa - Amsterdam - London. In the London - New York transition, however, no long-term transition to price equilibrium is found, at least at present.

Hypothesis (2)

As for hypothesis (2), the first crash in the Genoese trading system occurs in 1339 when Edward III defaults on massive loans from two Florentine merchant houses. The Florentine banks collapse in 1348, a date often taken as marking decline of the trading system. The Florentine Medici emerge as the major European financial power, and although Venice defeats Genoa in 1380 at Chioggiabut the Genoese merchant diaspora remain as a stabilizing factor in the trading system. 1478-80 marks the war between Florence, Venice, Milan and the Papacy, Siena and Naples. 1527-30 marks the foundation of the Florentine Republic. Whether these events indicate a clear-cut weakening of Genoese diasporic hegemony that correlates with the start of a significant inflationary period in the 1520s remains open to interpretation, at least in my reading at this juncture.

In the next period, 1730 marks the demise of Dutch hegemony and the rise of mercantile national policies. This aligns with Fischer's date for the start of a significant inflationary period in the 1730s. Relevant to hypothesis (1), it is not until the Dutch are decisively defeated militarily by Britain, however, that the period of London's hegemony begins.

Arrighi's date for the demise of London's hegemony, somewhere near 1919, coincides with Fischer's date for the start of another significant inflationary period starting in the 1920s. From there to 1945 or so, there is no hegemon, or one could say that London and New York share hegemony, with New York gaining ascendance in 1945 (a date more or less consistent with hypothesis 1).

Hypothesis (2) would predict price equilibrium with the emergence of financial hegemony of New York and political hegemony of Washington, but this does not occur. Here one might have recourse to an explanation for the exception in terms of Arrighi's alternation hypothesis. That is, the U.S., like the Venetian State - and - Holland - before it, involved a national political hegemony that backed formal corporate organization. Perhaps, and this is a big perhaps, had Washington rather than New York been the financial hegemon of the U.S., the U.S. policy out of a financially hegemonic Washington would have been able to establish stable markets. The exception to hypothesis (2) would then be taken into account by the disconnect between NYC and Washington. For another summary of Arrighi's book, see Wallerstein's review in the Journal of World-System Research.

Windup: Hypothesis (1) and (2)

Hypothesis (1) is thus supported in the first three instances, in all cases ones in which the financial urban hegemon is also the political capital, and disconfirmed in the last, where there is a disjuncture between New York and Washington, the significance of which is impossible to judge statistically.

Hypothesis (2) is supported in one case (loss of hegemony of Amsterdam) and possibly in a second (loss of hegemony of Genoa). Since U.S. hegemony does not produce a long period of price equilibrium (rather there are short interrupted periods), there is no way to test hypothesis (2) for loss of U.S. hegemony, which appears to be on the horizon with the rise of Beijing and China as a potential future hegemon.

There is, then, contingent rather than uniform support for the two hypotheses. If we calculate the probability of four out of five correct predictions within plus-or-minus 10 year intervals, over seventy decades, the null hypothesis can be rejected as having a negligible probability. There is something here to be explained as to the relationship between price equilibria/disequilitria over long periods and changes in economic and/or political hegemons at the city and/or state level, with possible disjuncture between the level of city and state.

Prof. Arrighi had a look at this page and replied.

"As to the issue of the compatibility/synchronicity of my systemic cycles of accumulation/hegemony with Fisher's price revolutions and equilibrium periods. I am sorry to disappoint you but I see lots of problems in establishing such compatibility/synchronicity. Fischer's book came out after The Long 20th Century, so I did not deal with him, but his price revolutions have a lot in common with Braudel's price logistics, which I explicitly differentiated from the systemic cycles that I derived from Braudel's dating of financial expansions. This discussion is in the Introduction of The Long 20th Century (especially pp. 4-10) and I think that what I say there applies to Fisher's long waves as well. Check it out and let me know what you think. You may also find useful to read the section of chapter 3 entiled "Reprise and Preview" (pp. 214-238) and/or the following article that summarizes the main arguments of  The Long 20th Century and of Chaos and Governance: Arrighi, Giovanni and Beverly J. Silver (2001). Capitalism and World (Dis)order. Review of International Studies 27, 257-279."

I perused these sources and found, by my reckoning, even more support. Forget the exact dates for a moment (although I was careful to extract the dates for startups of hegemons BEFORE cracking open Fischer's chart so that accord was not fudged) and consider now Arrighi's theses (1994:6) that each systemic cycle of accumultion in which there is also a new hegemon (Venice-Genoa-Amsterdam-London-U.S.) there are two phases, the first one of material expansion of money capital that "sets in motion" an increasing mass of commodities and a second phase of financial expansion in which an increasing amount of money capital "sets itself free" from its commodity form. From my viewpoint if a hegemon of either type establishes market equilibrium, that equilibrium is attractive to other players in terms of increasing participation, which leads to more competition and more trade, with a higher velocity of trade (that's the hypothesis with which this Fischer web page was started). When that occurs polities are tempted to compete by borrowing or printing money to raise armies to expand boundaries. Thats one possible factor in inflation. The other is that increased velocity of trade leads to rich getting rich faster, and a power-law distribution on accumulating wealth so that there are growing numbers of relatively less wealth people in polities and players in markets, so violence comes more likely and near-top wealth hubs are more likely to form alliances with other hubs or players lower down to defeat top wealth nodes. Again, greater demands on printing or borrowing money to pay the transaction costs of violence or war creates higher risk of inflaction. Those are possible sources of concordance (1), such that inflation follows periods of market stability for both types of hegemons. Note that the stability/inflation turnovers occur TWICE within each material/financial accumulation turnover. (Increased velocity of trade also leads to structural reorganization of high interaction hubs -- the Iberall and Soodak hypothesis -- and so also creates structural inequalities and greater changes of violence, war, rebellion, revolution, etc. Concordance (2) is that Arrighi's systemic cycles (1994:6) 'become progressively shorter in duration, [but] they all last longer than a century.' That's the case with Fischer's logistic cycles as well. Third (p. 9), Arrighi notes that 'our sequence of partly overlapping systemic cycles bears a close formal resemblance to Mensch's "metamorphosis model" of socioeconomic development. Mensch (1979:73) abandons "the notion that the economy has developed in waves in favor of the theory that it has evolved through a series of intermittent innovative impulses that take the form of successive S-shaped cycles" (see figure 1). His model depicts phases of stable growth along a well-defined path alternating with phases of crisis, restructuring, and turbulance, which eventually recreate the conditions of stable growth.' Thats concordance (3). Arrighi dismisses any correspondence of Mensch's model with his own systemic cycles because they refer 'primarily to growth and innovations in particular industries or in particular national economies.' What remains to be investigated is whether there is a global set of S-shaped cycles such as we see in Fischer, but with particular economies (national, or by industry) somewhat out of phase, and whether the set of cities contending for core status might be the ones more in phase with the 'global' S-curves or in fact constituting the more global S-curves because they are the most highly connected amongst themselves and the quickest to adjust. I have not yet cracked open my copy of Fischer's book to see if the latter might be the case. But lagged phasing is a common phenomena, not one that rules out the possibility that 'systemic cycles' which Arrighi wants to keep separate from 'secular cycles.' While I applaud that effort, we really ought to take a closer look.

Mensch, G., 1979, Stalemate in Technology, Ballinger, Cambridge, MA, USA.

Arreghi's next paragraph in his response is in agreement on this last point: "In any event, I am not ruling out that there may be a relationship between price logistics/waves and my systemic cycles. On the contrary, I am pretty sure that there is one. I am just not sure of what it is, both theoretically and empirically, and whatever it is, I am pretty sure that it is not stable over the longue duree of historical capitalism to which both constructs refer. I hope this is useful and look forward hearing from you.
Indeed, very useful. Thank you for the reply!

Nelson: Final comments

Because I have summarized Nelson (1996) so freely in presenting Arrighi's dates and observations, it is useful to quote from the final part of Nelson's discussion, which was directed to students at the Fielding Institute summer school.


All of this has a surface plausibility and coherence, which can be attractive to those seeking to understand the current movement towards economic globalization. It is one way of looking at the world, but not the only one. As Arrighi says in his introduction, “the construction presented here is only one of several equally valid, though not necessarily equally relevant, interpretations of the long 20th century.” In fact, he says, he consciously put aside another paradigm, that of class struggle and core-periphery relations, which he finds still valuable from “its own angle of vision.” This emphasis on relevance and angle of vision is the basis for my critique. In the context of the Fielding Institute, is this angle of vision most relevant for Fielding students?

I raised the issue of relevance in the Summer Session seminar, and one of the faculty responded that this approach was selected because of its “truth;” it could not be ignored. I doubt that this position would be defended, upon reflection, by anyone on the faculty, steeped as they are in the notion of paradigms and research cultures. Fielding seems to be a sanctuary for relative truth, and Arrighi’s perspective may deserve a niche in the Pantheon of interpretations of the human condition in Century 21, but not a large one.

My summary of Arrighi’s story does not do his scholarship justice. His paragraphs are larded with references to other authors and quotations from world leaders. Some of the latter I find to be taken out of context, such as the quote from Dean Acheson to the effect that the outbreak of the Korean War “saved us” by allowing the build-up of armaments and thus the creation of needed liquidity in the capitalist world. I think the quote should be interpreted in the context of the difficulty of getting the American people to authorize expenditures for a military build-up when the nation was not at war, despite the increasingly obvious aggressive designs of the Soviet Union.

Despite the fact that I strongly disagree with Arrighi’s orientation, I am not prepared, literally, to take on Arrighi’s historical account of the cycles of capital accumulation. I do challenge, however, its relevance to Fielding students.

If one accepts that economics is the language in which both socialism and capitalism is debated (and I think it is an inadequate language for Fielding students), one would still not turn first to the Arrighi view of economic history. Adam Smith, Schumpeter, Keynes, and Heilbronner all have coherent approaches to understanding capitalism that surpass, in my view, that of Arrighi. Heilbronner is especially lucid, cogent, and current. He is a socialist, by his own definition, so he is not an unquestioning proponent of capitalism, but he writes clearly and with an even hand.

One telling point Heilbronner makes is that no system other than capitalism has so far permitted and encouraged the kind of freedoms enjoyed by the Western democracies. He reminds people who deplore inequities under the capitalist system that capitalism liberated people from feudal and imperial systems that were in every case more despotic and repressive. He is, nonetheless, convinced that capitalism’s subordination of behavior to economic imperatives is inadequate for a desirable socialist society. Two reasons he cites for this inadequacy are 1) that societies driven by the need to accumulate capital, and subjected to the pressures of the market, suffer from “severe deformations of individual character caused by the over-division of labor, and the socially harmful bias toward self-directed rather than other-directed values;” and, 2) that “a general subordination of action to impersonal action-directives (dictated by the market) demotes progress itself from a consciously intended social aim to an unintended consequence of action, thereby robbing it of moral content.”

Note that these reasons, although coming from an economist, are rooted in psychology and philosophy. I think Ken Wilber and Robert Kegan might add to Heilbronner’s first point, that capitalism may have created the environment for a higher level of human development to occur than was generally the case in previous systems, but it is not the end of the road. Other environments may be conducive to the evolution of human consciousness to a level where other-directed values predominate. From my own experience, I have written elsewhere about the developmental value of participation in an irrigation scheme for semi-nomadic people, and the limitations of the irrigation scheme environment for progress beyond a certain point (probably Kegan’s level 2). [Kegan, 1984] Capitalism, with an environment much more free, could be conducive for more advanced human development for some people, perhaps for most.

Heilbronner’s second point could be related to Kohlberg’s stages of moral development. Again, the level of moral development supported by capitalism is fairly advanced, but not as advanced as we aspire to be.

Heilbronner demonstrates that it is possible to be objectively critical of shortcomings in the capitalist system without resorting to the torturous dialectics of Arrighi. He credits capitalism for fostering applied science, for allowing the democratization of government, for the attainment of social equality, and for the general enlightenment of the citizenry. These follow in the wake of capitalism because of the system’s necessary rejection of ancient class differences, its emphasis on liberty of contract and person, and its self-interest in the training and basic education of its population. It is, he seems to be saying, a good system, better than those it supplanted, but not as good as the mind of man could, one hopes, devise. [Heilbronner, 1993, p146]

In my own view, all of the purely economic interpretations of the globalization process are inadequate to the purposes of most Fielding students because they lack the perspective of human development. The last century has been an era of dizzying changes, and the rapidity with which change continues should make us uncomfortable with theories purporting to explain current events in terms of recurring cycles over centuries. The speed of technological change has enabled or forced society to change in many other ways, both good and not so good. There are, for example, roughly four times the number of people alive today as there were when I was born, and global population will double again by the time my children reach my current age. That is a riveting fact for me, yet it has no place in the Arrighi scheme of things.

Technological advance has also made opportunities for people to live longer, healthier lives, and to gain information of an amount and quality no one could enjoy a century ago. Not that we necessarily benefit from that information to the extent we could, but it is available as never before. Human freedoms have also grown immensely almost everywhere in the world. Colonialism has been virtually abolished, and racism is everywhere on the defensive. Ethnic conflict is enjoying a certain revival with the collapse of the Soviet system and the lessening of concern among Western powers for Third World massacres, but compared with a century ago the world is better off. The human condition at this point seems more threatened by reproductive success than by economic failure.

Nor were these advances accidental. The United States, and other Western states, behaved with unprecedented vision and generosity in the years immediately following WW II. Arrighi and others may argue that the Marshall Plan, Point Four, and the rolling back of colonialism were all self-interested acts of the US, but that is a cynical and inadequate view. US interests were served by these acts, and so were the interests of humanity.

From the point of view of Fielding students, however, geopolitics and global economics may be of less than cosmic interest. Although one needs some mental framework in which to place current events, it should be possible to find or devise a lens that provides a focus closer to the professional interests of the Fielding community than economic theories offer. It seems to me there are several dimensions, to change the metaphor, of the globalization process, which could be of more interest to most of us than the Arrighi fixation on capital accumulation. The rapid advance of information technology and the related spread of opportunities for people in remote areas to gain access to education could be of interest to our community. Certainly the possible international uses of adult education technologies, such as Fielding has devised, would be a fruitful area of inquiry.

In the management field, globalization offers a similarly rich arena for original inquiry. The cultural dimension of management remains a little-understood factor, despite obvious differences in the ways in which Japanese and American management (for example) accomplish similar tasks. Can we know what modern Egyptian, Pakistani, or Indonesian management practices will look like? This sub-set of the Modernization=Westernization debate is a sensitive issue in many parts of the world."

Source: Nelson (1996) http://www.developmentstrategies.org/commentary/1996Arrighi/1996Arrighi.htm