Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Briefly discuss the Modern World theory .How does it differ from the theory of the dual economy?

The ideologies of the contemporary international global political economy have made it possible to account for the ways in which the market system has developed and shaped the modern society and explains how market forces and external forces affect one another. The modern world systems theory is one of the theories that explain the contemporary world economic structuralism as well as the theory of dual economy. This essay is going to discuss the World Systems Theory and how it differs from the theory of the Dual economy.

The Modern World Systems theory according to Baylis and Smith (231:2005) was developed putting the ideas of Marx to the international sphere that of a society that is developed or structured into a capitalistic theoretical set up with a dominant core exploiting the less developed periphery. The World Systems theory explains the current day economic activities through out the world where capitalism is the bases of any economy in the world economy. According to Kegley and Wittkopf (205:2004) Modern World Systems Theory is a theory that claims that there is international division of labor in which the core states specialize in the capital intensive production of sophiscated manufactured goods and peripheral states concentrate on the labor intensive production of raw materials and agricultural commodities. The Modern World Systems theory applies to the economic structuralism between the EDCs especially the Western Countries like America and Britain which are termed to be the core and the LDCs (the third world countries) especially the African countries and the Northern American countries that are viewed as the periphery, these periphery countries produce raw materials for the core countries to manufacture the end product.

According to Culpin (71:1987) the capitalist Modern World system is divided into three tiers of states, those of the core, semi periphery and the periphery and the essential difference between is in the strength of the state machine in the different areas and in this leads to the transfer of surplus from the periphery to the core and strengthen the core states. The control of the oil fields in Iraq after the invasion in 2000 by the United States of America show how the Modern World Systems theory can be applied to the international sphere as the core states want to control the production and exploit raw materials in the periphery countries. According to Culpin (1987:68) the modern world systems theory is grounded by the Marxist conception of social reality, the modern world systems theory advocates for the international hierarchy and struggle of states and economic classes and it assumes a unified world economic system composed of a hierarchy of class –dominated states held together by economic forces and producing underdevelopment throughout the dependent theory and capitalism is a global phenomenon. In modern world systems theory economic structuralism in the international sphere is bound by the interaction in economic activities between the core and the periphery, a form of exploitation exists between the core, semi periphery and the periphery.

The core states which are the EDCs have strong economies due to the industrialization and high modern technology that enables them to exploit and use the raw materials drawn from the satellite countries while the LDCS with abundant pool of raw materials find it highly impossible to develop as industrialization and modernization is still at bare. According to Culpin (1987:70) Wallerstein advocates that the structure is defined by a single capitalist division of labor, the structure creates unequal states that maintains the international division of labor and is responsible for the accumulation of capital in the advanced capitalist states and for the cycle of the backwardness and underdevelopment of the rest.

Baylis and Smith (252:2005) elaborates that the Modern World Systems theory is an example of the world economy that emerged in Europe around the turn of the 16th century the states were linked in an exploitative relationship in which the wealth is drained away from the periphery to the centre, the pluralistic balance of power system of Western Europe was the necessary prerequisite for the emergence of the Modern worlds systems theory. Although the modern world System advocates for interaction between the periphery and core, the core seems to benefit more than the periphery as wealth is drained away form the LDCs ,this cooperation and integration of the international economy results in the exploitation of the satellite. According to Culpin (1987;69) the international economy functions distort the economies of the third world theses international division of labor imposes class and state structures on the periphery and dependent economies that prevent development in the periphery countries. This explain why most of the African countries have weak economies that results in poverty and hunger such as Somalia, Democratic Republic of Congo and Ethiopia have weaker economies but with abundant raw materials that are produced and exported to the core countries especially the western counties, this has been created by this economic structuralism in the international sphere perpetuated by the modern world systems theory.

Culpin (1987:69) quotes Frank (1969:9) that the metropolis in the Modern World systems theory expropriates economic surplus from its satellite and appropriates it for it for its own economic development .The satellites remain underdeveloped for the lack of access to their own surplus and as a consequence of the same polarization and exploitative contradictions. The satellites under develop with this type of theory where they are being exploited by the core as well by the semi periphery of all economic benefits that they produce. According to Culpin (1987:70) the modern world system theory can not account for the development in the semi periphery countries and the satellite countries for instance South Africa which was in the past seen as a satellite country has developed with the increase in industrialization which enables the country to be specialized in capital intensive production of sophiscated manufactured goods, the Modern World Systems theory underestimates the development of the satellite countries in the international order as its focus is on the capitalism structuralism where the core exploits the satellite and the semi periphery. According to Rourk (2005:378) the semi periphery states have achieved success only by dutifully serving the interests of the EDCs. Some of the Asian countries like Singapore have developed from being a semi periphery country in the Modern Systems theory to be a country that now considered as the core with a strong economy that is based on trade there are able to are dutifully serving the interests of the EDCs on international trade.

The modern world systems differs form the theory of the dual economy according to Culpin (1987:66) the theory of dual economy advocates for the process of economic development which involves cooperation and transformation of the traditional sector into modern sector through the modernization of the economic, social and political structures. Whilst the modern world theory advocates for an international hierarchy with struggle of states and economic classes and international sphere where capitalism is a global scenario.

The theory of dual economy aims to develop economic activities of the states in order to be independent of its economic functions hence not be dependent on the economically strong nations. Furthermore Culpin (66:1987) the theory of dual economy asserts that every economy, domestic and international must be analyzed in terms of the relatively independent sectors a modern progressive sector characterized by a high level of productive efficiency and economic integration. The low developed states in the modern world theory which is the periphery must not be exploited as advocated by the theory but must be developed for them to be self sufficient with efficient mode of production upgraded for the development of the states in the international sphere. In addition Culpin (1987:67) dualism views the modern world economy as having evolved through the global expansion of the market mode of production and the incorporation of new areas into the international economy. This theory was prior the 16th century before the people adopted the capitalism as a mode of production as they focus of the profits and achievement of their self interests.

According to Culpin (1987:69) the modern world theory argues that the world economy contains the dominant core and a dependent periphery that interacts and functions as a whole but whereas dualism considers the advanced core and the traditional periphery to be closely joined in a beneficial relationship. The theory of dualism differ in the sense that they is no accumulation of capital which results with the exploitation of the periphery all actors benefit from the integration and interaction of the core and the periphery hence there is no capitalism but cooperation in the world economy. Culpin (69:1987) furthermore states that the modern world systems theory views the core and the periphery as an integrated whole so that the same mechanisms that produce capital accumulation and development in the core produce economic and political underdevelopment in the periphery. Capital accumulation is the major aim of the modern systems theory where the periphery is exploited by the core while the dualism theory states the relation between the core and the periphery must be beneficial to both of them without exploitation of the other.

According to Culpin (1987; 69) the dualism allows separation of the core and the periphery and especially the economic isolation of the large parts of the periphery whereas the modern world systems theory see the core and the periphery as closely connected. The dualism theory emphasis of the separation of the core and periphery on the issues of the economy to prevent the exploitation between the core and the periphery because a closely connected economic relationship results in capitalism and exploitation of the periphery as well as underdevelopment of the satellite states. The expansion of the economic market to the periphery to limit interdependency of the periphery is the major emphasis of dualism it advocates for the development of the world third countries as industrialization and civilization is transferred to the these satellite countries thereby increasing technology to the periphery whereas the modern world systems theory is concern on benefiting form the interaction that exist between the core and the periphery buy milking all its resources for their own development and led to underdevelopment of the periphery.

However according to Culpin (1987:70) contrary to the dual economy model the more the world economy progress the difficult it is for the periphery to develop and the greater is the revolutionary effort required to escape the global market .The modern world systems theory can describe the current global economic structuralism than the theory of dual economy for it no longer exist on the international sphere as this capitalism notion of the modern world system theory is now relevant to the contemporary economic structuralism. According to Culpin (1987:70) the Modern World System asserts that a pluralistic state system as the primary creation of the world economy, it considers interaction on international trade and investment. The theory of dual economy does not to a large extent promote the interaction of the core and the periphery which leads to the uncertainty of the development of a world economy where market system is important to determine the activities of the core and the periphery.

The modern world system explains the contemporary world economy as capitalistic mode of production has been adopted by all the states in the international sphere. The core countries are getting more developed and the less developed countries are getting more underdeveloped. The modern world theory is to a great extent differ for the theory of dual economy as they have different views on the structuralism of the world economy.


Baylis J and Smith S 2005 The Globalization of world Politics 3rd edition Oxford University Press USA

Cilpin R: 1987 The political economy of international relations .Princeton university Press USA

Rourke J.T and Boyer M.A 2000; World Politics international Politics on the World stage Brief The Duskin Publishing Group Inc: USA

Wittkopf E.R and Kegley C.W Jr: 2004: World Politics trend and Transformation: Thomson Learning Inc USA

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