on Wallerstein

Xxxx Xxxxxx xxxxxxxxxx at xxxxxxxxxxxxx.xxx
Sat Apr 28 20:17:00 MDT 2001

> From: George Snedeker <snedeker at concentric.net>
> To: marxism at lists.panix.com
> Subject: on Wallerstein
> Date: Saturday, April 28, 2001 8:36 PM
> I have been trying to follow the discussion about Wallerstein's take on
> EU. I like Wallerstein's historical analysis, particularly his critique
> Eurocentric Marxism and the stage theory of development. However, I have
> never been able to make much sense of his analysis of contemporary
> he paints with such a broad stroke that it is hard to say if he could be
> right or wrong. I remember trying to read his book: BEYOND LIBERALISM,
> was an attempt to analyze the impact of the collapse of the USSR on the
> world system. he makes too many grand generalizations.this is perhaps a
> criticism which can be leveled at world systems theory. his predictions
> silly. he keeps telling us that world capitalism is going to collapse in
> another 50 years. he forgets that historical laws are laws of tendency.

George, as you know better than I do as a sociologist, all Marxists make
grand generalizations. After all, Marxism, including its world system
variant, is a _grand theory_. It is based on certain hypothetical
assumptions about the evolution of capitalism--how it was born,  where it
will lead us and how it will collapse.  The main prediction of the world
system theory is that just as the world systems prior to one we are living
in, capitalism will one day tranform itself into a _qualitatively_
different world system. No system lasts forever. Capitalism is a historical
system, and it will eventually perish. How and by which means we will reach
to that point is a different issue. It requires a theory of praxis and
revolutionary struggle=world system theory+Gramsci+updated Lenin.

_Essential Wallerstein_ is a better book than _After Liberalism_.He
outlines the feautures of the world system theory more clearly there. True
that some of the predictions of  long cycle Marxists are just hypothetical,
but their hypotheses are largely based on historical observations of
capitalism. By carefully observing the past, you can predict about the
future. Take the example of financial crisis. Isn't it vindicated? It may
be that at the moment we are in a classic B-phase downturn with expansion
coming in, let's say 2005. If this lasts for 25-30 years , as it happened
between 1945-1970, it should mark the start of a big downturn in

adios, Xxxx
Xxxx Xxxxx Xxxxxx
Ph.D Student
Department of Political Science
SUNY at Albany
Nelson A. Rockefeller College
135 Western Ave.; Milne 102
Albany, NY 12222

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