The Spiral of Capitalism and Socialism: Toward Global Democracy

The Spiral of Capitalism and Socialism: Toward Global Democracy

The Spiral of Capitalism and Socialism: Toward Global Democracy

The Spiral of Capitalism and Socialism: Toward Global Democracy

Synopsis

The authors argue that the idea of socialism as collective rationality and popular democracy is far from dead. They describe a spiral of capitalism and socialism - of economic expansion and social progress - that creates repeated opportunities for positive transformation at the global level.

Excerpt

We gazed upon the chimes of freedom flashing.

—Bob Dylan

This book is about the decline of state socialism and the future of the world-system. Our main point is that, though the word “socialism” is widely held in disdain in the current discourse about the world’s past and its future, the idea of socialism as collective rationality and popular democracy is far from dead. Indeed, we argue that this idea is necessary if the human species is to survive and progress. It may emerge under a new name and surely will take on new forms. We contend that the new form must be global, and call it “global democracy.”

We see the history of the modern world-system as a history of struggles. the struggles have been class struggles between capital and labor and political struggles between core and periphery—the so-called developed and underdeveloped countries. Our point is that the evolution of the modern system has been shaped both by the techniques of power constructed by dominant states and classes and by peoples, classes, and nations that have constructed organized forms of resistance to domination and exploitation. the interaction of these conflicts has produced a sequence of well-known major wars and a less recognized but equally important tandem of world revolutions. War and revolution periodically reset the rules of international politics and global exchange. This set of rules forms a “world order.” States, corporations, and others break these rules quite frequently, as is true of any order, but they do so at the cost of sanctions, conflict, and loss of trust. Since the world revolution of 1848, “antisystemic” social and labor movements have been strong enough to rule out some of the worst forms of domination (such as slavery and colonialism) and to set minimum limits of humane conditions that rise with the level of development. the result is . . .

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