Questioning Geopolitics: Political Projects in a Changing World-System

By Georgi M. Derluguian; Scott L. Greer | Go to book overview

10
Slipping into Something More
Comfortable: Argentine-Brazilian
Nuclear Integration and the Origins of
the MERCOSUR
Isabella Alcañiz

In studying the evolution of capitalism and its political configuration, worldsystem theory has--as a systemic international perspective--concentrated on the north-south divide or, to use the proper terms, the core-periphery divide. But if past political and economic developments in the Third World have taught us anything, it is that within the periphery there is diversity. There is diversity in economic development and in political institutions. And there are also asymmetries that mediate the relationship between countries within the periphery. But global explanations tend to overlook these differences and instead stress the similar ignominies to which developing countries are all subjected by the core. At the most, subsidiary categories are added to explain unexpected specialization patterns or differences in growth rates--that is, semi-periphery.

Globalization, again, threatens to be a new equalizer within most theories explaining the developing world. Of course, it cannot be denied that in the new international context some general economic and policy trends have became a common theme in the Third World: privatization, downsizing, liberalization, and even some political recipes like judicial reforms or anti-corruption legislation have been prescribed to a large number of countries. But the manner and degree to which these countries followed suit, when they did, have been extremely varied.

Given the "shifting geopolitics" of the world, between the end of the Cold War and the beginning of an apparently united and globalized world, it seems more urgent now to unbury the differences among developing nations. If we cannot explain how different countries deal with the pressures of globalization, this phenomenon becomes one totalizing force driving us to accept the doubtful

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