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The Modern World-System II

The Modern World-System II: Mercantilism and the Consolidation of the European World-Economy, 1600–1750

Immanuel Wallerstein
Copyright Date: 2011
Edition: 1
Pages: 397
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  • Book Info
    The Modern World-System II
    Book Description:

    Immanuel Wallerstein's highly influential, multi-volume opus,The Modern World-System,is one of this century's greatest works of social science. An innovative, panoramic reinterpretation of global history, it traces the emergence and development of the modern world from the sixteenth to the twentieth century.

    eISBN: 978-0-520-94858-7
    Subjects: History

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
    (pp. ix-x)
    (pp. xi-xii)
    (pp. xiii-xxviii)

    This volume starts with the question of how to describe what was going on in Europe during the seventeenth century. The great debate of the 1950s and 1960s about the “crisis” of the seventeenth century laid a great deal of emphasis on the “feudal” character of its processes. Most authors interpreted this to mean that there was a “refeudalization” of Europe. Volume 2 is an attempt to refute these characterizations and to insist once again that the European world-economy had become definitively capitalist during the long sixteenth century. In many ways, volume 2 is the crucial volume of the whole...

    (pp. 2-10)

    The work of historians of European price trends between the two world wars¹ along with the theory of secular economic cycles (trends that go up and down over approximately 250 years) with its two phases (A and B), elaborated by François Simiand² have bequeathed us a generalization about early modern European history that still seems largely accepted: There was expansion in the sixteenth century (phase A) and contraction, depression, or “crisis” in the seventeenth (phase B). The dates that demark these phases, the nature of the changes that occurred (even if we limit the discussion to economic matters), the regional...

  7. 1 THE B-PHASE
    (pp. 12-34)

    For Slicher van Bath, the fundamental distinguishing characteristic of the periods ofagriculturalexpansion and contraction in Europe since the Carolingian era is the rise and fall in the price of cereals, vis-à-vis other merchandise and wages. It was a question of favorable or unfavorable terms of trade for cereals. He sees a contraction, meaningunfavorable terms of trade, for cereals in the period from 1600 (or 1650) to 1750.¹ It is important to underline this definition of contraction, because the relative decline of the price of wheat in Slicher van Bath’s belief, is far more important than its absolute...

    (pp. 36-72)

    The core of the European world-economy was by 1600 firmly located in northwest Europe, that is, in Holland and Zeeland; in London, the Home Counties, and East Anglia; and in northern and western France.² The political units in which these core areas were located were rather different in size, form, and politics, and they underwent significant changes in the following century and a half; but economically these zones were more alike than different. As observed in the previous chapter, 1600 to 1750 was a period of consolidation in which there was a slowdown in the rate of the development of...

  9. 3 STRUGGLE IN THE CORE—PHASE I: 1651–1689
    (pp. 74-126)

    Dutch hegemony was first really challenged in 1651. Why only then? Surely not because England and France did not want to do it earlier. It was rather because they were too preoccupied with their internal problems to carry through “any vigorous effort at breaking the hegemony of Holland.”²

    The half-century after 1650 throughout Europe was a period of cessation in population growth only, either through decline or leveling off, and the curves started to go up again at the end of the century.³ No doubt this can be explained by the combination of the ravages of the Thirty Years’ War,...

    (pp. 128-176)

    Periods of expansion of the world-economy are relatively easy to summarize. Production is expanding overall and in most places. Employment is extensive. Population is growing. Prosperity is the sign of the time. That real wages for large numbers of people may in fact be declining is less visible in the steady inflation of nominal prices. There is considerable social ferment, but it is a ferment nourished by optimism, even daring. Individual mobility seems to be the order of the day. Progress seems to be the gift of Providence.

    Periods of downturn are much more complex. First of all, they are...

    (pp. 178-242)

    One constant element in a capitalist world-economy is the hierarchical (and spatially distributed) division of labor. However, a second constant element is the shifting location of economic activity and consequently of particular geographic zones in the world-system. From the point of view of state-machineries, regular, but not continuous, alterations in the relative economic strength of localities, regions, and states can be viewed (and indeed most often are viewed) as a sort of upward or downward “mobility” of the state as an entity, a movement measured in relation to other states within the framework of the interstate system. In the twentieth...

  12. 6 STRUGGLE IN THE CORE—PHASE II: 1689–1763
    (pp. 244-289)

    One cannot analyze social phenomena unless one bounds them in space and time. We have made the concept of spatial boundaries a central axis of the analysis in this book; but what of time and the perennial issues of periodization on which the writers of history are so much divided? We have asserted that the meaningful unit of time to cover in this volume is approximately from 1600 to 1750. This is seen as a period in which the European world-economy went through a long relative stagnation of the total production of the system as a whole. (Stagnation was correspondingly...

    (pp. 290-349)
  14. INDEX
    (pp. 350-370)