What is old and what is new?

Considering world-systems in the twenty-first century and beyond

Authored by: Thomas J. Burns

Routledge Handbook of World-Systems Analysis

Print publication date:  May  2012
Online publication date:  May  2012

Print ISBN: 9780415563642
eBook ISBN: 9780203863428
Adobe ISBN: 9781135179151

10.4324/9780203863428.ch12_3

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Abstract

While its processes have been unfolding for centuries, some aspects of the world-system are new. Particularly since the Industrial Revolution, the world has had unparalleled technological change, wealth accumulation, and population growth and concentration; these have led to unprecedented levels of other problems, particularly environmental degradation (McNeill 2000). Making sense of the world-system in the twenty-first century calls for developments in theory and method that reach beyond our current modes of analysis. This work argues for the centrality of environmental concerns, and offers a set of meta-variables on which a framework for analysis can be based.

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