4 September 2015

Elections irrelevant to the world-system

The Blog


Creator of the world-systems approach to political science, Immanuel Wallerstein, argues that anxiety-based electoral campaigns in the US and elsewhere will have no impact on the crisis of the world-system.


While noting that wise elections of more humane leaders can "minimize the pain" of the world's impoverished social classes and regions, Wallerstein stated that nothing can change the crisis of the modern world-system and the need to replace the current world order with a better one. Wallerstein terms the alternate economy he is referring to as a "post-capitalist" one, and has referred to it in past essays as a "socialist" world government of sorts.

Immanuel Wallerstein is not a radical left-wing philosopher and is actually the world's top sociologist, who sees the current world economy as unsustainable and destined to replaced by the aforementioned global alternative.

Commentating on the candidacy of Donald Trump in the US 2016 elections, as well as Bernie Sanders, Wallerstein described both of them as campaigning on the basis of "anxiety" that comes from growing global unemployment - although in their cases they focus on the US's part in it. Wallerstein characterized Trump's anti-immigrant rhetoric as something that will be unavailing, with geopolitics and the forces of the world-system in the end dooming this rhetoric to fail as any kind of policy.

Wallerstein dismissed that the most Trump could accomplish through his anti-immigrant rhetoric is "there is some tightening on the entry of migrants and some tightening of welfare state expenditures for the poorest sectors of the population. There is some increased anti-minority violence within the country."

While labeling such possibilities as "negatives", Wallerstein stressed that the real battle is not about elections or who wins them, and rather we "have to fight the longer middle-run (20-40 years) battle of transforming the capitalist system into the kind of post-capitalist one that will be better and not worse than the present one. If Wallerstein's sociology is credible, the futuristic alternative would be a world where authority is diminished significantly, ownership and rent are nonexistent much as the Venus Project advocates, and the world is governed as a single human community rather than a set of protectionist nation-states.


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