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Capitalist World Economy

Capitalist World Economy

Author: Paul Hannan

Differentiate between the roles of core, semi-peripheral, and peripheral countries based on world systems theory.

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Source: Intro Music by Mark Hannan; Public Domain Earth; Public Domain

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[MUSIC PLAYING] Welcome this episode of Sociology-- Studies of Society. Today's lesson is on capitalist world economy. As always, don't be afraid to pause, stop, rewind, or fast forward to make sure you get the most out of this tutorial. So today we're looking at the capitalist world economy, and that really comes from the work of Immanuel Wallerstein. Now, Immanuel Wallerstein is an American sociologist, and he really came up with this theory.

And it can also actually be called the world systems theory. And whether it's called the world systems theory or the capitalist world economy, it's really a way to explain current global economic stratification. And it's based on this dependency theory. So it's based on this idea that there are nations in the world that are actively keeping down-- the rich nations are actively keeping down poor nations in society. And what it does is it really says that nations, this interaction, is based on capitalism and global capitalism specifically.

And what it does-- it divides up the world into three different parts. We have the core countries, the semi-peripheral countries, and the peripheral countries. So there is a world, and what this theory is doing this is dividing up in those three parts. At the center of this theory is the core countries. So here we have these core countries. They are the powerful nations, and they are the core, the driving core, of this system.

And they have all the economic-- or the majority of the economic, political, and cultural power in the world. And they use that and actually control this world system. They control the global economy and keep themselves at the center, and keep themselves wealthy. On the other end of the spectrum, we have the peripheral countries. These are low-income countries, and these countries are exploited and dominated by core countries.

This exploitation can happen in a number of different ways. Often, though, it's done by the core countries getting really cheap labor and really cheap natural resources from these peripheral countries. Lastly, we have the semi-peripheral countries. And these are groups-- they're just like on the screen there. They're in the center, so they have some aspects of the core countries and some aspect of the peripheral countries.

And so they're closer to the core, so they have more power for sure than peripheral countries, and they are attempting to get maybe into that core system. And they are exploiting some of the peripheral nations, but at the same time, they're also being kept down by the core countries. So in this world systems theory, again it's part of this dependency theory. And so there's a historical connection between these countries. And these core countries that are economically powerful and politically powerful, and more culturally powerful as well, they are using this-- and they have been core countries.

They have historically been powerful, and they're using this power to stay powerful and stay rich. And these other two types of countries, the semi-peripheral and the peripheral countries, are really victims of the core countries exploiting the other two groups. So today's takeaway message-- Immanuel Wallerstein was the guy who came up with the world's system or capitalist world economy. And he did this to try to explain global economic stratification, and he did this looking at the dependency model.

And the capitalist world economy is saying that, well, this stratification of the world that's economically happening between them-- well, you can divide it up in the world into three different parts. You have core countries, semi-peripheral, and peripheral countries. This division really happens, because the core countries are dominating the system and they're taking advantage of the semi-- peripheral and peripheral countries. Well, that's for this lesson. Good work, and hopefully you'll be seeing me on your screen again soon. Peace

Terms to Know
Capitalist World Economy (World Systems Theory)

A theory that holds that core countries are intimately connected with peripheral and semi-peripheral countries in a world system, and that the core exploits the periphery.

Core Countries

Powerful countries that economically, politically, and culturally control most of the world system.

Periphery Countries

Weak countries that have been integrated into the world system in a dependent position.

Semi-Periphery Countries

Countries in the middle that benefit from close relationships with core countries in the exploitation of periphery countries.

People to Know
Immanuel Wallerstein

American sociologist who developed World Systems Theory (Capitalist World Economy) to explain global economic stratification.