The Concept of the Periphery as a Constitutive Part of the Capitalist World System

Hartmut Elsenhans

Abstract


The category "periphery" is useful for describing positions in the international system. The analytical content however, is limited: Under capitalist conditions, overcoming "underdevelopment"/peripheral positions in the world system do not depend on the availability of surplus. Instead, overcoming "underdevelopment" has been achieved by devaluation-driven, export-oriented manufacturing, and therefore, by deliberately accepting exploitation for achieving comparative advantage. With regards to the MENA region, this "East Asian strategy" seems unfit because of limited capacities in wage goods production, especially food.


Keywords


Development; World Systems; Euro-Arab Cooperation; Imperialism; Export-Led Manufacturing

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.17192/meta.2015.5.3793

Hartmut Elsenhans received his PhD in 1973 from FU Berlin and his habilitation in 1976. He is professor emeritus in political science at Leipzig University, and currently a visiting professor at Quaid-i-Azam University in Islamabad. His prior appointments were: 1983-1993 Constance University, 1976-1983 Marburg University, 1964-1975 Frankfurt University, 1970-1979 FU Berlin. He held visiting professor positions at Jawaharlal Nehru University in New Dehli (1990 and 2002), in Salzburg (1987), Dakar (1986), Montreal (1978), and Lisbon (1991). He has field research experience in Algeria, Bangladesh, France, India, Mali and Senegal. His main research interest lies in theory of the world system, history of capitalism, development economics, state and administration in "developing" societies, new cultural-identitarian movements, and North-South relations. The range of countries of his interest includes Algeria, Austria, Bangladesh, Brazil, Canada, France, Germany, India, Pakistan, South Korea, Sri Lanka, Taiwan, Tunisia, and the United States.