Hegemonic Cycle

From P2P Foundation
Jump to navigation Jump to search

= closely related, and perhaps interchangeable, to War Cycles

(= singular: also called the hegemony cycle)

Contextual Quote

"Hegemony cycles, unlike long waves, seem to be completely inaccessible to quantitative statistical analysis."

- Joshua Goldstein [1]

"How do those (hegemonic) cycles relate to long waves? I find the connection between the causal dynamics of these two cycles long waves and hegemony cycles to be weak. They are not synchronized, and there is no exact number of long waves that "makes up" a hegemony cycle. Rather, I see the two cycles as playing out over time, each according to its own inner dynamic but each conditioned by, and interacting with, the other."

- Joshua Goldstein [2]


Essentially, chapter 13 and 14, of Joshua Goldstein's book, Long Cycles: Prosperity and War in the Modern Age


Describing the Hegemonic Cycle

The hegemonic cycle explained by Alexander van Wijnen:

"In The Long Twentieth Century, Giovanni Arrighi shows that since the birth of capitalism in the Italian city-states of the 15th century, capitalism has unfolded over a 700-year period by producing hegemonic powers that secure control over the global economy (Genoa, Dutch Republic, UK, U.S.). The recurrence of several patterns within these Hegemonic Cycles allows us to gain a deeper understanding of our current geopolitical moment, in which the hegemony of the U.S. is coming to an end. Each Hegemonic Cycle begins with a period of “material expansion”. As competition over capital intensifies, historically, this eventually leads to the concentration of capital accumulation in a leading state. Genoa, Amsterdam, London and New York became “hegemonic” by dominating global capital flows. As the hegemon accumulates more and more capital, it will keep reinvesting its surplus capital in trade and production of material goods, triggering the “material expansion” of the global economy. For U.S. hegemony, the period of material expansion lasted from the 1950s to the early 1970s and has been called the Golden Age of Capitalism, in which global trade and production grew at unprecedented rates. What follows is “financial expansion” and it is triggered by what Arrighi calls a “signal crisis”. It is the moment in which, for the hegemon, it is no longer profitable to reinvest all of its surplus capital in material trade and production, as competition in the global trading system pushes down profits. Instead, financial speculation becomes more profitable. Put simply, the hegemon switches from trade in commodities to trade in money. The switch to finance was made in the 16th century by the Genoese, in the 18th century by the Dutch, in the late 19th century by the British, and in the 1970s by the U.S. By 1979, foreign exchange trading amounted to more than 11 times the value of global trade, and five years later, to almost 20 times the value of global trade. The switch to finance also triggers a “belle époque”. It is what Arrighi calls a “wonderful moment” of renewed wealth and power for the hegemon as the society’s elite benefits from financial expansion. In previous cycles, these were the Italian Renaissance, the Dutch ‘pruikentijd’ (periwig period) and the Edwardian era. In the U.S., the Reagan era is the belle époque that followed financial expansion (“it’s morning again in America”). All of these periods have been called “Gilded Ages” as the rich were not ashamed to live conspicuously. However, the belle époque also symbolizes the deepening of the “signal crisis” of capitalism. For one thing, the belle époque lays the foundation for populism by leaving behind the middle class that benefited from material expansion (e.g. production, trade). Indeed, since the financial expansion of the 1970s, real wages for American workers have stagnated and populism responds to this dissatisfaction. The end of hegemony is marked by the “terminal crisis” as a rival state launches another period of material expansion. However, before this happens, there is a relatively long period of “dualism of power” between the center of finance and the rival center(s). Historically, these periods have escalated into a final climax of 30-year conflicts (the Thirty Years’ War, the Napoleonic Wars, and the World Wars). It is important to note that the rival center (e.g. France, Germany) is not necessarily the next hegemon and the 30-year conflicts are actually wide-ranging conflicts between many different states."


Describing the role of hegemonic wars in the hegemonic cycle

Joshua Goldstein:


"Hegemony cycles are ultimately defined by a special set of wars that I call hegemonic wars. These wars mark the end of a long period of hegemonic decline and rivalry and the rise of a new hegemony in the world system. Shifts between hegemony and rivalry in the core follow a cyclical pattern but on a longer time scale than the long wave. Hegemonic war is followed by strong hegemony (as one country emerges from war in the strongest position), followed by the weakening of hegemony, increasing competition, and ultimately another hegemonic war. This sequence, which I call the hegemony cycle, takes on the order of a century and a half to complete. Thus several economic long waves occur within one hegemony cycle. But the hegemonic wars, dating the long hegemony cycle, do not seem to be tightly synchronized with the shorter ups and downs of the long wave. Superficially, the long wave is an economic phenomenon, and the hegemony cycle is a political one. But in fact the long wave contains key political elements (war plays a central role), and the hegemony cycle contains economic elements (economic hegemony and competition)."



"Each hegemony cycle begins with a period of strong hegemony following a hegemonic war (the Netherlands after 1648, Britain after 1815, and the United States after 1945).35The predominance of one core country over the others erodes, however, and the system moves toward a more multipolar, competitive power structure, eventually resolving the question of hegemonic succession with another hegemonic war. This hegemony cycle takes one to two centuries to complete and encompasses several long waves. Long waves and hegemony cycles do not appear to be tightly synchronized or linked. The long wave affects all countries in synchrony, while the hegemony cycle concerns the relative rise and decline of nations. Nonetheless the two cycles intersect in the same political-economic arenas."



Joshua Goldstein:

"Hegemony essentially consists of being able to dictate, or at least dominate, the rules and arrangements by which international relations, political and economic, are conducted (see chapters 5 and 6).

  • Economic hegemony implies the ability of one country to center the world economy around itself.
  • Political hegemony means being able to dominate the world militarily. Marxist analyses tend to emphasize the economic side of hegemony.

Wallerstein (1974, 1980) and Braudel (1977, 1984) give predominant emphasis to the economic sphere, with less emphasis on war. In Wallerstein's framework, the "core" dominates the "semi-periphery" and "periphery," imposing unequal terms of exchange and thus extracting surplus value (wealth) toward the core, where capital accumulation is concentrated (see chapter 1). A hegemonic power is a core country that temporarily dominates all other core powers economically (Wallerstein 1983).

Braudel's (1984:27–39) definitions are similar but narrower. He stresses the single city at the center of every world-economy around which is a narrow "core" (the country containing the central city), a broad "middle zone," and a large periphery. Dominant cities do not remain dominant forever; they replace one another in sequence. But there is room for only one center at one time; the rise of one means the downfall of another, according to Braudel.

More traditional Marxists also see hegemony in economic terms but concentrate on the core itself rather than core-periphery relations.

Mandel (1980:31) sees hegemony within the core as necessary for capitalist stability: "Only a high degree of international concentration of economic and political-military power makes it possible to impose on the capitalist world currently pragmatic solutions in times of crisis."

Realist and peace-research approaches focus more on military than economic hegemony.

Organski (1958) stresses the pyramidlike structure of international power—one country at the apex and others trying to maintain or improve their position in the political hierarchy.

Modelski (1978) emphasizes military capabilities and sees hegemony in terms of preponderant "global reach" capabilities.

In my approach, consistent with my theory of the reciprocal influence of war and economics (chapter 12), the military and economic aspects of hegemony receive equal billing. I am particularly interested in the connections between the two aspects. In my conception of the hegemony cycle, countries rise and decline in relative position within the hierarchical international structure in the core.

The hegemony cycle is defined by the succession of countries that occupy the very top position in the international hierarchy. At the end of each hegemony cycle, and the beginning of the next, is a period of very intense great power war, out of which emerges a new hegemonic power with a predominant share of world capabilities (economic and military). This war period ends with a restructuring of the world order around the new hegemonic power. I refer to this war period as "hegemonic war."

The overwhelming predominance that emerges at the end of, and as a result of, a hegemonic war is temporary. Gradually other powers rebuild from the war, and the gap begins to narrow.3New technologies underlying the hegemonic power's economic advantage are imitated in other countries. Countries rebuilding from war incorporate a new generation of technology, eventually allowing competition with the hegemonic country. For these reasons, each period of hegemony gradually erodes. Recurring wars, on several long wave upswings, eventually culminate in a new hegemonic war,4bringing another restructuring of the core and a new period of hegemony.

Each new hegemonic power emerges from the leading position in the winning coalition in hegemonic war. Among the winners are countries heavily damaged by war and others relatively insulated from war damage. The new hegemonic power comes from the latter group. After each hegemonic war, the winning coalition has fragmented. The next challenger has come from within the ranks of the winning coalition in the last hegemonic war. This outline of the hegemony cycle has been cast in general terms and is largely consistent with both Wallerstein's (1983) and Modelski's (1978) approaches."


Defining Hegemony

Joshua Goldstein:

"Hegemony has different meanings: some scholars refer mainly to military and political predominance, while others refer to economic predominance. I use the term in a broad sense including both. Also, some scholars (for example, Doran 1971) use hegemony to refer to the failed attempts at military supremacy within the great power system (for example, Napoleonic France), while others use it to refer to the leading country emerging victorious after such a challenge is suppressed (for example, postNapoleonic Britain). The latter usage is more common, and I will follow it.

In referring to a preeminent nation as "hegemonic" I do not mean to imply a necessarily oppressive or inequitable arrangement (as the flavor of the term sometimes implies) but only the "dictionary" sense: "leadership; preponderant ascendancy or authority, as among states. "2Modelski prefers the termw orld leadership, with its cooperative rather than exploitive overtones, while Organski refers to "one country at the apex of the pyramid" of world politics.

Hegemony seems to have acquired two connotations, positive and negative.

In the positive image, "benign hegemony," the leading country takes on the burden of maintaining international order and pays a disproportionate price for doing so. In this approach, international order is seen as a "public good" benefiting all countries, supported by the hegemonic power. Kindleberger (1973:28) argues that "the international economic and monetary system needs leadership, a country which is prepared, consciously or unconsciously, under some system of rules that it has internalized, to set standards of conduct for other countries; and to seek to get others to follow them, to take on an undue share of the burdens of the system." Britain had this role from 1815 to 1913, and the United States after 1945, according to Kindleberger, but in the interwar years Britain was unable, and the United States was unwilling, to accept this leadership role; Kindleberger sees in this lack of leadership the main causes for the severity of the depression of the 1930s. "Hegemonic stability theory" (see Keohane 1980), to quote McKeown's (1983:73) summary, argues that "it is the power of hegemonic states that leads to the emergence of open international economic systems" with free trade, benefiting all.

In the negative image of hegemony, the preeminence of one country is seen as an exploitative dominance of the world system gained by one country over other competitors. Kurth (1971:20) uses the term hegemony to refer to great power domination of small states. Kurth notes that since World War II, "while the practice of hegemony increased, especially by Americans, the mention of hegemony declined, especially by Americans." In current usage by the world-system school (see below),hegemony implies that one core country dominates exploitive core-periphery relations."



George Modelski's Cycle of World Leadership

Melissa Rock Modelski’s World Leadership Cycle:

"Modelski’s model is a historically based theory founded on his interest in naval history.

Some key elements of his theory are:

  • Power is a function of global reach (the ability to influence events across the globe).
  • Historically, world power rested upon the ability to control the oceans (“ocean-going capacity”).
  • Ocean-going capacity is measured by the combined tonnage of a country’s military and merchant navies.
  • Power in this model is about strength and dominance. ...
  • A world leader is able to offer an “innovation” that provides geopolitical order and security.
  • An innovation refers to bundles of institutions, ideas and practices.
  • Cycles of world leadership are dynamic—they rise and fall.

Each cycle of world leadership is comprised of four phases (pg 199):

  1. Phase of global war
  2. Phase of world power
  3. Phase of delegitimation
  4. Phase of deconcentration"


  • Table 7.1 Cycles of World Leadership:

World Leader Century Global War Challenger Coalition Partners

  1. Portugal // 1500s // 1494-1516 // Spain // Netherlands
  2. Netherlands // 1600s // 1580-1609 // France // England
  3. Great Britain // 1700s // 1688-1713 // France // Russia
  4. Great Britain // 1800s // 1792-1815 // Germany // US plus allies
  5. United States // 1900s // 1914-1945 // Soviet Union // NATO

Joshua Goldstein on the 3 schools

Overview of the 3 contenting schools and interpretations, by Joshua Goldstein:

" In the current debate, as in the long wave debate, three theoretical groupings, or research schools, have developed (see fig. 6.1).

  • One school is descended from Toynbee and Wright, with the incorporation of Organski's and Farrar's influence. This is the current leadership cycle school, led by Modelski.
  • A second school, led by Wallerstein, is the world-system school, which has engaged the Toynbee/Organski problem of war and hegemony from a Marxist perspective. This school has interacted, but not agreed, with the leadership cycle school.
  • The third school ... is the power transition school, growing out of Organski's approach.

Each current research tradition grows out of a more general approach to international relations peace research, neo-Marxism, and realism, respectively. And these three approaches in turn correspond roughly with the three world views (liberal, revolutionary, and conservative) discussed in chapter 1. In general, the peace research approach is oriented toward the quantitative and qualitative study of war to understand its causes and bring about its reduction. The neo-Marxist approach emphasizes the importance of the world-system structured by the inequality (and unequal dependency) between core and periphery and seeks to change the underlying socioeconomic context that leads to war. The realist approach focuses on national power and balance-of-power politics. and seeks "timeless" laws of national behavior. These differences in approach are reflected in different foci for the three current schools in the war/hegemony debate. The leadership cycle school focuses on the role of global war in establishing a new international order under a world leader roughly every century. The neo-Marxist world-system school focuses on hegemony and rivalry in the core of the world economy, linking hegemonic cycles to pairs of long waves. The power transition school focuses on changes in national power and their effects on war and hegemony."


William R. Thompson on the 5 schools

William R. Thompson:

"Leadership long cycle theory possesses at least five different models developed to help explain structural change in the global system.

The leadership long cycle phase model establishes a schedule of generational shifts in changing structures and behavior. Each long cycle is divided into four phases that can be looked at from several different vantage points. In this examination, the world power–delegitimation-deconcentration– global war sequence will be emphasized.

A second model, global-regional dissynchronization, argues that the dynamics of global and regional tendencies toward concentration and de-concentration are not coincidentally out of synch with one another.

De-concentration at the global level encourages concentration in the system’s most central region which, in turn, increases the probability of reconcentration at the global level. Model three examines something called the “twin peaks” phenomenon. System leaders experience two distinct waves of innovation. The first peak establishes the foundation for economic and political leadership by placing the pioneering innovators at the world economy’s technological frontier. While this periodic updating of economic practices is critical to long-term economic growth, it is destabilizing and contributes to the outbreak of global war in which contenders for systemic leadership determine in a rather primitive way which candidate’s qualifications are superior.

Just why the first peak is so destabilizing is the subject of the fourth model."


Source: Structural Preludes to Systemic Transition since 1494. William R. Thompson. In: Systemic Transitions pp 55–73. Palgrave-Mcmillan, [3]


The Problem of Dating

Joshua Goldstein explains:

"I adduce a dating scheme for hegemony cycles based on three hegemonic wars and the corresponding rise and decline of three hegemonic powers—the Netherlands, Great Britain, and the United States. I discuss the idea of "structural history" and give the background of European political economy around 1500 (the starting point for the study). I then present a historical reconstruction of the first era (the first hegemony cycle), lasting through the Peace of Westphalia in 1648. The historical period since 1648 is left for chapter 14."


Thus, we obtain:

  • Cycle 1. From 1495 until about 1618/1648
  • Cycle 2. From about 1618/1648 to 1793/1815
  • Cycle 3. From about 1793/1815 to 1914/1945

and hypothetically:

  • Cycle 4: From about 1945 to 2008
  • Cycle 5: From about 2008 to ?

As Joshua Goldstein explains:

On the Historical Dating of Hegemony Cycles:

Wallerstein's dating concentrates on war periods about 150 years apart, which have recurred three times since 1618. Modelski stresses war periods about 100 years apart, recurring five times since 1500. I have chosen Wallerstein's datings as the basis of hegemonic wars and periods of hegemony in the scheme adduced below. There area number of reasons for this choice. First, of course, this dating of hegemony cycles fits with the shifts in economic hegemony described by both Braudel and Wallerstein. Maddison (1982:29) comes to parallel conclusions in terms of economic leadership in the world: "Since 1700 there have been only three lead countries" the Netherlands until the 1780s, then Britain until around 1890, then the United States. He documents these changes in terms of productivity (gross domestic product[GDP]per worker-hour)6and elaborates them with interpretive historical narrative for each case.? It seems to me that three is indeed the correct number of identifiable shifts in world leadership since the sixteenth century and that even Modelski acknowledges this (but reconciles it with his dating by having two British cycles in a row).


These three shifts also line up with the most cataclysmic wars.

Looking back over the past five centuries, three great war peaks stand out above all the others:

  • The Thirty Years' War, 1618—48
  • The French Revolutionary and Napoleonic wars, 1793—1815
  • World Wars I and II, 1914—45

These are empirically (see chapter 11) the most severe wars, corresponding with the highest peaks of inflation and hence presumably the most "costly" wars. "


Outline of the Three Cycles

Joshua Goldstein:

"The Secular Evolution of the World System I refer to each hegemonic cycle as an era in recognition of the secular evolutionary change from one to the next.

The very long-term evolution of the world system encompasses the decline of the Mediterranean "world' (Braudel 1972) and the rise of Europe as the most advanced economic and political region, the development of capitalism and of the nation-state, and the eventual "take-off" of industrial growth in Europe. Europe comes to embrace the entire world in its economic and political reach, dividing up the rest of the world's territory into colonies and spheres of influence. And eventually, Europe itself declines with the rise of the superpowers outside Europe and the loss of European control over the periphery (Barraclough 1964).

Wallerstein sees the rise of capitalism as starting around 1500 and as rooted in expanded world trade through which Europe extracted the world's wealth toward the center. This is not a consensual approach among Marxists. Brenner, for instance, likens Wallerstein's approach to that of Adam Smith, not Karl Marx (see Thomas and Denemark 1985). Whereas Wallerstein sees international trade as crucial in the development of capitalism, Brenner sees the impetus coming from domestic sources within the advanced countries.13 The issue of when and why capitalism began lies outside the scope of this book.

I assume merely that at my starting point of 1495, capitalism and nation-states were beginning to emerge, and the European system was taking shape with the decline of Venice and the rise of Portugal, Spain, Austria, France, and England.

During the first hegemony cycle, before 1648, the evolution of the world system was characterized by a long steady process of expanding the reach of the Eurocentric system, extracting economic surplus from the periphery, and using that wealth as well as Europe's own surplus production to finance wars between emerging nation-states (see table 13.1, right columns). The culmination of this stage came in the formalization of the nation-state system in the Peace of Westphalia, in 1648. The stage of military evolution in this first cycle was one of wars fought by paid mercenaries on behalf of monarchs.

The second era was characterized by a multipolar balance-of-power system in the core, which led to the most regular recurrence of great power wars on long wave upswings in any era (see chapter 11). Europe's hold on the periphery was further extended, and its control was consolidated, in this era (at least until Britain's loss of America near the end). The military technology in this era was characterized by large, trained, professional armies.

The third era was initially dominated by Britain and was characterized by the industrialization of the core at a rapid pace. Railroads and steamships opened up the world to European penetration on a new scale, and as British hegemony slowly declined, the great powers competed to colonize the remaining peripheral areas of the globe. Industrialization also changed the nature of war, ushering in national wars that mobilized an entire national economy toward sustaining mechanized warfare.

The fourth era marks a very different stage of development for the world system. Europe's conquest of the world ultimately drew the center of power away from Europe leaving Europe itself split in half. This is an era of technological wars fought by small groups operating expensive weapons at large stand-off distances. New developments in world politics include the presence of nuclear weapons, the extension of global reach into space, and the effects of an information revolution still in progress."



Immanuel Wallerstein on Hegemony

Joshua Goldstein:

"Wallerstein (1983) defines hegemony in these three instances as "that situation in which the ongoing rivalry between the so-called `great powers' is so unbalanced that... one power can largely impose its rules and its wishes (at the very least by effective veto power) in the economic, political, military, diplomatic, and even cultural arenas" (p. 101).

Wallerstein refers to hegemony as "one end of a fluid continuum" of competitive relations between core powers in which both ends hegemony and multipolar equality are rare and unstable (p. 102).

Wallerstein (p. 102) lists the three periods of hegemony as maximally defined by roughly these dates:

  • United Provinces 1625–72
  • United Kingdom 1815–73
  • United States 1945–67

Each hegemon achieved its preeminent position based on its ability to operate more efficiently in three economic areas—agroindustrial production, commerce, and finance (p. 103).

The hegemon's edge in efficiency is so great that enterprises based in the hegemonic power can outbid those based elsewhere in the world, even within the latter's home countries. Wallerstein argues that each hegemonic power first gains and then loses its edge in production, commerce, and finance, in that order. Hegemony exists during the short period in which all three overlap. Wallerstein points to broad similarities between each hegemonic power. Each advocated global liberalism, including free trade (antimercantilism), anticolonialism, parliamentary institutions, civil liberties, and a relatively high standard of living for their own national working classes. Each was primarily a sea (then sea and air) power. In the long ascent to hegemony, they seemed very reluctant to develop their armies, discussing openly the potentially weakening drain on state revenues and manpower of becoming tied down in land wars. Yet each found finally that it had to develop a strong land army as well to face up to a major land-based rival which seemed to be trying to transform the world-economy into a world-empire (p. 103).

Each instance of hegemony, Wallerstein notes, "was secured by a thirty-year-long world war." His definition of world war is "a land-based war that involves (not necessarily continuously) almost all the major military powers of the epoch in warfare that is very destructive of land and population" (p. 103).

The world wars corresponding with each instance of hegemony were

  • in 1618—48 (triumph of Dutch over Hapsburgs),
  • 1792—1815 (triumph of British over French), and
  • 1914—45 (triumph of America over Germany).

World wars, in contrast to other more limited wars, have (like hegemony itself) been "a rarity" in the world-system, according to Wallerstein. In the aftermath of each world war, according to Wallerstein, came a major restructuring of the interstate system (Westphalia; the Concert of Europe; the U. N. and Bretton Woods) in a form consonant with the need for relative stability of the now hegemonic power. Furthermore, once the hegemonic position was eroded economically... and therefore hegemonic decline set in, one consequence seemed to be the erosion of the alliance network which the hegemonic power had created.... In the long period following the era of hegemony, two powers seemed eventually to emerge as the "contenders for the succession"—England and France after Dutch hegemony; the U.S. and Germany after British; and now Japan and western Europe after U.S. Furthermore, the eventual winner [turned] the old hegemonic power into its "junior partner" (p. 104).

All of this parallels Modelski's leadership cycle, except that the dating of world wars and their hegemonic winners differs."


Barry Gillis on Hegemonic Transition

Barry K. Gills:

"Previously, the term "transition" was usually reserved for change on a very broad sociohistorical scale. For historical materialists in particular, the most important transitions that shaped the course of world history were those between modes of production. I will argue that "hegemonic transition" is as useful a concept, if not more so, as transition between modes of production, or as "hegemonic succession" for understanding the patterns of change of accumulation, power, and world order throughout world history.

Taking this general point somewhat further, I would argue that it is possible to view all of international or world history as a series of hegemonic transitions entailing recurrent shifts in the locus of accumulation in the world economy. It follows from this hypothesis that these hegemonic transitions, or alternatively "center shifts," are a central form of historical change, i.e. as much a fundamental change as transitions between "modes of production," "historical social systems," or "civilizations" were previously presumed to be. Perhaps hegemonic transition and center shift are more real than transitions between the above, which exist primarily as analytical constructs, and therefore their boundaries are more easily identified.

If hegemonic transition is the central concept this implies a fundamental rethinking of the agencies of change in world history. It poses anew the problem of the relationship between "internal" "external" factors as explanations of historical change. This debate was already begun between "productionists" and "circulationists" some time ago. However, if the nature of the "international" or "external" arena is reconceptualized as a hierarchy of centers of accumulation in which the hierarchy of power is embedded, the debate could enter a new phase. It also re-poses the problem of the relationship between change "from above" and change "from below" in the social hierarchy.

My intention is to build upon the insights of Janet Abji-Lughod (1989), who argues that a world system is not always dominated by a single hegemon, but may be characterized by a number of coexisting core powers (or in my terms interlinked hegemonic powers) that via both conflictual and cooperative relations become increasingly integrated. To Abu-Lughod, therefore, "hegemonic transition" would not be best understood as a process of absolute rise and fall by states. Rather, she emphasizes relative position in a complex multilayered hierarchy. Over the course of world history some nations, or groups of nations, gain relative power vis-a-vis others. Thus they occasionally succeed in "setting the terms of their interactions with subordinates." This is a "rise." Conversely, the loss of such a (temporary) advantageous position is referred to by Abu-Lughod as a "decline" (Abu-Lughod 1989).

Within Abu-Lughod's formulation there is an implicit conception of movement up and down a complex, multilayered hierarchy of economic and political power in the world system. The hierarchy of political power is embedded or "nested" in a hierarchy of economic power embedded in the world economy. If we accept that there has been a world economy at Eurasian scale for far longer than the past five hundred years (Chase-Dunn 1989; Gills and Frank, chapters 3 and 5) then several other points follow. First it becomes possible to view hegemonic rivalries as a continuous process accompanying the development of the world economy. Secondly, it becomes necessary to distinguish between purely regional hegemony (the "empires") and world hegemony. I would argue that hegemony on the scale of the world economy, unlike the regional form of hegemonic power (and perhaps not even that), has never been held exclusively by a single power or its ruling/propertied classes. Rather, especially global or world hegemony is always shared hegemony, exercised through a complex network composed of class coalitions, and also alliances and other forms of association between states, including competitive ones.

The world system as a whole is certainly never simply dominated by one great hegemonic power, but rather is characterized by interlinking hegemonic powers - which are typified in their mutual relations by both competitive and cooperative interactions, i.e. "independence," "interdependence," and "dependence". Changes in the configuration of relations between these hegemonic actors can have a truly profound impact on the course of history and social development. This impact may be equal to or even greater than the impact of class struggle between the exploiter and the exploited classes (i.e. the accumulating and the producing classes). In fact, the outcome of class struggle may often depend ultimately on the outcome of these hegemonic struggles, at least as much, if not more, than the other way around.

This idea flows from a conception of the world system as an interlinked hierarchy of centers of accumulation, as opposed to a simple hierarchy of states and their power. For example, the Pax Americana is probably better understood as a complex coalition of classes and states in a shared global hegemony than as the overwhelming power of a single state (Gill 1990; Van der Fiji 1984). The consolidation of US hegemony after 1945 is accompanied by west European and Japanese economic power, of course, but also by European and Japanese political influence, operating largely in subordinated harmony with US power. This coalition operated in a context of global rivalry with the Soviet Union and other communist powers for hegemonic position. Likewise, British global hegemony in the nineteenth century cannot be properly assessed in isolation from the coexisting (global) imperia of other contemporary great powers and the specific relations established among the great powers within Europe after the Congress of Vienna. To venture much farther back in world history for a moment, our western view of the sole dominance of the Roman empire in the ancient world is fundamentally flawed by the prevailing Eurocentrism. In reality, the regional Roman imperium coexisted with other very powerful and wealthy hegemonic actors, such as the Parthians in Mesopotamia, followed by the Sassanid Persian empires, all of which were embedded in the same Eurasian-wide economic relations, which included Indian, Central Asian, and Chinese states and empires as well.

As an alternative conception to the single-hegemon-succession model, it can be argued that the world system as a whole goes through a cycle composed of periods when several hegemonic powers rise and coexist together, and periods when several hegemonic powers decline together or when hegemonic power is in disarray and competition and conflict increase, i.e. a period of general world political and economic crisis. These hegemonic power cycles seem to be correlated with long cycles of economic expansion and contraction (or at least slower growth or some form of dislocation). Gills and Frank (in chapter 5) trace the occurrence of these cycles back at least two thousand years. These are not simply parallel developments, but are synchronized. That is to say, there is a common causal link between them. My preferred hypothesis is that this link comes from their mutual participation in the world economy and in its single hierarchy of accumulation. However, though some hegemonic powers decline there are always ascending powers, even in periods of general crisis. Even the worst economic crisis, though it certainly brings about much political, social, and economic restructuring and a change of the geopolitical landscape, does not mean the disappearance of hegemonic power altogether. The world economy as a whole never ***, rather the ways in which it is constituted and the linkages through which it operates are I changed. This process favours some at a particular time while discriminating against others, and so on through time me world historical process to which I refer above is not merely a 1 rearrangement of players through time and space, but entails the restructuring of all the players as well as of the world system itself. It could be more broadly understood, as I have argued elsewhere, as a perpetual politico-economic process of mutual societal penetrations and transformations ... [in which] coexisting classes and states interlock in competitive/cooperative relationships of accumulation and rivalry. These relationships not only determine shifts in the "balance of power" or configuration of international hierarchy over time, but equally, if not more importantly, they constantly force restructuring on all of the classes, states, and societies imer-locked into these competitive/cooperative relationships. This constant process of societal restructuring should be recognized as the real subject matter of the discipline of international relations. (Gills 1993; see also Gills and Palan 1993)

From this (new) perspective, hegemonic transitions in the world system may be viewed as an unbroken series entailing cumulative development: but composed of both secular and cyclical change. Over the tongue duree, the long passage of sociohistorical time in which fundamental social structures are embedded, the world system expands spatially, for instance (a secular trend), while simultaneously undergoing internal restructuring (often of a cyclical character) or "deepening." The hegemonic transition is therefore not simply a repetitive cycle. At the beginning of each new historical period certain conditions will have changed that make it different from the preceding period. In particular, as the pace of technologicchange increases the difference between one hegemonic period and another may be considerable, despite other continuities.

For example, underpinning all hegemonic transitions is a secular developmental and underdevelopmental process which restructures the hierarchy of center-periphery relations, and center-center relations. This constant process of restructuring occurs locally, regionally, and now globally. There is an underlying process of capital accumulation on a world scale, which itself demands that certain types of restructuring occur in order for world accumulation to continue and expand. Therefore, secular developments in technology and the organization of the production system intertwine with cyclical rhythms of capital formation, and both with social and political developments. Mandel (1980) has examined in a very sophisticated manner the developmental logic of such interacting secular and cyclical patterns for the period of modern history since the 1780s. The long-term relationship of consumption to production, the rates of profit, investment, and exploitation, the technological cycles of innovation, the Kondratieff waves, and the form of social regulation, all appear in Mandel's examination of the development of modem capitalism. However, Mandel did not fully integrate the notion of hegemonic-power transitions ***** analysis. The locus of accumulation, and with it the locus of hegemonic power, shifts in response t6 all of these world historical forces above, operating in conjunction with one another.

I argue that the accumulation process is the ultimate driving force of hegemonic transition and thus of world order. This materialist analysis of the primacy of economic processes in the evolution of world order is not a "return" to past positions, but is even more relevant today than in the past. It stands in contrast to the explanations of a reinvigorated and redeployed idealist analysis of world order which explains macrohisiorical change as the working out of some great historical idea, such as "freedom," or more topically "democracy." If world history has any real "end" it is most likely the (capital) accumulation process itself, in whatever specific historical form. Hegemonic power is a means to that end. As the forms of accumulation change so do the forms of hegemonic power and thus the form of world order. I believe that the historical evidence shows that the sequence is ultimately in that order and not the other way around.

The second set of insights I wish to expand upon are those of Gilpin (1981) concerning the cycle of hegemonic rise and decline and the role of economic surplus. I hope the reader will pardon the exceptionally long quotation which follows, but it is necessary to do justice to the full range of Gilpin's formulation in order that I may later relate these points to the arguments above and those which follow. According to Gilpin (1981):

The territorial, political and economic expansion of a state increases the availablility of economic surplus required to exercise dominion over the system (Rader, 1971, p. 46.). The rise and decline of dominant states and empires are largely functions of the general and then the eventual dissipation of this economic surplus [p. 106]....

The type of social formation is extremely important because it determines how the economic surplus is generated, its magnitude, and the mechanism of its transfer from one group of society to another (Amin, 1976, p. 18); it influences the distribution of wealth and power within societies as well as the mechanism for the distribution of wealth and power among societies [p. 108]. ...

The distinguishing features of premodern and modern international relations are in large measure due to significant differences in characteristic social formations. The displacement of empires and imperial-command economies by nation-states and a world market as the principal forms of political id economic organization can be understood only as a development associated with the change from an agricultural formation to industrial formation [p. 110].

... the predominant form of political organization before the modern era was the empire ... the history of interstate relations was largely that of successive great empires. The pattern of international political change during the millennia of the premodern era has been described as an imperial cycle (Rader, 1971, pp. 38-68; Rostow, 1971, pp. 28-9). World politics was characterized by the rise and decline of powerful empires, each of which in turn unified and ordered its respective international system. The recurrent pattern in every civilization of which we have knowledge was for one state to unify the system under its imperial domination. This propensity toward universal empire was the principal feature of premodern politics.... The principal determinant of this cycle of empires was the underlying agriculture-based social formation... the size of the economic surplus from agriculture and imperial tribute was principally a function of the extent of territorial control. Therefore, other things being equal, the greater the territorial extent of an empire and of its political control, the greater the taxable surplus and the greater the power of the empire....

Although the generation of an economic surplus during the imperial era was dependent on agriculture, its distribution was frequently influenced by commerce and international trade ... the control of trade routes has been an objective of states and a source of great wealth and power. The great and enduring empires frequently have arisen at the crossroads of trade, and struggles over control of the principal arteries of commerce have been constant sources of interstate conflict. Changes in the control of these trade routes and changes in the locations of the routes themselves have played decisive roles in the rise and decline of empires and civilizations....

The cycle of empires was broken in the modern world by three significant interrelated developments: the triumph of the nation-state as the principal actor in international relations; the advent of sustained economic growth based on modern science and technology; the emergence of a world market economy. These developments reinforced one another and in turn led to displacement of the cycle of empires by the European balance-of-power system and, later, a succession of hegemonies in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries [pp. 110-16].

Since it is my firm contention, following Ekholm and Friedman chapter 2 above and Silver (1985) that "capital" existed in the ancient economy in much the same form as later in world history, and that capital accumulation is the driving force of world-historical development (Gills and Frank, Chapter 3 above), it follows that the history of capital accumulation and e history of hegemonic-power transitions are inextricably linked not only r the modern world but throughout most of world history. Chase-Dunn (1989) already argued that "both political-military power and the propriation of surplus value through production and sale on the world key play an integrated role" in hegemonic-power cycles. But how far k in world history could this be said to hold true? Perhaps much farther k. than we are normally led to think is the case. Chase-Dunn explains *** the "low overhead strategy" of Venice, which was later emulated by Holland, Britain, and the USA, relies for its success on a decentralized political apparatus of domination which reduces the cost of administration pot empire, while surplus extraction is accomplished by trade. By contrast, high-overhead imperia which rely on a direct and centralized political apparatus of control and extraction of surplus via coercion/tribute are less : successful when in competitive relations with the low-overhead types.

We have been taught that ancient economy and empire were basically; about coercion, bureaucratic centralization, and tribute. I believe there is |much evidence to the contrary. Gilpin's statement suggests that the regional power dynamic of empire cannot readily be separated from the trade dynamic transcending regional territorial boun. Many important and the long-lasting hegemonic or imperial powers in world history depended not * only on the agricultural surplus or on direct extraction of the same, but crucially upon exchange of products via market relations conducted over long distances. That is, they were embedded in a world economy and their power position was interrelated with their economic position within it. States, even ancient ones, pursue wealth through the pursuit of sources of surplus, of which trade has always been a key, if not decisive, element.

Even the earliest cities ** Sumer prospered via long-distance trade, though they engaged in imperial rivalry and expansionism in order to protect or expand their vital trade. The example of the Minoan thalossoc-racy comes to mind as another ancient example of a centre of accumulation prospering not primarily through military imperium or territorial expansion but through long-distance trade. Even more so, the early trade cities of the Levant and later the Phoenician cities provide an example of ancient capital accumulation on the "Venetian" model that was very successful for many centuries. Many of the principal classical Greek cities also rose to economic prominence in a similar manner, and eventually in competition with the Phoenicians, both of the Levant and of Carthage. The Byzantine empire's strength probably persisted for so long due to the important role the metropole of Constantinople played in the world economy, because of the strength of its gold currency and its pivoal geopolitical location.

The lift could easily be expanded.

Perhaps it would be more correct to hypodtMBie that tribute has never been the sole, or the most effective or competitive, means of accumulation, but rather that it has always been trade and commerce which constitute the most significant means of accumulation. This significance lies in the key role that transfer of surplus via trade has in determining change in the hierarchy of accumulation and power, and also in stimulating social change (Denemark and Thomas 1988; Denemark 1990). Therefore, our both crude and incorrect inherited notions of ancient "command-economy" (Gilpin 1981: 112) and of "tributary" modes of production (Amin 1976, 1989), determined by coercion or political means of extraction (Anderson 1974), require significant reformulation.

Gilpin is perfectly right to argue that the rise and decline of empires, great states, hegemons, etc., is a function of the generation and dissipation of economic surplus. He is also right to imply that this is a principle which applies to all world history and not only to the modem world. The quotation above from Gilpin illustrates, if only implicitly, that both the "domestic" character of surplus extraction and the "international" arena of competition over control of the flows of trade are probably of equal historical and analytical importance when attempting to understand the patterns of hegemonic transition. Likewise, he is right to say that changes in the form the surplus takes and the method of its accumulation significantly influence the form of political power that dominates a historical period. Indeed, I would elevate this to a cardinal principle in the study of world history and world order.

If capital accumulation existed via trade even in the ancient world economy and this was a key element in continuous hegemonic rivalry processes, then Gilpin's sharp break between the premodem and modern forms of hegemonic power may not be quite so sharp after all. "Trading empires" are not rare in history, as we have seen, even in the premodern era. "Command economies" are not rare in modern history, indeed the twentieth century seems to have been a period of remarkable (temporary) revival of such economic systems - in direct competition with the trading nation-states which Gilpin identifies as the dominant modem form of hegemonic power. As in the past, the trading state of the twentieth century proved itself to be a superior form in competition with the command economy. Therefore, the putative historical break between the "cycle of empires" and the "succession of hegemonies" may not be quite as clear as Gilpin suggests.

The reason for the success of both premodem and modern trading states seems straightforward. Participation in world trade is participation in world accumulation. This participation greatly increases access to surplus being exchanged and thus offers the opportunity to capture more surplus than would be possible based on a purely self-reliant national economy. This has always been true. Likewise, participation in world trade is an avenue to acquiring technology and production techniques also not necessarily available to a closed, self-reliant economic system. It is likewise a stimulus to achieve superiorities in the production system which allow a state's exports to be competitive in other markets, including other core markets.

Even the so-called imperial command economies of the premodern era, and particularly their elite classes, on closer scrutiny, were most often simultaneously engaged in pursuit of wealth through trade. This was certainly true of the most ancient Mesopotamian empires beginning with the Akkadian, and of Assyria, Persia, Rome, Byzantium, the Arab caliphate and subsequent Islamic empires, Parthia, Sassanid Persia, Bactria, the Kushan empire, Tang and Song China, the Ottoman empire ... the list could go on. Therefore, the "propensity toward universal empire" should not be explained solely on the basis of the desire to expand territorially in pursuit of more tribute and tax revenue from the agricultural base. It can also be explained in many cases by a desire to control key trade routes, the source of key materials, and key cities which generate "liquid" revenue in monetary form.

So if there is an important premodern-to-modern historical break it may not be so much due to the existence or nonexistence of trade as a key element of the pursuit of power, but rather to a change in the character of that trade. Chase-Dunn argues that "the thing which distinguishes a capitalist world-economy from earlier world systems is the exent to which states in the core rely on comparative advantage in production for the world market instead of political-military power" (Chase-Dunn 1989: 111) Nevertheless, this statement would be difficult to defend even for the relatively "modern" mercantilist states of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, which systematically deployed naval military power on a global scale to secure their share of surplus from world trade.

Change in the character of trade seems to reside first and foremost in the production system. The modern industrial change in the production system - made possible by advances in science and technology - led to a change in the form of surplus, or at least to a drastic change in the proportions being produced via agriculture and industry, which in turn led to a change in the forms of accumulation, increasingly via commodity exchange in price-setting markets and the wage-labor form at the point of production, and then in the form of state power, and thus to a change in the form of hegemonic power and world order. We have become very accustomed to referring to this modern historical period as "capitalism," or the "capitalist world-system," i.e. characterizing the historical period by a term for its dominant mode of production.

Though Gilpin and Chase-Dunn are right to highlight the importance of a switch from agricultural surplus and territorial expansion to modem industry, the spread of market relations, commodification, and wage labor, and the appearance of the modern nation-state, it is important to note that these modern forms never entirely displaced other coexisting forms of accumulation. Following Chase-Dunn (1989), it should be accepted that nonmarket variables are important to modem "capitalist" accumulation processes. "Capital" can be defined as a social relationship in which labor transfers a surplus to appropriating classes. These appropriating (accumulating) classes are composed both of owners of means of production and of political elites. The, the "capitalist class" can be either a private or a state elite which organizes production in order to appropriate surplus from labor. "States are part of the relations of production in capitalism" and "there are many degrees and forms of the commodification of labour" so that "the subjection of labour to the logic of profit-making... is accomplished by a variety of institutional means." "Real capitalism," and the accumulation of capital in it, includes both private and state "capitalists'" accumulating via the world market, and a mix of "competitive production of commodities and political-military power." The larger arena of "capitalism" allows various forms of commodified labor, not only the wage-labor form, and includes "geopolitics," i.e. the competitive quest for accumulation and military-political hegemonic power among states. Interestingly, "peripheral capitalism does bear a greater similarity to precapitalist societies based on the tributary mode of production than does core capitalsm" (Chase-Dunn 1989: 1-43, 121).

In my reading of world history, despite many apparent changes in modes of production, or modes of accumulation, the fundamental patterning of hegemonic transitions, i.e. consolidation and deconsolidation of hegemonic power, and the concomitant concentration and deconcentration of accumulation, seems to persist and indeed to transcend change in the mixture of modes. Let us briefly consider how modes of accumulation interface with hegemonic transition. Just as hegemonic power is better understood as a multilayered hierarchy rather than a unipolar dominance, so also modes of production or accumulation are better understood as a multilayered hierarchy, i.e. always being a complex articulation of modes.

I follow Geoffrey de Ste Croix (1981) and Ekholm and Friedman (chapter 2 above) in recognizing that all the primary forms of extraction of surplus known to the modern world were already in existence even in the ancient world. As discussed in chapter 3 above, in order to retain the notion of discrete modes of production, such as the slave mode of production, de Ste Croix developed an interesting formulation. He decided to characterize a mode as that through which the ruling elite derives the main pan of its surplus. This obviates the need for one mode to be overwhelmingly common in the social formation. It is only important that it be the form through which the elite derives the main source of its wealth from other classes. That is, it characterizes the key form of the transfer of surplus; the main form of the accumulation process in that socioeconomic formation at that period of history. It can and does coexist with many other modes. Taking this Respective even further, perhaps to its logical conclusion, I would argue that the notion of transition between discrete modes of production breaks down altogether. If the reality is always a mixture of many modes in a complex articulation then what actually takes place is a change in the composition of this mixture and the hierarchy within it, not a clean transition from one mode to another. The crucial change is at the top layer of accumulation. This form changes in correspondence with a host of social, political, military, technological, demographic, and other factors. But perhaps it is not only a matter of the historical form the surplus takes, but crucially, change in the distribution of surplus between fractions of the accumulating classes whch constitutes the ultimate key to understanding what drives hegemonic transitions.

If change in the configuration of modes is only one element, change in the configuration of power among the accumulating classes is another very important and too neglected dimension of historical transitions. Despite many changes in modes the fundamental patterning of hegemonic transitions seems to persist and remain a profound influence on the course of social history. The current confusion over whether the world is witnessing a transition from "socialism" to "capitalism" or may yet experience a transition from "capitalism" to "socialism" illustrates my point that perhaps what is happening in the world today would be better understood primarily as a hegemonic transition rather than primarily or solely a transition between modes of production. The same lesson applies to the earlier "transition" between "feudalism" and "capitalism." Chase-Dunn (1989) and Gills and Frank (chapter 5) criticize Wallerstein for regarding India and the Ottoman empire as separate world systems in the sixteenth century because they were allegedly not "capitalist" while the Eurocentered world economy was "capitalist." Wallerstein has substituted mode-of-production criteria for his material-exchange criteria, but by doing so has to reinterpret the very important and expensive trade relations among Europe, India, the Ottoin.ans, and also China. Far better to recognize that "Europe was never (or only briefly) a separate world-system according to the definition of material exchange networks. Rather, there has existed for at least two millennia a multi-centric Eurasian world-system" (Chase-Dunn 1989: 45).

As the present world situation clearly illustrates, a hegemonic transition is largely set in motion by shifts in the relative position of classes and states in the hierarchy of accumulation, but has profound effects on social development and is therefore by no means merely a rearrangement of players on a chessboard. Therefore, by focusing on hegemonic transition as the key concept of change in world history, we need not abandon the problems that modes-of-production analysis sought to address - namely how struggles over accumulation affect the course of larger sociopolitical and economic development in world history. The two are inseparable. "Modes" certainly exist, but they need to be (plocated in our scheme of social change, within a framework governed by patterns of interelite rivalry and the accompanying hegemonic transition."


How Hegemonic Leadership Transitions Are Linked to Kondratieff Wave Technology Innovation Clusters

William R. Thomposon:

"The leadership long cycle argument makes a number of assertions about how hierarchy is established in global politics – one of which privileges clustered, radical innovations in technology as the principal driving force of the K-wave.3 This first set of assertions revolves around leading sectors which are industries built on radical innovations which have some potential of revolutionizing the way the economy is structured. Long-term growth is discontinuous and dependent on spurts in the development of these radical innovations. Radical innovations, in turn, generate new technology and industries characterized by high growth rates and alter the way old industries (characterized by slow growth rates) perform or, alternatively lead to their disappearance through Schumpeter's ‘creative destruction’ processes. Rapid growth on the part of the aggregate economy depends, of course, on the new, high growth sectors outperforming and more than offsetting the drag of the older, slow growth sectors.

It should be noted that these radical innovations are not simply a matter of the appearance of new hardware (Modelski 2001). Actors must learn how to cope with the implications of new technology and this takes time. Eventually, however, the effects become more routine as the new developments are assimilated, albeit unevenly around the world. Just how long this combination of hardware and perception process requires to work itself out, no doubt, is somewhat variable but probably approximates a generation. One generation is first exposed to the new technology and the following generation increasingly regards it as a routine way of doing things.

Initially, these leading sector trajectories were viewed as long waves or undulations of accelerated and slow economic growth. We have moved away from that conceptualization and now embrace the notion of a sequence of S-shaped growth curves. New sectors are introduced, grow quickly at first and then level off. Long-term economic growth is still subject to sequences of fast and slow growth but the underlying mechanism is the iterative introduction of new industries to replace old ones. Each new cluster of radical technological changes possesses an S-shaped trajectory that gradually flattens as its activities are perceived to become routine or even obsolete.

The introduction of radical innovations is monopolized by a single lead economy situated at or near the top of a global technological gradient on which the world's economies are organized hierarchically. At the bottom of the gradient, subsistence activities predominate. At the top, pioneering innovations for a time produce efficiency, productivity, and monopoly profits. The very frontiers of technology are extended with each radical innovation in the ways in which commodities are produced. Technological innovation, imitation, and highly uneven diffusion makes movement up and down the gradient conceivable, but not necessarily all that likely. But as some other economies catch up eventually in harnessing the new technologies, the lead economy loses its lead.

Lead economies experience at least two waves of innovation in a process referred to as the ‘twin peaks’ phenomenon. The first wave (ascent) pushes a new economy to the top of the technological gradient. This highly destabilizing outcome encourages increased conflict and global warfare fought primarily among the states with economies situated near the top of the gradient. Thanks in part to the surpluses gained in the ascent wave and the consequent ability to organize a winning coalition, the lead economy's victory in the ensuing conflict is made more probable. Its resources are applied to funding capabilities of global reach (naval power later supplemented by air and space power) and coalitions of land and sea powers to defeat the most threatening adversaries.

The innovation lead in the first wave, intensive mobilization during the intensive conflict, and global war victory all combined to facilitate the lead economy's development of a second wave of clustered innovations. Most allies and rivals that participated in the global warfare emerge exhausted. The exception is the lead economy that actually profits from the conflict and extend its predominance as the premiere commercial-industrial and power with global reach. After the global war has ended, the coalition leadership in the global war has increasingly segued into something resembling systemic leadership. Yet, it is also in this immediate postwar era that other advanced economies narrow the gap with the economic leader's position. If the leader's first wave is one of ascent, the second wave of the pair is thus a catch up wave. As the system leader's capability foundation experiences relative decline after a few decades, so too does its opportunity to lead systemically.

Two other distinctive assumptions of this Kondratieff wave interpretation are that: 1) the perspective is evolutionary and 2) the K-wave pattern began to emerge faintly as early as 10th century Sung China. No one argues that Kondratieff waves have been with us throughout recorded history. At some point, though, the long economic fluctuations with 40–60 year periodicity emerged. Only gradually were such processes likely to assume a shape that became easier to identify. In this case, the argument is that the first appearance of a paired K-wave pattern in economic innovations is found in the 10th century in Sung China which is sometimes credited with developing the first economy with modern, industrialized features. Most importantly, the expansion of maritime trade in the South China Sea and the Indian Ocean, as well as the revived use of the Silk Roads on land, facilitated the transmission of long term, paired growth impulses to the other end of Eurasia via Venetian and Genoese intermediaries. Many of the economic innovations that later characterized western commercial and industrialized successes can be traced back to Chinese practices (Modelski and Thompson 1996; Hobson 2004). It is possible, therefore, to analyze 9 twin peaked processes or 18 K-waves encompassing some one thousand years between 930 and 1973 (Modelski and Thompson 1996). Obviously, the claim that there have been as many as 19 k-waves, counting the one that still seems to be in progress, is a major departure from K-wave convention. But there is no insistence that each set was as fully manifested as more recent ones. The K-wave process emerged only gradually and became most evident only in the past few centuries."


More information

See chapter 6 (and other chapters) of Goldstein's book: http://www.joshuagoldstein.com/jgcyc06.pdf

Research into War Cycles

Goldstein discusses, in his book on Long Cycles, the historical research of:

  • L. L. Farrar, Jr.

Joshua Goldstein:

"The third strand of research coming out of Quincy Wright's work leads into the current debate on cycles of war and hegemony. The influences of Ludwig Dehio, Arnold Toynbee, and A. F. K. Organski come to bear, as shown on the right-hand side of figure 5.1. This strand focuses not on fifty-year cycles (long waves) but on longer cycles defined by the very biggest wars, which I will call "hegemonic wars. "34This conception of war cycles flows out of Wright's observation that every other fifty-year war concentration was "more severe." Toynbee formulated this into a one-hundred year war cycle scheme, and his contemporary Dehio formulated a similar scheme based on the recurrent efforts of Continental powers to gain hegemony in Europe.

This concept of a cycle of hegemonic challenges eventually drew Organski' s "power transition" theory into the debate, since that theory deals with the outbreak of war when a rising challenger surpasses the dominant power in capabilities. Different conceptions of what constitutes hegemony, hegemonic war, or a hegemonic challenge lead to different interpretations and datings of these phenomena. By hegemony I mean the position of the leading country in the world, which is able, by virtue of superior economic and military capabilities, to largely shape the rules by which international relations (both economic and security relations) are conducted."