The World System: A Life Cycle Discourse

by Johan Galtung


How do we conceive of the world system? For a long time, say 1950-2000, there were two clear answers based on real world divisions coinciding with the compass: the West-East, and the North-South discourses; the former based on ideology and military alliances and the latter on economic development. NATO versus WTO, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization versus the Warszawa Treaty Organization, and then the NN countries, the Neutral-Nonaligned. And, the More Developed Countries versus the Less Developed Countries, MDCs versus the LDCs, roughly measured by GNP/capita, also referred to as the First and the Third Worlds, the OECD Group and the Group of 77, with the socialist countries as the Second World.(continue…)

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