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Theories of the capitalist world-system

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Chapter Summary

What defines the capitalist world-system is the dichotomy between the existence of a world market, integrated in all aspects except for labor, and the absence of a single political order at a global level that is more than a multiplicity of state bodies governed by public international law and/or the violence of the balance of forces. Marx's analysis of the accumulation of capital and the proletarianisation of labour-power makes capitalism the first globalised mode of production, contrasting, on account of its globalisation, with all precapitalist modes of production: the tendency to create a world market is included in the concept of capital itself. The core of Samir Amin's scholarly contribution consists in his demonstration that capitalism as a really existing world-system is different from the capitalist mode of production on a world scale.

Keywords: capitalist world-system; Marx; Samir Amin



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