World order transformation and sociopolitical destabilization

Basic Research Program: Working Papers (2017)
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The present working paper analyzes the world order in the past, present and future as well as the main factors, foundations and ideas underlying the maintaining and change of the international and global order. The first two sections investigate the evolution of the world order starting from the ancient times up to the late twentieth century. The third section analyzes the origin and decline of the world order based on the American hegemony. The authors reveal contradictions of the current unipolar world and explain in what way globalization has become more profitable for the developing countries but not for the developed ones. The paper also explains the strengthening belief that the US leading status will inevitably weaken. In this connection we discuss the alternatives of the American strategy and the possibility of the renaissance of the American leadership. The last section presents a factor analysis which allows stating that the world is shifting toward a new balance of power and is likely to become the world without a leader. The new world order will consist of a number of large blocks, coalitions and countries acting within a framework of rules and mutual responsibility. However, the transition to a new world order will take certain time (about two decades). This period, which we denote as the epoch of new coalitions, will involve a reconfiguration of the World-System and bring an increasing turbulence and conflict intensity. There are grounds to conclude that in 2011–2012 the World-System experienced to some extent a phase transition to a qualitatively new state of global protest activity. This phase transition is shown to bear some resemblance to the one which the World-System experienced in the early 1960s. The first (after 1919) phase transition of this sort occurred in the early 1960s and was related to the growth of global informational connectivity after the World War II, as well as the improvement of the means of protest self-organization due to the spread of television, portable radio receivers, portable electric loud-speakers and other technologies of the Fourth Kondratieff Cycle. The phase transition of the early 2010s was prepared by a new wave of growth of global informational connectivity, as well as the improvement of the means of protest self-organization due to the spread of various technologies of the Fifth Kondratieff cycle (the Internet, satellite television, Twitter and other social networks, mobile telephony etc.). Similarly to what was observed during the Fourth Kondratieff Wave, during the Fifth Cycle while the spread of these technologies was going on for many years before 2011, their internal colossal potential for generating and spreading protest activity was realized in one leap, as a phase transition.

Author's Profile

Leonid Grinin
National Research University Higher School of Economics


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