187 research outputs found

    From Big Bang to Galactic Civilizations

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    Each scientific study emerges in its own particular time and marks a new step in the development of human thought.1 Big History materialized to satisfy the human need for a unified vision of our existence. It came together in the waning decades of the twentieth century, in part, as a reaction to the specialization of scholarship and education that had taken hold around the world. While this specialization had great results, it created barriers that stood in contrast to a growing unity among our global communities. These barriers were increasingly awkward to bridge, and, thus, Big History emerged as a successful new framework

    Will the Explosive Growth of China Continue?

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    The role of China in the world economy is constantly growing. In particular we observe that it plays more and more important role in the support of theworld economic growth (as well as high prices of certain very important commodities). In the meantime the perspectives of the Chinese economy (as well as possible fates of the Chinese society) remain unclear, whereas respective forecasts look rather contradictory. That is why the search for new aspects and modes of analysis of possible development of China turns out to be rather important for the forecasting of global futures. This article employs a combination of scientific methods that imply (a) the analysis at the level of Chinese economic model; (b) the analysis at regional level (at this level the Chinese economic model is compared with the regional East Asian model); (c) the analysis at the global level that relies on the modified world-system approach that allows to answer the question whether China will replace the USA as the global leader. It is important that the analysis is conducted simultaneously in economic, social, demographic, and political dimensions. As regards the analysis of specific features of the Chinese model as an especial type of the East Asian model (that is based on the export orientation, capital & technology importation, as well as cheap labor force), we note as organic features of the Chinese model the totalitarian power of the Communist Party and the immenseness of resources. As regards special features of the Chinese model, we note (in addition to “cheap ecology” and cheap labor force) and emphasize that China has a multilevel (in a way unique) system of growth driving forces, where, as opposed to developed states, the dominant role belongs not to native private capital, but to state corporations, local authorities and foreign business. This explains the peculiarities of the Chinese investment (or rather overinvestment), which determines high growth rate up to a very significant degree. A unique feature of the Chinese model is the competition of provinces and territories for investments and high growth indicators. As regards perspectives of the global hegemony of China, we intend to demonstrate that, on the one hand, economic and political positions of China will strengthen in the forthcoming decades, but, on the other hand, China, assuming all possible future success, will be unable to take the USA position in the World System. We believe that in a direct connection with the development of globalization processes the hegemony cycle pattern is likely to come to its end, which will lead to the World System reconfiguration and the emergence of its new structure that will allow the World System to continue its further development without a hegemon. Finally, the article describes some possible scenarios of the development of China. We demonstrate that China could hardly avoid serious difficulties and critical situations (including those connected with demographic problems); however, there could be different scenarios of how China will deal with the forthcoming crisis. We also come to the conclusion that it would be better for China to achieve a slowdown to moderate growth rates (that would allow China to go through the forthcoming complex transition period with less losses) than to try to return at any cost to explosive growth rates attested in the 2000s

    Introduction Once More about Aspects, Directions, General Patterns and Principles of Evolutionary Development

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    The present volume is the fourth issue of the Almanac series entitled 'Evolution'.Thus, one can maintain that our Almanac, which has actually turned into a Yearbook, has succeeded (see below). The title of the present volume is 'From Big Bang to Nanorobots'. In this way we demonstrate that all phases of mega evolution and Big History are covered in the articles of the present Yearbook. Several articles also present forecasts about possible future developments.The main objective of our Yearbook as well as of the previous issues (see Grinin, Korotayev, Carneiro, and Spier 2011a, Grinin, Korotayev, and Rodrigue2011a, Grinin and Korotayev 2013a) is the creation of a unified interdisciplinary field of research in which scientists specializing in different disciplines could work within a framework of unified or similar paradigms, using common terminology and searching for common rules, tendencies and regularities. At the same time for the formation of such an integrated field one should use all available opportunities: theories, laws and methods. In the present volume, a number of such approaches including those which will be described below are used

    A Mathematical Model of Influence of the Interaction between Civilization Center and Barbarian Periphery on the World System Development

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    This article offers an analysis and mathematical modeling of the influence of one of the major factors of the World System macrodynamics throughout most part of its history (since the ‘urban revolution’) – the factor of interaction of civilizations with their barbarian periphery. The proposed mathematical model is intended to describe possible influence of interaction between civilizational core of the World System and its barbarian periphery on the formation of the specific curve of the world urbanization dynamics. It simulates completion of the phase transition, behavior of the system in the attraction basin and beginning of the phase transition to the attraction basin of the new attractor and is aimed to identify the role of the factor of interaction between the civilizational core and barbarian periphery in the formation of attractor effect during the completion of phase transition, that is for clarification of the reason why there was observed not only slowdown of growth rates of the main indicators of the World System development after completion of phase transitions during its development, but also their falling with the subsequent temporary stabilization near some equilibrium level. Achievements of modern barbarology, including the understanding of complexity of the barbarian periphery itself and its heterogeneity are considered. The basic principle of the proposed dynamic model is that sizes, power and level of complexity in realization of external policy functions in nomadic unions (empires) closely correspond to sizes, power and level of political culture and activity of the core states with which nomads constantly had to do (this point has been established in works of the known experts in nomadic studies). Various alternatives are shown in the model, when depending on power and size of one of the two components of the system ‘civilization – barbarian periphery’ studied by us, another one also changes significantly as it has to respond to the challenge properly, or can make less efforts feeling no threat or resistance. This principle is observed throughout the long period of the history of the World System. It is shown that interaction between the civilizational center and barbarian periphery really can explain some characteristic features of the World System dynamics in the 4th millennium BCE – the 2nd millennium CE. The ways of further development of the model are outlined

    Origins of Globalization in the Framework of the Afroeurasian World-System History

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    Within the framework of this article we attempt to solve the following tasks: 1. to demonstrate that as early as a few thousand years ago (at least since the formation of the system of long-distance and large-scale trade in metals in the fourth millennium BCE) the scale of systemic trade relations grew significantly beyond the local level and became regional (and even transcontinental in a certain sense); 2. to show that already in the late first millennium BCE the scale of processes and links within the Afroeurasian world-system not only exceeded the regional level, as well as reached the continental level, but it also went beyond continental limits. That is why we contend that within this system, the marginal systemic contacts between the agents of various levels (from societies to individuals) may be defined as transcontinental (note that we deal here not only with overland contacts, because after the late first millennium BCE in some cases we can speak about the oceanic contacts—the most salient case is represented here by the Indian Ocean communication network [for more details see Chew in this work]); 3. to demonstrate that even prior to the Great Geographic Discoveries the scale of the global integration in certain respects could be compared with the global integration in more recent periods. In particular, in terms of demography, even 2000 years ago a really integrated part of the humankind encompassed 90% of the total world population

    Chiefdoms: From Archaic Polities to Modern Terrorist Organizations

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    The chiefdom concept is one of the most productive in social anthropology and political evolution. It helps to deeply understand the process of complication of society's structure and the development path from stateless society to early states. However, even when states spread everywhere, chiefdoms still remained political and administrative actors. At present one can find some features of chiefdoms in developing countries (e.g., in some regions of Africa) and in different kinds of organizations especially in illegal and terrorist ones. Thus, using chiefdom theories one can clarify a few basics of such kind of organization as well. Therefore, it makes sense to show how such chiefdom-like structures preserve and develop the features of ancient polities within them. Thus, in the modern world, along with states, one can find numerous alternative social and political organizations, which, to a greater or lesser extent, have some features that are similar to certain ancient polities. How and why is this possible? We hope that this paper will shed some light on this question. However, it requires and deserves further study

    Modeling and Measuring Cycles, Processes, and Trends

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    The present Yearbook (which is the fourth in the series) is subtitled Trends & Cycles. Already ancient historians (see, e.g., the second Chapter of Book VI of Polybius' Histories) described rather well the cyclical component of historical dynamics, whereas new interesting analyses of such dynamics also appeared in the Medieval and Early Modern periods (see, e.g., Ibn Khaldūn 1958 [1377], or Machiavelli 1996 [1531]1). This is not surprising as the cyclical dynamics was dominant in the agrarian social systems. With modernization, the trend dynamics became much more pronounced and these are trends to which the students of modern societies pay more attention. Note that the term trend – as regards its contents and application – is tightly connected with a formal mathematical analysis. Trends may be described by various equations – linear, exponential, power-law, etc. On the other hand, the cliodynamic research has demonstrated that the cyclical historical dynamics can be also modeled mathematically in a rather effective way (see, e.g., Usher 1989; Chu and Lee 1994; Turchin 2003, 2005a, 2005b; Turchin and Korotayev 2006; Turchin and Nefedov 2009; Nefedov 2004; Korotayev and Komarova 2004; Korotayev, Malkov, and Khaltourina 2006; Korotayev and Khaltourina 2006; Korotayev 2007; Grinin 2007), whereas the trend and cycle components of historical dynamics turn out to be of equal importance
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