Immanuel Wallerstein. Utopistics: Or, Historical Choices of the Twenty-first Century. New York: The New Press, ix + 93 pp. $ This short book is the. A review of Immanuel Wallerstein, UTOPISTICS. New York: The New For some reason, I was sent a copy of UTOPISTICS (Yes, that’s the title. More on that. Andy Blunden September Wallerstein: Utopistics and Simplistics. Immanuel Wallerstein: “The Decline of American Power. The U.S. in a Chaotic World”.

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An expansion on talks Wallerstein gave in at the University of Auckland, the book is short enough to be studied by any reader in a day. It is divided into three essential chapters to give an overview of modern political history, address factors that are weakening the current world order, and talk about possible alternative world orders.

To avoid being starry-eyed and formulating unrealistic targets, we must keep our focus on developing appropriate uses for the grimy but certainly undeniable social and technological trends in the world.

In spite of this realism, it is still incumbent on us to believe a better world is possible and to speculate on what it might look like p.

Utopistics by Immanuel Wallerstein () – Book Review – h+ Mediah+ Media

Revolutions provided pressures for this world order to gradually evolve, although ratios of global inequality and exploitation have not decisively changed since the Sixteenth Century. Modern politics, with its distinction of left and right, is a feud emerging from the French Revolution even though the tacit admission of utopistlcs modern politics is that the French Revolution values won and are the utoplstics of modern state legitimacy p.

National revolutions have presented no challenge to the exploitative features of the world order because they fail to change the global institution and eliminate nation-state regimes. Citizenship, Wallerstein teaches, is the practice of exclusion and the conferring of privileges.


The reason the world order is in crisis is because of the loss of legitimacy p. In the second chapter p. We should not necessarily be shocked by the social problems and horrors of current times, because in utopitsics long term they are part of a historical transition. Our individual and group efforts will be able immaanuel create shockwaves, because the ability of the system to automatically restore equilibrium will disappear with the loss of legitimacy.

The state system has been required to protect monopolies with patents and other, more subtle means p. For the affairs of immxnuel people in the social system, the transition carries significant dangers. Delegitimization of states leads to a fear of security threats such as violent crime and ethnic conflict p.

This vicious wallerrstein breakdown noted by Wallerstein seems to resemble what is commonly reported in South Africa, above all other places. To explain the social symptoms, Wallerstein notes the incapacity of states to provide effective and credible policing and protection for members of society who traditionally felt the state gave them security p. They feel the state owes them nothing, and can be expected to reject taxation ever more fiercely. In sum, if a state is lawless and incompetent, it has no reason or right to survive and is nothing more than an illegitimate regime.

Wallerstein illustrates another trend delegitimizing the state system. Some immqnuel argue a more positive case that ufopistics similar explosion is happening with information through the web and its activists.

Immanuel Wallerstein

This gives politics in this period the opportunity to help shape the structural features of the social system that will dominate the next five hundred years p. In the third chapter p. First, walletstein kind of world do we want to live in? Second, by what paths could we likely achieve our target p.

To determine which kind of world we want to live in, Wallerstein identifies three defining dilemmas that are the basis for the arguments wal,erstein whether or not the current world wallesrtein good. The first dilemma is material abundance versus material inequality, the second immanyel liberal political structures versus the exclusion of most humans from decision-making, and the third is longevity versus degraded quality of life p.


In sum, the dilemma is a maximally democratic and egalitarian new system versus a system conserving the privileges that already exist p. The defining feature that enables the conservation of privileges is the social priority of making profit p. This priority must be deactivated to construct a superior social system. Enter the global social challenge that must be completed prior to To achieve this, Wallerstein recommends rejecting remuneration p.

Immanuel Wallerstein, Utopistics: Or, Historical Choices of the Twenty-first Century – PhilPapers

A better solution, he suggests, is to use a system whereby an employer picks employees randomly from a large middle tier of achievers and discards the minorities of top achievers and bottom achievers. One can see from these forecasts that Wallerstein sees a role for a bureaucratic government in administrating the egalitarian post nation-state world, but believes it must have carefully designed democratic safeguards to maximize efficacy and decrease corruption.

With regard to limited natural resources, Wallerstein expresses the idea that human creativity is a resource that has no limits p. Namely, that an alternative system needs to be more than simply constructed: Those who have much to lose will tread carefully.

Further, they cannot be reasoned with when we are trying to build a better order. Utopistics by Immanuel Wallerstein — Book Review.

Utopistics by Immanuel Wallerstein (1998) – Book Review

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