So what does this bright new world look like? We suggest that the new global geography will have two critical characteristics.
First, the nonlinear complexity of the new global structure will help determine economic, political, and social outcomes. Post-1980 globalisation is not simply a form of the 19th-century world economy at faster speed and greater volume; it represents a substantive shift in the manner in which individuals, organizations, and societies are
Second, it is clear that globalisation does not involve a flattening of a global hierarchy. Some countries are richer, have better communications, and play a more central role. Moreover, there are clear benefits to be derived from this centrality. As globalisation intensifies, these benefits might even increase, producing practically
insurmountable (if invisible) walls around the new empires. More specifically, practically all the studies point to the dominant position of the United States in practically every international network. In many ways, globalisation may be better understood as the Americanisation of the world.
The combination of global scale and complexity of relationships may imply that models of international governance and domination borrowed from earlier eras may no longer be relevant. If this is true, then students of globalisation will have to begin laying down the most essential foundation blocks of a new social scientific project.
This is an edited extract from the introduction to American Behavioural Scientist 44(10). Click here to order a copy of the journal.
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