Globalization or the Age of Transition? ALong-Term View of the Trajectory of the World System

International Sociology, June 2000, Vol 15(2): 251–267 SAGE (London, Thousand Oaks, CA and New Delhi)[0268-5809(200006)15:2;251–267;012884]

Globalization is a misleading concept, since what is described as globalization has been happening for 500years. Rather what is new is that we are entering an ‘age of transition’. We can usefully analyze the current world situation using two time frames: 1945 to the present and circa1450 to the present.The period since 1945 has been one long Kondratieff cycle, with an A-phase that ran through 1967–76 and a B-phase ever since. The economic and political developments of the last50 years are easy to place within this framework. The period from 1450 to the present is the long history of the capitalist world economy, with its secular trends all reaching critical points.

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