Conceptualizing the world-system
The previous chapter referred to the concept of a world-system. As we have seen, this concept forms the core of a body of theory known as world-systems theory (WST). The virtue of this body of theory is that it attempts to analyse how richer and poorer countries interrelate in the world economy. We acknowledge that there are some problems in applying this theory, but its advantage lies in the way it takes a global and historical perspective. Unlike some other attempts to explain global development trends, it also allows for the fact that different parts of the world will experience different development trajectories. Therefore it provides a suitable paradigm for this book. For a definition of world-systems theory, see Box 1.1.