chapter  11
28 Pages

Convergence and Persisting Differences

Convergence implies a lot more than mere similarity: it refers to a movement

from different positions towards homogeneity (Inkeles 1981). It is not

evident why there should be convergence at the global level despite historical,

cultural, and political differences. But we do not base our expectations o f

convergence outside the cultural and political realms. The culture o f a societal

model, as manifested in its institutions, limits social variation on the condition

that the legitimacy o f an order is a competitive advantage in the encompassing multi-state world system. Legitimacy, in turn, depends upon the compatibility

o f the distribution o f power with the values o f striving after efficiency (self-

fulfillment, freedom and economic efficiency) and the claim to equality.