The large majority of political scientists working in the field of institutional change have a preference for short-term and contextual analysis rather than long-term and process/structure analysis. By contrast, this chapter relies on long-term analyses of global processes, structures and mechanisms in order to understand the formation of and past changes in the world’s political institutions, and to work out how to model future change. In the four sections of this chapter, the nature and origins of these institutions, and the causes and direction of their non-casual change, are explored. On the assumption that the formation of and changes in these institutions are long processes, moved forward by human communities’ aptitude for learning, three propositions are discussed hereafter, i.e.:

1 The global system, which encompasses all regional international systems, came into existence a thousand years ago. Political globalization also started about a thousand years ago, and has been developing for at least ten centuries.