This critical analysis of long-term trends and recent developments in world systems examines such questions as: Will the cycles of boom and bust, peace and war of the past 500 years continue? Or have either long-term trends or recent changes so profoundly altered the structure of world systems that these cycles will end or take on a less destructive form? The noted international contributors to this volume examine the question of future dominance of the core global systems and include comprehensive discussions of the economic, political and military role of the Pacific Rim, Japan and the former Soviet Union.

Global Cooperation or Rival Trade Blocs?

Global cooperation or rival trade blocs?

This chapter discusses whether the world is heading towards the continuation of the liberal multilateral world trade system or will fall apart into rival trade blocs.

It starts with a short comparison of different scenarios for the development of the world economy. It then tries to illustrate the importance of developments inside the major trade blocs for the relationship between these blocs, taking as examples (a) the impact of German unification, (b) the impact of a possible break-up of China, and (c) the impact of domestic polarization in the USA.

It furthermore discusses how different research avenues give rise to different expectations with regard to cooperation versus rivalry. From a long-waves perspective, increasing rivalry can be expected. ...

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