One ‘World-System’ or ‘Organised Anarchy’: The Crises of Desynchronisation

  • Boris Frankel
Part of the Contemporary Social Theory book series


Having discussed the major characteristics of Electoral, Production, Credit and Food Production Processes as they interact with one another at local, national and supra-national levels, it remains for me to clarify several major aspects of what I call the desynchronisation of Processes. I have criticised existing monocausal explanations of crises in capitalist societies, the simplification of social reality in ‘world-system’ and ‘world capitalist mode of production’ analyses, and of course, the whole tradition of artificially separating ‘the State’, ‘Civil Society’ and ‘the Economy’. It is now necessary to explain why the theory of crises arising from the desynchronisation of Processes is more comprehensive than earlier theories. It could be argued that orthodox Marxist analyses of crises emerging from the ‘laws of motion’ of capitalism have a clear structural hierarchy of causation which the theory of desynchronisation of Processes lacks. Certainly it is true that my analysis of Processes lacks a clear economic ‘base’ which the orthodox Marxian notion of the ‘laws of motion’ of capitalism claims to provide. But if we recognise the contradictory roles of state institutions in the reproduction and negation of exchange-value relations, then we cannot retain intact Marx’s theory of crises in volumes 2 and 3 of Capital. If, as I believe, there is no separate realm of ‘the Economy’ apart from ‘the State’, then the hierarchical structure of crises causation must be drastically reworked within the context of local, national and supra-national interactions.


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Notes and References

  1. 1.
    See, for example, A. Hussain, ‘Symptomatology of Revolution’, Economy and Society, vol. 9, no. 3, 1980, pp. 348–58 and Report on ‘The Totally Administered Society Conference’, Telos, no. 35, Spring 1978, pp. 181–3, for Piccone’s attack on Commoner.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. 2.
    J. Donzelot, The Policing of Families, trans. R. Hurley (New York: Pantheon Books, 1979).Google Scholar
  3. 5.
    See J. Falk, Global Fission The Battle Over Nuclear Power (Melbourne: Oxford University Press, 1982) for a good discussion of national differences in the opposition or support for nuclear power.Google Scholar
  4. 6.
    See, for example, D. Plotke, ‘The United States in Transition: Toward a New Order?’, Socialist Review, no. 54, vol. 10, 1980, pp. 71–123.Google Scholar
  5. 7.
    See A. Bergesen, ‘The Emerging Science of the World-System’, International Social Science Journal, vol. XXXIV, no. 1, 1982, pp. 23–36.Google Scholar
  6. 8.
    See H. Marcuse, One Dimensional Man (London: Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1964).Google Scholar
  7. 9.
    See J. Habermas, ‘A Reply to My Critics’, in J. B. Thompson and D. Held (eds), Habermas: Critical Debates (London: Macmillan, 1982) p. 279.Google Scholar
  8. 13.
    See A. Touraine, The Voice and the Eye, trans. A. Duff (Cambridge University Press, 1981).Google Scholar
  9. 14.
    C. Offe, ‘The Attribution of Public Status to Interest Groups: Observations on the West German Case’, in S. Berger (ed.), Organising Interests in Western Europe (Cambridge University Press, 1981) pp. 123–58.Google Scholar
  10. 15.
    See ibid and C. Offe, ‘Competitive Party Democracy and the Keynesian Welfare State’, unpublished paper delivered at Griffith University, Australia, July 1981.Google Scholar
  11. 17.
    See Touraine, The Voice and the Eye and The Self Production of Society (University of Chicago Press, 1977) for endless ideal types and ahistorical speculations.Google Scholar
  12. 19.
    See A. Gorz, Farewell to the Working Class, trans. M. Sonenscher (London: Pluto Press, 1982) p. 112.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Boris Frankel 1983

Authors and Affiliations

  • Boris Frankel

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