Origins of Globalization in the Framework of the Afroeurasian World-System History

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Origins of Globalization in the Framework of the Afroeurasian World-System History

Published Article
Comparing Globalizations
Springer International Publishing
Publication Date
Nov 08, 2017
DOI: 10.1007/978-3-319-68219-8_3


Within the framework of this article we attempt to solve the following tasks: 1. to demonstrate that as early as a few thousand years ago (at least since the formation of the system of long-distance and large-scale trade in metals in the fourth millennium BCE) the scale of systemic trade relations grew significantly beyond the local level and became regional (and even transcontinental in a certain sense); 2. to show that already in the late first millennium BCE the scale of processes and links within the Afroeurasian world-system not only exceeded the regional level, as well as reached the continental level, but it also went beyond continental limits. That is why we contend that within this system, the marginal systemic contacts between the agents of various levels (from societies to individuals) may be defined as transcontinental (note that we deal here not only with overland contacts, because after the late first millennium BCE in some cases we can speak about the oceanic contacts—the most salient case is represented here by the Indian Ocean communication network [for more details see Chew in this work]); 3. to demonstrate that even prior to the Great Geographic Discoveries the scale of the global integration in certain respects could be compared with the global integration in more recent periods. In particular, in terms of demography, even 2000 years ago a really integrated part of the humankind encompassed 90% of the total world population.1 Our analysis suggests that the above-mentioned marginal level of integration within the Afroeurasian world-system can be hardly considered as something insignificant or virtual; it substantially influenced the general direction of development and accelerated the development of many social systems. The article also deals with several other issues that are important both for the world-system approach and for the study of the history of globalization—such as the typology of the world-system links, peculiar features of the Afroeurasian world-system, the possible dating of the start of its formation, factors of its transformation into the planetary World System, and so on.2

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