What this is about – systems and structures

“Thank you for sending me a copy of your book – I shall waste no time reading it.”

Moses Hades (1900-1966)

I am not a professional social scientist, I am a physicist interested in systems and structures. A very long time ago I stumbled upon a book that looked interesting, a colection of essays called The Political Economy of Development and Underdevelopment edited by Charles K. Wilber and Kenneth P. Jameson in 1992. It was indeed interesting, but for some time my interest stopped there. A few years later, when I was a researcher in the Ion Beam Centre of the Surrey University in England, the opportunity came to enrol as a student in the MA in European Studies course offered by the next door department. I took the course with pleasure while I kept my day job.

I was lucky to have one professor, Noel Parker, who was also interested in systems and structures, and the bibliography of one of his courses included treasures such as Giovanni Arrighi’s The Long Twentieth Century and Jean-Marie Guéhenno’s The End of the Nation-State, which together form the founding stone of what became my dissertation, finished in 1999.

This web site is the result of what I learned then, and while the blog contains scattered thoughts, the main pages are the dissertation as a whole. Not the version presented, which was limited to 30000 words, but the original long version which has around 50000 words:

The Beginning of ‘the Long Twenty-First Century’ in Europe

by Nuno Barradas, submitted to the University of Surrey, Department of Linguistic and International Studies, in part-fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of MA in European Studies, September 1999, © Nuno Barradas

I doubt that very many people will read this, but I hope that those interested in large scale systems and structures will find that is was no waste of time reading it.


Pictures by Ana Mandillo

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This web site was previously located at empirewithoutemperor.sitedeautor.com. There it had a grand tradition of being very little read, and I suspect that most readers were university political science and sociology students who used its content to produce world-class essays. James Dale Davidson did cite it in his book “The Breaking Point: Profit from the Coming Money Cataclysm”, which I find odd. My “Empire without Emperor” thesis is purely academic, taking an analytic outsider’s view, never judging the world forces described, pointing a path for action to change the world, or considering whether such path is desirable or even possible. In one sense that can be seen as profoundly pessimistic, but in best Portuguese fashion, I set out to analyse the world’s workings, not to solve its problems.

Another grand tradition that will be kept here is to have very few or none blog posts (this one an exception). The thesis stands for itself, 18 years after being written, its argument still stands. Arrighi’s competing argument, of an hegemonic transition towards Asia and in particular China, still seems weaker than my idea of a developing new hegemonless hegemony.

Ana Mandillo

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Empire without Emperor e-book

E book

Title: The Beginning of ‘the Long Twenty-First Century’ in Europe
Nuno Pessoa Barradas
Nuno Pessoa Barradas, 1999
Creative Commons Licence:
Creative Commons Licence
E-book Production:
Monóculo, 2012
Download e-book: Kindle | Epub




The Beginning of ‘the Long Twenty-First Century’ in Europe – now available as an ebook! Kindle or epub, you can choose your preferred format. This comes in a Creative Commons license, so you are free to share: copy, distribute and transmit the work, as long as you respect the license terms.

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