IV.1 Introduction

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In this chapter, we will use the concepts developed in chapter III to study some of the processes relevant to the contemporary development of Europe within the world system. The main concepts utilised are that of the Empire without Emperor (EwE) systemic cycle of accumulation of capital (SCA), that is, the stateless hegemony we proposed above, together with the related internalisation of the core-periphery structure, that leads to a superposition of a new, non-geographic, core-periphery structure to the old geographic one.

 

IV Some consequences for Europe

IV.1 Introduction

In the earlier epochs of history, we find almost everywhere a complicated arrangement of society into various orders, a manifold gradation of social rank. In ancient Rome we have patricians, knights, plebeians, slaves; in the Middle Ages, feudal lords, vassals, guild-masters, journeymen, serfs; in almost all of these classes, again, subordinate gradations. The modern bourgeois society that has sprouted from the ruins of feudal society has not done away with class antagonisms. It has but established new classes, new conditions of oppression, new forms of struggle in place of the old ones. (Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels 1848: 3)

In this chapter, we will use the concepts developed in chapter III to study some of the processes relevant to the contemporary development of Europe within the world system. The main concepts utilised are that of the Empire without Emperor (EwE) systemic cycle of accumulation of capital (SCA), that is, the stateless hegemony we proposed above, together with the related internalisation of the core-periphery structure, that leads to a superposition of a new, non-geographic, core-periphery structure to the old geographic one.

The overarching argument of this chapter is that the structures of the EwE influence all economic, political and social processes occurring in Europe. However, one should note that those structures are not independent and self-sustained; they are instead shaped by the principal actors involved in the European arena, not all of which are European. Thus the new classes, new conditions of oppression and new forms of struggle are conditioned by the post-modern bourgeois society that is sprouting from the still-existing society coming from Enlightenment.

We will start by analysing the role of the European Union (EU) in some of the most relevant contemporary processes, namely the transfer of competencies from member states to the EU level, European Monetary Union (EMU), enlargement of the EU to the Eastern ex-communist countries, and the posited ‘rise of the regions’.

We will then analyse the resurgence of nationalisms since the end of the Cold War. After situating the problem in the framework of ethnic and national identity, we will see how it is affected by the EwE hegemony, and we will study the problems the new nationalisms pose to the nation-state and to the process of European integration.

The internalisation of the core-periphery structure described in the previous chapter has important consequences for the organisation of antisystemic movements, which in turn has reflexes in the forms of democratic participation by the population. One section will be dedicated to each of these subjects.

Finally, we will study the new defence and security issues in the post-Cold War Europe.

 

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